About O.T. Theater & Opera O.T.
For more than thirty years, O.T. has been making noteworthy theatre. The company is led by Mirjam Koen, Ton Lutgerink, and Gerrit Timmers - who come from the worlds of theatre, modern dance, and visual arts - and financial director Corry Prinsen.
22 January 2012 dancer and choreographer Ton Lutgerink passed away in Rotterdam, his city of residence, at the age of 65. As one of the three artistic directors of O.T. Theater & Opera O.T., Ton Lutgerink initiated dance productions, performed on stage as a dancer and created choreographies for theatre productions and operas. Ton Lutgerink was recently awarded the Gouden Zwaan 2011 for his oeuvre.
In the O.T.'s productions, these disciplines are put to innovative use, and since the eighties have also incorporated live video. At the end of the eighties, O.T. began producing opera alongside theatre and dance.
The company's hallmark is its interdisciplinary mixing of theatre or opera with visual arts and dance. O.T. is one of the foremost companies in the Netherlands, and not only in the field of opera. O.T. is a national leader in the performing arts and has a broad and very diverse audience. Its productions regularly win important theatre prizes.
O.T. works with a limited number of full-time staff members, almost all of whom work ‘behind the scenes’. The people on the stage are guests - actors, dancers, and/or singers. An opera production can require up to 150 people. For The Death of Klinghoffer, O.T. had 11 soloists, 24 choir members, 3 dancers, 2 extras, 60 musicians, and 55 other employees.
Since 2004, O.T.'s home is a spectacular new theatre in an upcoming Rotterdam neighbourhood, the Lloydkwartier, located on the River Maas. The main theatre is flexible and can be adapted to the directors’ every fantasy. The old theatre remains in use as a rehearsal space. It also provides extra space for educational purposes, since for the past several years the company has been very active in the educational area. The pupils are actively engaged in O.T.’s work, and then see a performance. The same model is used for adults in workshops for the general public.
The hour when we knew nothing about one another
Sitting outside a cafe on a sun-drenched square you observe life itself passing by in all its variety. The city lives and breathes; stories intertwine and alternate. Time flies, seasons follow each other. It’s a street scene involving 180 colourful passers-by: a road sweeper, a carpet salesman, a pair of lovers, soldiers, an elderly married couple, a beauty in high heels, a man in uniform, constables on patrol, a boy on a skateboard… all passing through. Some of them are aimless, others purposeful. What’s their story? Who are they? What do we see? And is it the same what everyone else is seeing?read more
In grosser Sehnsucht
Of all the works Torstensson wrote, this was the least raw, the most sweet-sentimental: the historical women fitted the styles like a glove.read more
Kwasi & Kwame
The Two hearts of Kwasi Boachi
A new production by Opera O.T. in co-production with Ensemble Domestica, based on the novel The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi (De zwarte met het witte hart) by Arthur Japin.read more
The Death of Klinghoffer
A production by Opera O.T. in co-production with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nieuwe Luxor Theater. Opening night March 2004read more
On this page a selection of our performances. In the nineties and at the start of this century, O.T. Theater (O.T.) performed in theatres and at festivals in Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Morocco and America. In 2004, the company completed construction on its own theatre in the Lloydkwartier, an up-and-coming neighbourhood located on the river Maas. Over the past decade O.T. has also been very active in its own new theatre in Rotterdam.
About O.T. Theater
Under the artistic direction of director Mirjam Koen, choreographer Ton Lutgerink and set designer Gerrit Timmers, O.T. has developed into a multifaceted theatre company. The artistic leaders’ diverse backgrounds have led to the creation of a completely unique style, in which, unexpected design and staging, dance and music on a human scale all play an important role. Special guests are brought in for each production, varying from actors and singers to light designers and extra technicians. In addition to the annual opera productions, presented under the name Opera O.T., the company also presents plays from around the world, montage productions, book adaptations, family shows and youth productions.
O.T. has been awarded the Albert van Dalsum Prize (twice) and the Emmy van Leersum Prize from the City of Amsterdam, the Theaterfestival Theatre Prize (twice), and the Critic’s Award, the Proscenium Award and the Silver Dance Award from the VSCD (Dutch Theatre and Music Hall Directors’ Association). Several O.T. players have received the VSCD’s Louis d’ Or, Theo d’ Or and the Mime Award (equivalent to the British BAFTA’s).
repertoire - a selection
Man of Moods (based on the novel How late it was, how late by James Kelman)
One Saturday morning, ex-convict Sammy wakes up to find he can’t remember what happened the day before. After two days of binge drinking with his friends, he is literally lying in the gutter. He also discovers that his new, expensive shoes have been replaced with a worn-out, ill-fitting pair. During a run-in with the police, he is beaten up so badly that the following day, waking up in a police cell, he finds he has turned blind. Without a shred of self-pity and with heart-warming optimism, he tries to adapt to a world in which sounds and tangible objects take on a whole new dimension. He discovers that his girlfriend Helen has left home without leaving a trace. Stripped of her income, he finds himself at the mercy of the bureaucracy of the benefits agency, and of the people he happens to meet. The police want to know more and more about a crime that they want to pin on him, but Sammy remembers nothing.
