In 2016 AlphaGo, a deep neural network developed by Google’s Deepmind, challenges the world champion of Go, Lee Sedol. Go is the oldest board game in the world and despite its simple appearance, the number of possible board positions in a Go game exceeds the amount of atoms in the universe. It is won by the presumed exclusively human skills of intuition and creativity, so no one expects a computer to be able to beat a human player. But the implausible happens: AlphaGo beats Sedol 4 – 1 and hits the front page of Nature.
AlphaGo’s 37th move in the second game is crucial and hits like a bomb. The computer comes up with a solution no human being could have imagined, Sedol leaves his chair and returns pale as a ghost. The live commentators fall silent and the image seems to freeze. In this moment of defeat and wonder the radical weirdness of AI stares us in the face: highly intelligent, creative but also completely alien.
In ‘Move 37’, Thomas Ryckewaert takes this moment as the starting point for a lecture performance about phenomena that are beyond human imagination. With cosmologist Thomas Hertog he presents an unusual lecture performance on the radically weird. They join on a trip through the dark, cool horror of the intelligent machine, the beauty of fading conventions on what is human at all, through time and space warped in black holes. In this lecture performance nothing is what it seems, human becomes alien, the computer intuitive, perception is deceived and the robot dreams.
‘Not just your average lecture performance, but more like a David Lynch – in which inexplicable things create a permanent friction between the normal and the radically weird. Fascinating.’ – Etcetera
- 16 February 2019 deSingel (première)
- 12 March 2019 STUK (Leuven)
- 14 March 2019 Southbank Centre (London)
- 20 March 2019 Vooruit (Ghent)
- 22 October 2019 Kaaitheater (Brussels)
- 24 October 2019 De Brakke Grond (Amsterdam)
- 21 & 22 March 2020 HAU (Berlin)
- 4 September 2020 Monty (Antwerp) – short version
- 11 & 12 December 2021 Monty (Antwerp)
- Direction & Script Thomas Ryckewaert
- Texts & performance Thomas Hertog, Thomas Ryckewaert
- Dramaturgy Kristof Van Baarle
- Scenography Erki De Vries
- Light Giacomo Gorini, Janneke Donkersloot
- Sound Jürgen De Blonde
- Video Paul Van Caudenberg
- Costumes Andrea Kränzlin
- Director’s assistant Sibran Sampers
- Internship Margarida Ramalhete
- Production management Platform 0090 / Valerie De Visscher, Robin Appels
- Management Platform 0090 / Wim Viaene
- Coproducers Platform 0090, Instituut voor Theoretische Fysica (KULeuven), deSingel Internationale Kunstcampus, Het Laatste Bedrijf
- Thanks to WP Zimmer, BUDA
- This show was made possible with the support of the Tax Shelter measure from the Belgian Federal Government, Gallop Tax Shelter and the Flemish Government
According to Jewish legend, a golem is a figure made from dust or clay by a man of learning and brought to life by means of a ritual incantation. The golem was intended as an assistant to its human creator, as a companion or protector of the latter’s threatened community. But the experiment gets out of hand, and the creature turns against its creator.
Ask any sculptor; to recast even the dullest object is to celebrate it.– Tom McCarthy, Satin Island
This myth of artificial life underlies Thomas Ryckewaert’s latest creation. It is a tale of ambition, creativity, power, creation, madness and destruction. It is a theme that touches upon the age-old fear of creating something that surpasses us: from the Bible via Frankenstein to the ghost of artificial intelligence. It is a story that raises the same question in every age: how deep can we dig?
Using a silent cinematic visual language, Golem balances on the thin line between man and matter, reason and fear. Face to face with a figure that looks a lot like man, but is at the same time radically different, a mirror is held up. He sees monsters being born in things, in the other, in himself.
‘A magnetizing universe, a hypnotic tunnel. Ryckewaert is one of the most intelligent and theatrically skilled directors of his generation, ready for the big stage.’ – De Standaard
09.12.2016 – 10.12.2016, De Singel, Antwerpen – PREMIERE
14.12.2016, Vooruit, Gent
02.02.2017, De Warande, Turnhout
10.02.2017 – 11.02.2017, Brakke Grond, Amsterdam
15.02.2017, Kaaitheater, Brussels
- Scenario & direction: Thomas Ryckewaert
- Cast: Tina Breiova, Efrat Galai, Rosie Sommers, Jef Stevens & Kurt Vandendriessche
- Scenography: Erki De Vries
- Light: Giacomo Gorini
- Sound: Senjan Jansen
- Costumes: Andrea Kränzlin
- Assistant director: Sibran Sampers
- Assistant scenography: Maia Anastasiou
- Production: Wolff vzw / Hiros
- Coproduction: deSingel (Antwerp), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Vooruit (Ghent), TAKT Dommelhof (Neerpelt),
- Platform 0090 (Antwerp)
- In collaboration with: Kunstencentrum BUDA (Kortrijk), WP Zimmer (Antwerp)
- With the support of: The Flemish Community, the City of Antwerp
Genesis (I, II, III)
A cruel and confusing place, where the banished man finds refuge. Where he is confronted with forces that are beyond his understanding. At times it rains fire and brimstone, at times only drops of water, but weeks at a time, until everything has been engulfed. There is nothing as confusing, however, as the forces he discovers in himself: jealousy, desire, bloodlust. But the most ungraspable feeling of all is love.
