Crackling with intensity, this triumphant spectacle directed by Ivo van Hove depicts the disintegration of a society, undone through a venomous alliance, the drama finding unsettling parallels today.
Luchino Visconti’s screenplay is the springboard for a ceaselessly creative production, which follows a family of German industrialists – the corrupt and debauched Essenbeck clan. With echoes of Greek and Shakespearean tragedy, their deepening collusion with the nascent Nazi regime puts them on a perilous path to destruction.
Invited to direct the illustrious troupe of Comédie-Française for the first time, Van Hove and his long-time collaborator Jan Versweyveld populate the Barbican stage with a company of 30 actors and technicians. Archival footage and live recordings projected onto a screen form a counterpoint to the immense and involving action, the roving camera at times turned on audiences. Pulsating sound and arresting visual metaphors heighten the impact of a play that ‘really must be seen, sensed and felt’ (New York Stage Review).
Ivo van Hove Director
Jan Versweyveld Set Design and Lighting
An D’Huys Costumes
Tal Yarden Video
Eric Sleichim Sound and Composition
Bart Van den Eynde Dramaturgy