A day in the life of Mrs Dalloway
For the production Mrs Dalloway, Michael De Cock collaborates with Carme Portaceli of Teatro Español. Why Mrs Dalloway? And why Teatro Español? In this interview, De Cock reveals all about this particular cross-border collaboration. He also shares his interest in Virginia Woolf and her modernist novel Mrs Dalloway.
How did Carme Portaceli of Teatro Español and you get to Virginia Woolf?
Michael De Cock: 'In the past few years, KVS has established a great deal of international contacts. A remarkably delightful relationship developed between KVS and Teatro Español. The artistic director, Carme Portaceli, and I keep an eye on each other’s houses and exchange a lot of information about what it means to be a city theatre in the 21st century in a large European capital. We have long and intense conversations about art, theatre and literature. Also about which style of writing offers the best answers to the big questions of our time. During one of the many conversations, we came across Virgina Woolf and our shared love of her work.'
And why exactly did you want to work on Mrs Dalloway?
'I’m incredibly interested in the ‘unlived’ lives that we all have. What if you had done this or that differently? Would you be a different person then? Do you make your own choices, or do the choices make you? It’s a recurring theme in Chekhov’s writings (it’s not a coincidence that he was a contemporary of Virginia Woolf) and in the work of Jaco Van Dormael. In the film Achter de Wolken (Behind the Clouds), I questioned whether a love, experienced at the age of eighteen, still has value 50 years later. Could you pick it up again? Do you opt for absolute passion in your life, or do you prefer a calmer, steadier happiness? Is there a choice anyway?
For me, Mrs Dalloway deals with an immense longing for togetherness, and a secret awareness that it's doomed to fail. Deep inside, we will always be lonely. That, and accepting yourself the way you are... that's what it's all about.'
Why did you want to work with Teatro Español for this production?
'Collaborations with likeminded partners are especially instructive and useful. One of the ambitions of KVS is to go international. We manage to do this increasingly well... Our KVS-faces perform all over the world and we get involved in many special and interesting collaborations. Not just with anybody! The choice of our partners is always well-considered and conscious. Teatro Español is a fantastic theatre - its building, its location and its history. Moreover, Spain is a fascinating country in full transition. The themes that concern us are alive there too, although the context is different. That makes collaborations very enriching.'
Why is this show not to be missed?
'For a hundred thousand reasons. Because it’s a daring collaboration, because we have a fantastic cast (Blanca Portillo played one of the leading roles in Almodóvar’s Volver), and because the play - who knows - incites people to delve into Virginia Woolf’s work.'
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