In a robotised distribution center, ten Bulgarian performers, who have experience as labour migrants, sing a historic labour song for eight hours long. Their work breaks are derived from those at e-commerce company Amazon. By juxtaposing robotics and singing, the performance questions the value of the working body, the labour movement and the legacy of socialism in times of automatisation. Audience members can attend the performance for as long as they wish.
Brothers exalt thee to freedom
An exhibition exposes a.o. the living quarters of the performers and objets trouvés from various work floors. The video work ‘To perform’ and the documentary film ‘The recruitment’ (about the creation of the work) reveal the performers’ views on the performance and the politics of labour.
concept Dries Verhoeven
cast Irina Angelova, Rilka Charovna, Boryana Dzhivdzhanova, Petyo Gyudyulev, Blagovest Ilchevski, Kalin Kupenov, Miroslav Mihov, Valentina Panova, Valentin Stankov, Antonia Tochka
production Studio Dries Verhoeven
dramaturgy Hella Godee & Miguel Melgares
stage manager Niels Runderkamp
AGV robotics Tom Dalhuisen
programmer robotarms Casper Wortmann
programmer systems control Sylvain Vriens
sound design Peer Thielen, Rutger Verberkmoes
technical manager Roel Evenhuis
technique Marko Meijer, Niklas van Woerden
intern technical production Titus Duitshof
vocal coach Dimitar Arnaudov & Julia Scepanovic
casting & production Sofia, Bulgaria Christian Bakalov
set construction Maarten Smids, Niklas van Woerden, Merijn Versnel
video Wouter van Elderen
Broeders verheft u ter vrijheid is made possible with the support of Fonds Podiumkunsten, Gemeente Utrecht, Fonds 21, Cultuur Innovatiefonds Provincie Utrecht, VriendenLoterij Fonds and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
"As always, Verhoeven manages to attract the attention of his spectators with a seemingly simple and effective image. The beauty of all his work is that he brings big, complicated themes back to its essence. On the one hand, it is confrontational, but it also shows compassion for its subject."
"Welcome to the global economy." - "The beauty of the singing robot ballet lingers in my mind. [...] The scenes keep beckoning like sirens."
For Theaterkrant Fransien van der Putt visited the work during SPRING and the exhibition in West Den Haag.
"You can stay as long as you want, and with that Verhoeven immediately confronts you with a dilemma: when do you stop looking, when you are face to face with these people, who have to complete eight hours a day?"
"One by one, the performers share personal thoughts and anecdotes. Through their stories, I get to know the nuances of life on production floors."