What can we say about the income gap, except that it has been there throughout the ages?
In 1824 German composer Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony premieres, containing the iconic line: ‘Alle Menschen werden Brüder’. In 1924, a hundred years later, the German writer Thomas Mann publishes The magic Mountain. In 2015, nearly a hundred years after that, the German politician Angela Merkel says: ‘Wir Schaffen das’.
With The Magic Mountain Thomas Mann wrote one of the major works of his time, a pivotal era between the old world and the new. His story is a razor-sharp analysis of the ideological juxtapositions of the time, the stalemate between the bourgeois classes up on their mountain and life ‘down below’. Far removed from normal life these bourgeois wallow in their life up there, entering a healing process that never seems to end. Nearly a century on, we appear to find ourselves in a similar stalemate: the income gap has never been as wide as it is today. Those living ‘up there’ have never had so much more than those ‘down below’.
Toverberg is not a stage adaptation of a novel, nor is it an attempt to discredit Thomas Mann: it takes the story and continues where Mann ended it. With a good sense of monumentalism Desnor attempts to place another mountain alongside Mann’s Magic Mountain. Deconstructiing the written material, Louis Janssens and Ferre Marnef construct a new, contemporary magic mountain in response to the juxtapositions, issues and problems that define our times.
“Four exceedingly smart and inventive performers were at work here, with a clear sense of style and their own approach. They have succeeded at tackling a literary milestone such as De Toverberg and not lose their heads.” Pzazz
Louis Janssens and Ferre Marnef have been working together as Desnor since 2012. Besides creating shows together (including #BOS and Galileo, which also came to Tweetakt), these two alumni from KASK regularly perform solo as well, or make guest appearances with other companies. Construction, deconstruction, moving and visualisation processes are a big part of their shows. In Toverberg they are joined by Timo Sterckx, who made The Greatest Show on Earth with Louis Janssens, at Tweetakt in 2019. The three of them zoom out to see the whole of the mountain, knowing that the mountain would not exist without the valley.