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De Mensheid

Josse De Pauw & Kris Defoort / LOD muziektheater & KVS

A writer (Arnon Grunberg) thinks that the time has come to take up the defence of mankind, to exonerate his species, too long and too often humiliated, from all guilt. He takes on an actor (Josse De Pauw) to deliver his defence speech to the court. Possibly out of habit, the actor engages a singer (Claron McFadden) and a pianist (Kris Defoort) with the aim of making the hymn of praise sound more convincing. Together, they will try to raise man out of the mud bath in which he is plunged by half-baked intellectuals, confused philosophers and perverted novelists. The question is, will our four heroes succeed? This production gives you the answer.

A good fifteen years ago, Arnon Grunberg wrote Mankind Be Praised, a pamphlet in which he declared that although mankind may well be greedy, lecherous, violent and cowardly, it can in its defence be said that ‘this is all it knows’. All these years later, the writer still stands by the words he wrote at the time. At Josse De Pauw’s request, Mark Schaevers adapted the piece for the stage, while De Pauw thought up a concept and performs it onstage with Claron McFadden, Kris Defoort and Arnon Grunberg.

Enough! Enough! Stop cheering me. I don’t want any applause. I don’t want money either. I’m doing this free of charge. I’m doing it because mankind is a splendid race, an intelligent race – the pick of the bunch. We are thinkers, great thinkers. We are cleaners too, if need be. We invented money, the microwave, brotherliness, the cuckoo clock, the woollen jumper and equality. Even the Red Cross was invented by my client, and humour too.


Josse De Pauw
The actor, author and director Josse De Pauw’s career started in 1976 with Radeis International, a highly successful theatre group that performed throughout Europe and overseas, from Vancouver to Los Angeles, from Caracas to Hong Kong, until 1984. As from 1985 he operated as an independent theatre-maker and collaborated with actors, directors, musicians, composers, writers and artists including Tom Jansen, Dirk Roofthooft, Luk Perceval, Guy Cassiers, Jan Decorte, Jürgen Gosh, Jan Ritsema, Jan Lauwers, Manu Riche, Peter Vermeersch and FES, Claire Chevallier, George van Dam, Jan Kuijken, Eric Thielemans, Rudy Trouvé, Roland Van Campenhout, Collegium Vocale, I Solisti del Vento, Corrie van Binsbergen, David Van Reybrouck, Mark Schaevers, Jeroen Brouwers, Koenraad Tinel, Gorik Lindemans, Benoît van Innis, David Claerbout, Michaël Borremans and Herman Sorgeloos.


He performed his first major film part in 1989, and since then has performed in more than fifty Belgian and foreign films. He has himself directed two: Vinaya and Übung. He has worked with directors including Dominique Deruddere, Marc Didden, Guido Hendrickx, Eric Pauwels, Jos Stelling, Franz Weisz, Orlow Seunke and Marc-Henri Wajnberg.


In addition to plays, he also writes stories, observations, notes and travel stories. His writings have been collected in two books: Werk and Nog (published by Hautekiet). He has adapted Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano for the stage for the director Guy Cassiers, and J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace for Luk Perceval. But he is known above all as the author, actor and maker of such successful plays as Weg, Larf, Übung, die Siel van die Mier, Ruhe, Strange News, Liefde/zijn handen, Een Nieuw Requiem, De Versie Claus, Over de bergen, De Gehangenen, Boot & Berg and An Old Monk. 2014 will see the premiere of his new production in collaboration with Jan Kuijken, called HUIS. From 2017 Josse De Pauw will be working on his trilogy, which will involve collaboration with the LODcomposers Dominique Pauwels, Jan Kuijken and Kris Defoort.


31.05.2017 - BRUZZ - Armworstelen voor de mensheid
03.06.2017 - De Standaard - Op de sokkel voor de sukkel
04.06.2017 - Cutting Edge - KVS & LOD, ‘De mensheid’
06.06.2017 - blog Wim Backx - Brief aan Josse De Pauw en Arnon Grunberg.
06.06.2017 - Parterre - De Mensheid
08.06.2017 - BRUZZ - 'De Mensheid' is gespleten
08.06.2017 - La Libre - Josse De Pauw défend l’Humanité
10.08.2017 - Theaterkrant - De mensheid blijft gekwetst achter
11.08.2017 - Brabants Dagblad Tilburg - Hilarisch loflied op vileine mensheid
16.08.2017 - De Groene Amsterdammer - De show heet: leven
03.10.2017 - festival les francophonies en Limoges - extraits de presse « les héros » « l’humanité »


CONCEPT & DIRECTION Josse De Pauw Music Henry Purcell, Claron McFadden, Kris Defoort TEXT Arnon Grunberg TEXT ADAPTATION Mark Schaevers play Josse De Pauw & Arnon Grunberg SINGING (improvisation) Claron McFadden piano (improvisation) Kris Defoort LIGHTing & set design Eric Soyer COSTUMES Greta Goiris ASSISTance costumes Claudine Grinwis Plaat Stultjes technique Brecht Beuselinck, Jannes Dierynck Press & COMMUNICATIon Magalie Lagae, Inge Jooris, Lien De Trogh distribution Frans Brood Productions PRODUCTIon manager Kristel Deweerdt DISTRIBUTION Frans Brood Productions PRODUCTION LOD muziektheater & KVS COPRODUCTION Le Manège Maubeuge, La Rose des Vents Villeneuve d’Ascq, Théâtre de Namur


Below are the high-resolution press photos of our own productions, which can be used free for coverage of the KVS (the name of the photographer must be clearly stated).


Inge Jooris
0475 80 04 87


Saskia Liénard
0496 55 19 92
Live recording