He who fights can lose, he who doesn’t fight has already lost
(Bertolt Brecht)

Many of the artists of the 19/20 season have been working their magic over the last few seasons of the Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles. Others are new faces, individuals or collectives, some internationally recognized and some fresh from school. All are betting on contemporary creation and their narration techniques are evolving in a changing world which sometimes surpasses them but one in which, whatever the cost, they must deliver a testimony to humanity, an assessment of current sensitivity.

This need to create is propelled by a deeply felt indignation. No texts, no themes to explore, simply the duty to vigilance and a fighting spirit, and a resistance through beauty against isolating tribalism.

As polymorphic as the season is, that it be dance, documentary theatre, or comedy, in-house productions or those created in collaboration with Brazilian, Catalan, Italian, Moroccan or Russian artists working in the most pressing hot spots, these works, put side by side, paint a worrisome view of daily life in a world of protectionism, nationalism and narrow parochialism.

With a message inextricably linked to a particular scenography, each of these artists incarnates in his or her way a facet of our complex identity. They have made the courageous choice of tranquility, empathy, dialogue and exchange. Because it does take courage to stand here and now on the world scene and ring the alarm. It takes courage to dare to reveal that the times are breaking you, there where the ministries of culture have disappeared. It takes courage and determination to confront on a daily basis the disregard for the status of artist, to leave that insult lie, to ignore it and go on stage to complete work of common interest and public utility. 

Thus it is at the heart of this project of unity which crumbles, twists and stretches in opposite directions that KVS, the Monnaie and the National are uniting and launching the Troika project, a choreographic platform of impressive scope that unites the dance offer of all three institutions for the spectators’ ease. When language is no longer an obstacle, art reveals the ineffable richness of our differences. Troika is the image of a permanent union, a gesture taken before the federal, regional and European elections of 2019, a symbol whispered to the political world. It is also, and mostly, a call to climb over the walls inherent in our city by facilitating the movements of the publics between the three major creative performance institutions in our capital.

The photographs that grace this program are from the series An Act of Unspeakable Violence by Matthias Bruggmann. These photos can be experienced in two ways. As its title indicates, the series bears witness to ineffable violence, the inevitable harshness of contemporary reality that this season’s artists are confronting. But the photographer resists the simplicity of this violence, determined to gain strength from these disastrous situations. Thus, humanity is reborn from inhuman contexts and imagination starts to build a better future. Looking at the photos close up one wants to shut one’s eyes. But the photographer courageously creates a story.

A story to dance to, to emote to, to contemplate, to marvel at, to laugh with, to re-enchant the world. A story to revel in but not as a distraction.

Fabrice Murgia