Mesut Arslan’s approach to Nachtelijk Symposium (Nocturnal Symposium), a 1994 play by Eric De Volder, is very special. De Volder describes the Meiresonnes, who are anything but a model family. After years of sweeping everything under the carpet, things start to emerge. Three sons and a mother play out a dramatic sparring match around the ‘family business’ and ‘him upstairs, our dad.’
Mesut places the actors and the text in artist Lawrence Malstaf’s installation of spinning tops. The audience is gathered around an open arena in which not only the tops, but also the characters, start revolving around each other. In this way the director sets the inner identity of a family and the surrounding audience in motion. ‘I do not opt for a classic characterisation of the characters and traditional theatre forms, but for the physical externalisation of what is happening inside the person, and playing with perceptions. The typical Flemish ‘reserve’ produces a circle of atypical emotionality, impotence, pain and betrayal,’ says Mesut Arslan.
For his first KVS creation, Arslan deliberately returns to his theatre hero Eric De Volder, as he did in his very first Dutch-language production, an adaptation of Eric De Volder’s play The Room and the Man. ‘Eric De Volder is definitely one of my heroes, even though I do not believe in heroes. For Eric, the stage was a canvas on which he painted scenes of intense grief.’ In his work, music, art and language have always formed a close alliance. In an equally idiosyncratic way, Mesut Arslan mixes language, visual art and music.
KVS Face Mesut Arslan is also founder of platform 0900 and he is collaborating on the production Kamyon.