Sammy – a man of moods – is played by Bert Luppes, who received the Louis d’Or award for his role in the O.T. production, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? In addition, there are contributions from Romana Vrede, Tom Struyf, Viktor Griffioen and Erik van der Horst, who have all performed for O.T. Theater in the past. Erik van der Horst and Viktor Griffioen are members of The Sadists, the music theatre group that caused a furore at the Orkater music theatre company.
James Kelman is an author of novels, short stories and plays. He was born in 1946 in Glasgow, Scotland, and left secondary school at fifteen. He worked as a bus driver, among other things. Six years later, he decided he wanted to write stories based on the working-class world in which he had grown up. In addition to his work as an author, he is known as a passionate political activist. James Kelman has been awarded a number of literary prizes, including the Booker Prize (1994) for How late it was, how late.
The language that James Kelman uses in his novel, How late it was, how late, is replete with invective, repetition and unfinished sentences, blending together into an almost hallucinatory musical composition. Sammy’s thoughts are interspersed with bits of well-known songs that come to him, supporting and consoling him. Despite being disheartened and lonely at times, and feeling bad about himself, he still struggles to hold his own until the very end, always looking for the up-side of his misery. At the end of the story, his fifteen-year-old son Peter turns up. The boy loves his father, despite having rarely seen him. Peter wants to leave for London with Sammy, but Sammy manages to convince him it is not the right time. He takes the money his son offers him and, without a word, leaves in a taxi, disappearing into the anonymity of London city.
review - Trouw
Vallende Ster (Shooting Star) - based on the novel of the same title by Bernlef
About a vaudeville artist who was discovered by ‘the big stage’. Fragments of memories of his autistic brother, his former partner in a comic duo and his wife Tineke overlap one another as if in a feverish dream. René van ’t Hof performs alone on stage and his co-star Gerrit Timmers can be seen live on flat screens that appear from the wings. René van ’t Hof received the VSCD Mime Award in 2007 for his performance in this production.
text Bernlef | adaptation and design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast René van ‘Hof, Gerrit Timmers | premiere March 2007
René van ’t Hof is superior in his performance of the tragic clown. Everything in the performance is right, like a perfect circle…
Timmers created the perfect conditions and René van ’t Hof provides the smallest details to give a finishing touch to his role, apparently using every muscle in his lithe frame. Comical, with references to vaudeville, and yet at the same time so tragic that words are insufficient to describe it. The entire production is beautifully in balance.
The powerful mise-en-scene by Gerrit Timmers certainly contributes to this surrealistic trip. In the stage production ‘Shooting Star’, the mime actor René van ’t Hof again proves that he is the king of minimalism. He can give even the smallest gesture the most significant meaning, always with a deeper layer just below the surface.
Van ’t Hof, known for his work with the Carver theatre group, has mastered the art of silent acting like no other. Director Mirjam Koen has added a clarity that makes the protagonist’s jumbled thoughts easily accessible.
René van 't Hof carries this production by subtly switching between the virtuosity of the vaudeville artist and the disorientation of an aphasia patient.
quote from the VSCD jury report
Melanie Klein by Nicholas Wright
Based on the true story of the conflict between the child therapist Melanie Klein and her daughter Melitta, also a therapist. Melanie Klein’s assistant is witness to the painful confrontation between mother and daughter, in which psychoanalysis and the mother-daughter relationship become inseparably intertwined. A play based on women and their passion for their profession.
text Nicholas Wright | design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast Marlies Heuer, José Kuijpers, Romana Vrede | premiere January 2006
Actress Marlies Heuer is made for the lead role: disturbingly composed, distant, strict, and yet light and witty at the same time. In any case untouchable. Her subdued tone, ironic glance and crooked smile show how Klein has hidden behind the walls of her psychoanalytical bunker, and yet through the loopholes we can just catch a glimpse of her pain and despair. In her role as the daughter, José Kuijpers is the quick-tempered, passionate and hyperactive rebel. Romana Vrede, in her role as the daughter’s friend, is a good prescription against an overload of clarity.
