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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Teatro 2023

FC Bergman

Silver Lion

Award ceremony

Saturday 17 June, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

FC Bergman

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Silver Lion to FC Bergman.

“With their creations – Stefano Ricci and Gianni Forte declared – the Flemish artists of FC Bergman, drawing inspiration from cinema, literature and art history, and blending a painterly aesthetic and the use of highly advanced technology with the great allegorical-Medieval-biblical stories, shape an original language of site-specific-theatre-dance, poetic yet at the same time irreverent, which arouses a feeling of disconcerting apprehension in the viewer. Using references, symbols and images that are deeply rooted in western culture and civilisation, eluding the dictatorship of the vanishing point in Italian-style theatres with perspectives organised as a whirlwind of tableaux vivants and allowing themselves a margin of unpredictability and improvisation, FC Bergman flirts with the limits of feasibility, creating modern apocalyptic tales, often without words but with surprising plastic potency and evocative power, thus focusing on Man – torn between the existential desire to transcend his perimeters and the fear of change – following him in his moving odysseys that metamorphose into tragicomic misadventures”.

Experimenting in pursuit of a renewed meaning for theatre, FC Bergman, the collective composed by the actors/directors/artists Stef Aerts, Joé Agemans, Thomas Verstraeten and Marie Vinck, comes to Biennale Teatro for the first time. On Saturday June 17th FC Bergman will present the Italian premiere of Het Land Nod (The Land of Nod), an “out-of-scale” production, which defies the traditional space of theatre inspired by a place, the Royal Fine Arts Museum of Antwerp: on stage, it reproduces the entire room known as the Rubens Gallery, with the majestic paintings by the Flemish painter, to tell the thrilling story of this space, of the works it contains and above all the people who seek comfort and shelter there.

Biographical notes

FC Bergman is a collective founded in 2008 by actors / theatre-makers / artists Stef Aerts, Joé Agemans, Bart Hollanders, Matteo Simoni, Thomas Verstraeten and Marie Vinck. Since 2013 in residence at Toneelhuis in Antwerp, the collective in a short time has developed a highly unique theatrical idiom, at the same time anarchistic, chaotic, visual and poetic. Their productions - often site-specific - give centre stage to the floundering, ever-striving human. Simoni and Hollanders have left the core team and now work on an ad-hoc basis with FC Bergman.
Winner in 2009 of the Young Theatre Prize at Theater Aan Zee with its adaptation of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, FC Bergman was short-listed for the Dutch Theatre Festival in 2010 with Walking along the Champs Elysées with a tortoise so as to have a better look at the world, but it is difficult to drink tea on an ice floe if everyone is drunk. In 2011 FC Bergman created 300 el x 50 el x 30 el at Toneelhuis, a piece that since then has toured internationally, from Athens to New York. In 2012 they created Terminator Trilogy, again a site-specific work that toured internationally. Back in Toneelhuis in 2013 the collective created Van den vos, an impressive music theatre project, realized in collaboration with Liesa van der Aa, Muziektheater Transparant and Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, and in 2015 FC Bergman made Het land Nod (The Land Of Nod), later presented at the Festival of Avignon and at the Zürcher Theater Spektakel.
In 2018, FC Bergman completed JR, a site-specific project based on the eponymous cult novel by William Gaddis and defined “the major theatre event of 2018”. In 2018, they created an opera for Opera Ballet Vlaanderen: Les Pêcheurs de perles (Georges Bizet). In 2019, FC Bergman collaborated on Freud, an ITA production, by making an adaptation of Sartre’s original script. Aerts, Vinck and Simoni played a number of roles, including the lead role, performed by Stef Aerts.
Their most recent work is The Sheep Song (2021), a wordless performance about a creature that is no longer content with its lot as it feels to be destined to lead a more glorious life than that of its fellows. The Sheep Song is touring internationally from Avignon to Adelaide, from Seville to Stockholm.
Besides the work with the collective, the members of FC Bergman are individually involved in various other theatre productions, TV projects and films, or make productions, installations and videos under their own name.

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