In his latest production, Thomas Ryckewaert takes on one of the most paradoxical masterpieces of world literature: Genesis, the first book of the Bible. A play about our lifelong attempt to control the chaos.
This production is the third part of a triptych in which this poetic and shocking work is explored from several perspectives. Genesis (I) – Science introduces the audience to the knowledge of philosophers, theologians and Bible translators. Genesis (II) – Religion is a celebration of the Eucharist directed by Ryckewaert. Church- and theatre-goers are the joint witnesses of a 2000-year-old ritual that has been subtly amended in a composition made up of light, sound, song, text and silence. In Genesis (III) – Theater, Ryckewaert stages his version of the Book of Genesis. In search of a contemporary ritual.
In Genesis (I, II, III) Ryckewaert successively directs the scientist, the priest and the actor. A quest for the source of theatre, for the essence of ritual. Is liturgy theatre? Is theatre liturgy?
In fact I believe nothing,
And I doubt everything, even You.
But sometimes, when I feel You really do exist,
Then I feel that You are Love, and that You are lonely,
And that, sharing my despair, You seek me
Just as I seek You.
19.10.2013, Vooruit, Gent – PREMIERE
15.02.2014, De Warande, Turnhout
25.02.2014, Toneelhuis, Antwerpen
22.03.2014, STUK, Leuven
27.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
28.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
31.05.2014, Théâtre La Balsamine, Brussels
- Concept, scenario & direction: Thomas Ryckewaert
- With: Eleanor Campbell, Lieven Demecheleer, Emma Polen, Diane Reiners, Sid Van Oerle, Robbe Vergauwen, Silke Verslype
- Setdesign and Costumes: Bert Gillet
- Soundtrack: Peter Lenaerts
- Sound Technician: Carlos Senraromero
- Light: Luc Schaltin
- Dramaturgy: Marnix Rummens
- Assistance direction: Tineke De Meyer
- Production: Margarita Production
- Coproduction: Vooruit, Théâtre de la Balsamine
- In cooperation with STUK, BUDA, WP Zimmer
- With the support of: De Vlaamse Overheid, Provincie Antwerpen
For the credits of Genesis (I & II) / performance, check out the pressfile.
She’s at home. Alone. Outside the world is raging. Inside everything is quiet. She thinks she’s unobserved. At this place, at this hour, during her daily routine, her wildest fantasies, most intense desires, deepest fears grow. Time is ticking.
Portrait; the breathless midpoint of an unknown story. A desolate portrait. A deceptive still life.
19.01.2012 – 21.01.2012, Monty, Antwerp – PREMIERE
26.01.2012 – 27.01.2012, Beursschouwburg, Brussels
08.02.2012, Toneelhuis, Antwerpen
10.02.2012, Malpertuis, Tielt
16.02.2012, De Warande, Turnhout
06.03.2012 – 07.03.2012, STUK, Leuven
- Concept Thomas Ryckewaert & Erki De Vries
- Written & Directed by Thomas Ryckewaert
- Cast Erika Sainte
- Scenography Erki De Vries
- Sound Tim Vets
- Song Composed, performed and produced Tim Vets
- Light design Giacomo Gorini
- Costumes Bert Gillet
- Assistance Scenography: Anton Boon, Emile Duyck (internship)
- Technical assistance Bern Van Deun
- Production assistance: Evelien Stichelmeyer
- Production Margarita Production for Wolff vzw
- Coproduction Monty (Antwerp), Beursschouwburg (Brussels), STUK (Leuven), Champ d’Action (Antwerp), detheatermaker (Antwerp)
- In cooperation with BUDA (Kortrijk), Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (Antwerp), DeVIR/CAPa (Portugal)
- With the support of the Flemish Government & Stad Antwerpen
- Made in Troubleyn/Laboratorium & Monty (Antwerp)
I have long felt that biology ought to be as exciting as a mystery story, for a mystery story is exactly what biology is. – Richard Dawkins
2009 was the Darwin Year: 200 years ago, Charles Darwin was born. 150 years ago, On the Origin of Species was published. Time for a party: Darwin Trilogy. A triptych of science, installation and theater.
PART I: SCIENCE.
Six scientists are invited to give a lecture in the theater. Each of them reveals the influence of Darwin on their specific field. A concluding debate is held with all scientists on November 24, 2009: the 150th birthday of the publication of On the Origin of Species.
