A Touch of the Dutch: Plays by Dutch Women Writers
Introduced by Mike Kolk
Compiled and Edited by Cheryl Robson
Featuring five contemporary plays by Dutch women writers (Hella Haasse, Matin Van Veldhuizenm, Suzanne Van Lohuizen, Inez Van Dullemen and Judith Herzberg) translated into English. This collection of drama in translation showcases the best the best modern plays by women writing in the Netherlands, covering a range of subjects from eating disorders to loneliness to caring for a patient with AIDS.
Write Me in the Sand by Inez Van Dullemen: A poetic portrayal of a family where layer upon layer is removed to reveal the painful secrets within.
The Caracal by Judith Herzberg: A comic one-woman show about a teacher whose complicated love life is revealed through fragmentary telephone conversations.
A Thread in the Dark by Hella Haasse: This is a profound retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, from the viewpoint of Ariadne. Winner of the Visser Neerlandia prize. “[W]e cannot rephrase it for you. If we Could, why would we trouble to show you the myth?”
Eat by Matin Van Veldhuizen: A darkly comic exploration of the lives of three sisters who come together to eat, drink and celebrate the anniversary of their mother’s death.
Dossier: Ronald Akkerman by Suzanne Van Lohuizen: A two-hander, detailing moments between a patient suffering from AIDS and his nurse.
“…the moving story of a relationship between a young man in the final stages of AIDS and his nurse, Dossier: Ronald Akkerman … tackles the epidemic full-on.” Gay Times
About the authors
Inez van Dullemen worked briefly as a speech therapist, taught acting and worked with her partner Erik Vos, the director on various projects for Appeltheater. She began writing short stories, novels and travelogues for magazines and newspapers before turning to playwriting.
Travel has been the focus of her life and work, including the inner journey to other people’s dreams and fears and the outer journey to other countries, people and threatened cultures. She has been awarded prizes for her journalism and fiction and in 1989 the Anna Bijns prize for her contribution to literature. Inez van Dullemen – Wikipedia
Judith Herzberg a writer who has built up an extensive body of work over thirty years including poems, essays, plays, film scripts and television dramas with many translations and adaptations to her name. Judith Herzberg – Wikipedia
Her plays include:
1982 Leedvermaak for which she won the Critic’s Prize and the Charlotte Köhler Award.
1986 Merg, a libretto
1988 Kras for which she won the Dutch/Flemish Playwrights’ Prize
1991 Een goed hoofd
Hella Haasse born in Djakarta, she spent her early years in the Dutch East Indies. She trained at drama school and has written several plays, novellas, autobiographies, essays and poems but it is for her novels that she is best known. Since the publication of her novel, Urug which was filmed in 1993, she has been widely recognised. She has won numerous literary prizes, including the Constantijn Huygens Prize in 1987 and the P.C. Hooft prize in 1983. Hella Haasse – Wikipedia
Translated titles include:
The Scarlet City. (Academy Chicago)
In a Dark Wood Wandering. (Hutchinson)
Forever a stranger. (Oxford in Asia Press)
Threshold of Fire. (Academy Chicago)
Matin van Veldhuizen writer and director, began by doing the catering for a travelling theatre company before taking up acting. She has performed and directed with various theatre companies in the Netherlands. In 1978 she started to write for the theatre, both original plays and adaptations of novels. She has also written children’s stories and film scripts. Since 1992 she has been artistic director of the Amsterdam theatre company Theatergroep Carrousel, writing, producing and directing plays. Her obsession with food began early and is the inspiration for her play Eat.
‘The pathological relationship that women have with food has been bled dry by the media, but it’s rare to see it on the stage. So the subject approaches the realms of sociodrama, although the writer of this light comedy has thankfully avoided social references. There’s plenty to recognise here, especially for women. ’
Suzanne van Lohuizen studied at the Conservatory of Dramatic Art in Arnhem. In 1977 she completed her training as a teacher of Dutch and shortly afterwards began a career as an actress with a political theatre group called Proloog. She also began writing and directing plays for adults and children. In 1992 she was awarded the Dutch/Flemish Dramatic prize for 2 children’s plays: Have you seen my little boy? and The house of my life.
She says of her work:
‘The struggle which sets the child against the world which surrounds him, is a hard one. I don’t write for children from a sense of mission, but because I still feel very close to them emotionally.‘