In Focus: Aalst

The New World Stage Festival kicked off last month with the production of Doll House by Mabou Mines, which struck a chord in the psyche of the mind. Where Doll House was a visual splendour, Aalst's simplicity was not only nightmarishly real but as poignant and unforgettable.

The play deals with the true life horror story of a young couple who brutally and calmly murdered their two children, aged three months and seven, in a hotel room in Belgium in 1999. The play attempts to explain the actions of the parents by recreating the events at their trial, with the theatre company using more than 75% of actual transcripts from the trial.

This Faction play (a mix of fact and fiction) is the story of a huge event that shook much of the European continent. The play, which ran for a short three days here in Toronto, set out to examine the two killers in the hopes of understanding them, their motives why they committed this despicable act, thereby gaining a better understanding ourselves.

Conceived by Pol Heyvaert of Victoria Theatre company the play, in his words,

"...shows where the balance has gone wrong. I do not reject the system of the people's jury, but would like to demonstrate where the system fails. One of the fundamental problems in the case of Kurt and Rita is that they do not fit into the prevailing social system. And there is no alternative provided for them. We stick plasters on a wooden leg."

The most difficult thing to come to terms with is the truth of the statements made by the two characters. The characters were presented on the stage in two chairs with two microphones and an ominous neutral voice that could either be the prosecutor or defence lawyer. The 65 minutes flew by as their story was laid out to us through an historical analysis of the two counterparts. The result is ultimately breathtaking and, for the most part, chilling.

Someone should do this one again here so everyone can have a chance to see it... But who? Hmmmm.....

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