O.T. has chosen a ancient theme that everyone can identify with, because even though the umbilical cord is severed at the beginning of life, an invisible tie remains between a mother and her children. That is what makes this production so irresistible.
The production of ‘Melanie Klein’ shows a mother whose own social struggle seriously threatens her relationship with her two children. This makes ‘Melanie Klein’ a sharp character-driven drama in which the dialogue is the action.
Tuin (Garden) - based on De prinses van de Moestuin (The Princess of the Vegetable Garden) by Annemie and Margriet Heymans -
A family production for ages 6 and up. A large doll house disappears into the wings and a garden appears. This is the setting of the story of Hanna, who runs away from home because her father no longer gives her and her brother the attention they need after the death of his wife. In the garden she begins a new life, which eventually includes her father and brother as well. A performance with puppets and toy animals, filmed live and projected onto two video screens.
text Annemie and Margriet Heymans | adaptation and design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast Gerrit Timmers, Laura Johannes | premiÃ¨re September 2006
After acclaimed works such as Abels Eiland (Abel’s Island, 1996) and Dominiek (1999), Timmers has again created a heart-warming puppet theatre with Tuin (Garden) that makes your imagination run away with you.
The story is just as moving for adults as it is for children. Everything falls into place at the end, and ‘Tuin’ (Garden) will leave you wanting to come back and see it again and again.
Each new scene surpasses the last. This family production’s trump card is its pure tone. The producers take the audience along into a miniature world in which Gerrit Timmers and Laura Johannes make the hand-sized inhabitants move and speak. The cameraman films the action very close-up and follows the movements throughout the house, along the garden path and into the walled garden where Hanna has chosen to hide. The action takes place centre stage, while left and right of the set the filmed images are projected onto large screens. The close-up shots beautifully display how patchwork puppet gestures form an attractive contrast to the realistic human hands manipulating the puppets. The actors have life in their hands. Even without a death in the family, this is definitely worth seeing.
Drenkeldode (Drowning) - based on Ibsen's Little Eyolf
Ibsen’s ‘Little Eyolf’ is interspersed with newly created video scenes in which the characters are faced with the play’s dilemmas in a contemporary setting. The rat lady confronts the characters with the questions: Is it possible to control our own fate while taking responsibility for others? Or are we at the mercy of our subconscious desires and urges?
text Henrik Ibsen and cast | design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast Beppie Melissen, Romana Vrede, Tom Struyf, Lizzy Timmers, Tiong Hok Tan | premiere October 2008
Het huis van de stilte (The silent house) - based on the novel of the same name by Orhan Pamuk
The play is set in a Turkish seaside resort in the year 1980 and depicts three generations on the juncture of east and west, of modernity and tradition. The holiday of three grandchildren at their grandmother’s house ends tragically.
text Orhan Pamuk | adaptation Janine Brogt | design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast Marlies Heuer, Bert Luppes, Romana Vrede, Lizzy Timmers, Marieke de Kleine, Tom Struyf, Tiong Hok Tan, Sadettin Kirmiziyüz, Mustafa Duygulu and others| premiere February 2010
Paris 1950 (music theatre about artists and students in post-war Paris)
Audience and cast sit in a café where young students and artists meet. The effects of World War II are continuously felt. A new era has yet to be created. Followers of Sartre and Camus argue with one another. Africa, free love, jazz and bebop are en vogue. The café regulars include a young Cambodian student who becomes convinced that Communism is the solution for his homeland. 25 years later, under the nom de guerre of Pol Pot, he becomes responsible for the genocide in Cambodia, bringing into merciless practice all of the ideas he had learned in Paris. (This production is a remake of ‘Peace’, part of the double bill ‘Peace & War’ from 2008.)
design Gerrit Timmers | direction Mirjam Koen | cast and text Fabian Jansen, Bram van der Heijden, Marieke de Kleine, Tom Struyf, Tiong Hok Tan, Lizzy Timmers, Romana Vrede | piano William Bakker | music Boris Vian, Chet Baker, Thelonious Monk, Messiaen, John Cage | premiere August 2010
All of these O.T. productions are suitable for larger black box theatres and traditional stages.
Operas by the most versatile theatre company in the Netherlands. An overview of over twenty years of Opera O.T. 1988-2011
Directors Mirjam Koen and Gerrit Timmers have made this dream come true in more than ten large-scale opera productions, in which the O.T. Theater & Opera O.T. company has worked with, among others, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Concerto Köln and the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam. To learn more about Opera O.T. and the productions please download the PDF-file below.
CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ALL OPERA’S BY OPERA O.T.
O.T. Theater & Opera O.T.
P.O. Box 25346
3001 HH Rotterdam
Tel ++ 6 – 45338136