Works

Dear beloved friend,

At the start of 2023 Dries flew to Lagos, Nigeria to create a work exploring a potential future African exodus. However, the performers of Kininso Koncepts were hesitant to portray themselves as possible migrants. They preferred to turn the lengthy history of stereotyping on its head, and to direct their gaze at us, Europeans. A camera crew from Nollywood, the heart of the African film industry, leapt on board. Armed with cameras, film lighting, and a high-speed internet connection, they created a piece centred around our European self-image now that our expectations of the future here begin to falter. How deep-rooted are the images of ourselves and the other? How long can we hold onto our comfortable position of power?

Dear beloved friend, is a live film performance. The work was performed at the Seaside Cottage Theatre in Lagos and screened live in theaters and at festivals in the Netherlands.

At the start of 2023 Dries flew to Lagos, Nigeria to create a work exploring a potential future African exodus. However, the performers of Kininso Koncepts were hesitant to portray themselves as possible migrants. They preferred to turn the lengthy history of stereotyping on its head, and to direct their gaze at us, Europeans. A camera crew from Nollywood, the heart of the African film industry, leapt on board. Armed with cameras, film lighting, and a high-speed internet connection, they created a piece centred around our European self-image now that our expectations of the future here begin to falter. How deep-rooted are the images of ourselves and the other? How long can we hold onto our comfortable position of power?

Dear beloved friend, is a live film performance. The work was performed at the Seaside Cottage Theatre in Lagos and screened live in theaters and at festivals in the Netherlands.

Video

Registration of the performance

Press

Verhoeven is a master at finding the right format for the right subject (…) a feat of technical virtuosity (…) a road trip about people fleeing misery in search of a long-vanished paradise. (...) It is one of his most politically-engaged productions, depicting a mass exodus from one continent and another continent struggling to cope with the influx.

Hein Janssen in de VolkskrantRead the review here (in Dutch)

Verhoeven deeply affects us by immersing us in unforgettable experiences. (…) young, self-assured, energetic Black Africans mock us, and how we see ourselves.

Joost Ramaer on Theaterkrant.nlRead the review here (in Dutch)

Throughout the performance, we hear a voice-over describing the life of an average European. Someone who consumes the news, checks his phone, and muddles along. Despite his concerns about the world, all he does is donate to charity and have recurring nightmares about a party where he doesn't recognise anyone. All of this paints a critical portrait of the decadence, hypocrisy, and fever dreams of the Westerner.

Marijn Lems in NRCRead the review here (in Dutch)

This multimedia performance is as much about how they see us as how we see them. They mock us with a caricature of how we decay before we meet our end. Struggling in our old age to understand what life was all about, asking ourselves: Did we live our lives fully?

Babah Tarawally on ZAM MagazineRead the review here

Thus, by its rhythm, its humor and its sensuality, Dear beloved friend, engages on another way in the ultra plowed field of racial conflict through the arts. The work renounces both humanist platitudes, commissioned commiseration and vindictive bluffing. And aims for a space of common dignity.

Thomas Corlin on MouvementRead the review here (in French)

"I came here with plans to make a work about migration because I’d read an article about an imminent African exodus, but one of the group's performers said: 'You all seem to be going through a midlife crisis. You're looking at tomorrow with apprehension, and are filled with nostalgia for yesterday.' Their faith in the future contrasts with our desire to cling to the past."

Lorianne van Gelder (Het Parool) interviewed Dries Verhoeven during the making of Dear beloved friend, (4 March 2023)Read the interview here (in Dutch)

"The performers briefly flip things on their head. The moment they pull on the masks, they’re making fun of white people. ‘Can we please do a send-up of that white guy,’ they said to me, ‘because we see so many stereotypes of ourselves.'"

Lotje IJzermans interviewed Dries Verhoeven in VPRO's Nooit Meer SlapenListen to the interview (in Dutch)

Credits

concept and direction: Dries Verhoeven
creative producer: Joshua Alabi
performance: Ayoola Odubona, Israel Efosa Okpoko, Olorunniyi Zion Praise, Uche Enechukwu, Uche Kingsley Mborogwu, John Zeblon
dramaturgy: Miguel Melgares
directorial assistance: Casper Wortmann, Naomi Steijger
technical staff: Roel Evenhuis, Jeremiah Anthony Irabor, Titus Duitshof, Bolaji Afolabi Rilwan
sound design: Peer Thielen
sound: Adebayo Habib Olaore
light: Biokorogha Tumbra, Anthony Monday
voice over artist: Moshood Fattah
internet technician: Bart van de Woestijne
internet Nigeria: Omotayo Charles Ogunfeibo
video: Adedire Badejo, Blessing Olalekan Okunola, Abiola Semiu Peter, Samuel Abaji
set: Athanasius Akojuru
media runner: Ebenezer Obiji
welfare: Olubanke Oyeniyi
drivers: Dare Oshoniyi, Adekunle Adesanya 

executive production: ‘n More – Lise van den Hout & Ellen van Bunnik & Kininso Koncepts – Angela Peters & Emmanuel Anya
production: Studio Dries Verhoeven & Kininso Koncepts
office Kininso Koncepts: admin manager Chinenye Chukwudi, assistant admin manager Oloyede Aribilola, communications Aniefiok Inyang, legal representative: Praise Alabi
trailer: Thorsten Alofs

Dear beloved friend, is made possible by the Performing Arts Fund NL, Gemeente Utrecht, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Dioraphte, Creative Industries Fund NL, Fonds 21 and the Dutch embassy in Nigeria.