PART II: INSTALLATION.
The sound recordings of the scientific lectures is combined with the scenographic research for part III: Theater. Opening: November 24, 2009. Monty, Antwerp.
PART III: THEATER. Homo sapiens.
The human species is put in an environment stripped off from its usual context. It finds itself in a white, clinical and ever-transforming universe, manipulated by forces and creatures difficult to fathom.
Homo sapiens. What does he seek? What are his fears? What his dreams? How does he fill up the time between cradle and grave? How does he cope with the blind and senseless environment around him?
Homo sapiens by Wolff is an attempt to give shape to the mystery of our species. Sound, scenography and light blend together to form a wordless stage trip not to be forgotten.
- PART I. Monty, Antwerp
- 27.01.2009. Thomas Hertog, cosmologist
- 17.02.2009. Luc De Meester, evolutionary biologist
- 31.03.2009. Robert Speijer, geologist
- 28.04.2009. Dirk De Ridder, neuroscientist
- 20.05.2009. Johan Braeckman, philosopher
- 02.06.2009. Luc Steels, A.I. scientist
- 24.11.2009. Concluding debate
- PART II.
- 24.11.2009 – 30.01.2010. Monty, Antwerp
- PART III: Homo sapiens
- 14.01.2010 – 16.01.2010, Monty, Antwerp
- 21.01.2010, De Warande, Turnhout
- 23.01.2010, KAAP | De Werf, Brugge
- CREDITS PART III: Homo sapiens
- Directed by Thomas Ryckewaert, Daphné Verhelst
- With Anton Boon, Lieven Demecheleer, Werner Nigg, Pascal Maetens, Joke Raes, Diane Reiners, Flo Steeno, Thomas Verstraeten
- Scenography Erki De Vries
- Sound design Tim Vets
- Light design Brian Broeders, Erki De Vries
- Costumes Joke Raes
- Masks Freija Van Esbroeck
- Technical assistance Anton Boon, Katrien Pauwels
- Production manager & dramaturg Marlies Vanhoucke
- Production Wolff
- Executive producer Monty
- Diffusion Margarita Production
This is a lab of the human species, the homo sapiens isolated from its natural habitat. But above all, this is art. Existential science like the plays by Beckett: the uncertainty principle of our existence transformed into esthetics, offered by Ryckewaert through a peekhole. – Rekto:Verso
There have been places on earth, not so long ago, where the definition of ‘man’ has been questioned. Altered, maybe.
Few fractures in human history were more severe than those caused by Nazism in het first part of the 20th century. It is far from evident to assess the Röntgen photos of this fracture. The perpetrator stays silent, the surviving victim is engulfed by trauma and the outsider has no right to speak.
Some survivors, however, had the incredible talent and nerves to observe their fracture from a distance and put it in words. People who, in other times, would have written great works of literature on all sorts of topics. Faith condemned them to that one subject that would never let them go.
In his directional debut, Ryckewaert takes the works of Primo Levi, Jean Améry and Jorge Semprun and sculpts them into theater.
Nightmares of depraved sleepers. (..) A dream of a nightmare, you could call it. It’s hard to say afterwards what you have seen. But one thing is sure: it grabs you by your throat. – De Standaard
7-11/11/2007. De Tijd, Antwerp
21-24/11/2007. De Tijd, Antwerp
- Text & direction Thomas Ryckewaert & Daphné Verhelst
- With Mattias De Meulenaere, Thomas Ryckewaert, Jonas Van Geel, Barbara Vanwelden, Daphné Verhelst
- Poltergeist Erki De Vries & Tim Vets
- Costumes Tine Deseure
- Dramaturgy Claire Swyzen
- Production De Tijd
Thomas Ryckewaert (1979) is a Belgian actor and director.
Thomas’ work balances on the borders between theatre, dance and installation. He explores the relationship between the alien and the human, the weird and the intimate, biology and technology, reality and fiction. His work has been described as poetical, radical, visual and ritual.
His most recent works include Golem and Move 37 and are an exploration into the relationship between art and science, a relationship that reflects the tension between the abstract level on which technology operates and the tangible plane of human emotions.
Thomas studied Biology at the KULeuven and Dramatic Arts at the Royal Antwerp Conservatoire. Today, his scientific background nourishes his creations. After intensive research periods he sculpts his findings into visual, almost cinematic theater.
As an actor he frequently works for theatre, film and television. He has worked with directors Ivo Van Hove, Erik De Volder, Lucas Vandervost, Hans Herbots, Stijn Coninx, Martijn Maria Smits, Nathalie Teirlinck, Urszula Antoniak, amongst others. For his main role in the feature film Waldstille he was nominated for Best Actor in the Golden Calf competition at the Dutch Film Festival 2017.
He is a regular guest professor at P.A.R.T.S.
Theater creations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting agency: Solid Base Management – Agent: Gwen Maduro email@example.com