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Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles

At the juncture of stand-up, the absurd and existential drama, Cédric Eeckhout obsessively singles out the similarities that unite his fate with that of the entire continent, politically and economically; he joins the great historical currents with the footnotes. According to him, the important dates in his life correspond oddly with important episodes in the history of United Europe. Even his initials play the game: CE!

On one hand we have his story, a forty year old actor looking for eternal love, marked from a young age by the separation of his Walloon mother and his Flemish father. And on the other hand, the European Union whose foundations could crack, threatened by the rise of nationalism.

During his monologue he dwells on Europe’s fragmentation and questions the ambivalent effects of Neoliberalism. He touches on his origins: he is the result of a union between someone from the north and someone from the south of Belgium, which after 18 years resulted in a divorce. Will the European Union suffer a better fate? Presenting himself as a 21st century knight errant clad in protective armor, he is accompanied in his quest by his mom and his cat named Jesus.

Together they went to the Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary, but also Flanders and Wallonia, sharing his reflections on family and Europe. They interviewed key people in the future of Europe, intellectuals, politicians, artists and also regular citizens and even members of his own family.

How did the project come into being?

"The main idea came from the fact that I worked with several European directors on the theme of Europe. In each of these projects, we did a lot of improvisation on this theme and we also talked a lot about ourselves, especially with Falk Richter who often uses the lives of his actors in his writing. It was his playwright, Jens Hilje (current director of the Gorki theater in Berlin, and former co-director of Thomas Ostermeier at the Schaubhune) who sug - gested that I try to write or to do a show in the form of stand-up. It got me thinking and I said to myself that I would like to work on Europe while talking about myself too. In fact, the idea of making con - nections between my personal and political life came to me quite quickly and amused me: that my crisis of being single in need of a healthy and balanced relationship (a union), could have links with the crises that Europe has been going through since 2008."

Why stand-up?

"First, because during my research on this practice, I discovered that American stand-ups were often very depressed, and that currently, most clubs had a psychiatrist on staff, or an accompanist for their performers. So I thought that was the most natural way to talk about a contemporary existential crisis. And then, it’s because this form offers a possibility of direct dialogue with the public, which is the main partner. And finally, because it is about perfor - mance. It's something of a scary challenge and I need to be scared to work."

— The entire interview with Cédric Eeckhout is available in the artistic folder




Premiere in September 2020

Contact details: 
Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles
Touring - Matthieu Defour
Production - Juliette Thieme

Available in 2021-22 & 2022-23
Video recording on demand


Writing and directing 
Cédric Eeckhout 

With the partnership of 
Douglas Grauwels 

Nils Haarmann 

Costumes and set design 
Laurence Hermant 

Light design 
Emily Brassier

Cédric Eeckhout
Douglas Grauwels
Jo Libertiaux 

Direction assistante 
Eulalie Roux 

English language consulting editor 
Daisy Phillips 

Translation, transcription, surtitles 
Isabelle Grynberg 
Tineke de Meyer 
Lola Chuniaud 
Pulse Translations 
Christopher Smith 
Francis Smith 
Valérie De Heyn 
Valentine De Luca 

Video Editing 
Dimitri Petrovic 

Stage manager 
Romain Gueudré 

Video direction & light 
Ludovic Desclin 

Sound operator 
Pawel Wnuczinsky 

Stage director & surtitles 
Pierre Ottinger 

Création Studio Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles 

Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles 

Riksteatern, Les Théâtres de la ville du Luxembourg, Mars - Mons arts de la scène, L’Ancre - Théâtre Royal, Grand Théâtre / Noorderzon, Trafó Budapest, Centro Dramático Nacional (INAEM) La Coop asbl et Shelter Prod. 

With the support of, ING et du Tax Shelter du gouvernement fédéral belge 

Une étape de travail a été créée lors du Festival XS 2017 au Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles 

Special thanks to
R.Lang, A.Romano, F. Denis, A De Vestele, M. Godichaux, FIND Festival 2017, NEST - CDN Thionville Lorraine, Le Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne, La Comédie de Reims, La Criée - Théâtre National de Marseille, Le Lieu Unique, Maison de l’Histoire Européenne. 

Nous remercions les équipes des théâtres qui nous ont accueilli lors des différentes résidences en Europe entre avril 2019 et février 2020 ainsi que les 85 personnes qui ont accepté d’être interviewées pour ce projet. 

Costumes and set design 
Ateliers du Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles 

"With a redemptive madness, an explosive sincerity and a brave humour, Cédric Eeckhout sums up all of our fates, linked to this European utopia as improbable as a flirtation between Angela Merkel and Viktor Orban. It could have been tedious but it is done, on the contrary, with a corrosive irony ... "
Catherine Makereel, «The quest»: rêver un impossible rêve… européen, dans Le Soir, le 05.01.2021

"With his mother and a musician disguised as a cat (!), he traveled through Europe and asked random people two questions which could apply as much to love between a couple as to love for Europe. Under what conditions can love survive? The most common answer is to keep having activities in common."
Guy Duplat, Amour et divorce en Europe, dans La Libre Belgique, le 25.09.2020

"At the crossroads of stand-up, the absurd and existential drama, Cédric Eeckhout voyages through history both significant and minor. Dressed in knight’s armour, the Belgian artist undertakes an idealistic quest à la Don Quixote, with a cat in the Sancho Panza rôle, and his mother at his side, a symbol of family solidarity which is sorely lacking in Europe today."
Catherine Makereel, «The quest»: famille (européenne), je vous hais, dans Le Soir, le 22.09.2020

© Gloria Scorier