Dark Room is a performative installation about the power and powerlessness of the human eye to create intimacy. With a panoramic camera, six blind performers film the city they cannot see. This film material is projected all round the spectators in the performance space. In the performance, the groping human walking in the city is placed opposite the seeing person in the theatre. Visitors experience how the blind perceive the city, each other and finally, the visitors themselves and how that perception differs from, or is similar to their own experience. The performers talk about their desire for intimacy/sexuality and about how the lack of sight helps or impedes that.
The blind performers finally enter the theatre space with their cameras, there is no daylight left to film, so no projection either. The visitors and performers find themselves together in a dark room.
"The amazing insights of the blind performers…show that human perception is more than the sum of all we receive from our sense. The performers lovingly ignite the lights in the head of the audience."
‘Der blinde Spiegel’, Gabriella Lorenz in the Münchner Abendzeitung (26-09-2011)read the review (in German)
"Dunkelkammer is an impressive demonstration of arbitrariness, a successful performance in which we are made aware of the power of our imagination. An eye-opener."
‘Licht aus, Kopfkino an’, Michael Stadler on Nachtkritik.de (01-10-2011)read the review (in German)
"Dunkelkammer is a type of laboratory in which the spectator subjects their own sensibility to an examination... You cannot grasp the works by Verhoeven using reason alone. But the intimate atmosphere he creates in his Dunkelkammer evokes something, possibly thoughts, in the broadest sense of the word, about our own attitude to perceiving strangers."
‘Blind durch München’, Egbert Tholl for Süddeutsche Zeitung (04-10-2011)read the review (in German)
"Donkere kamer is a performance, which, like all Verhoeven’s work, plays with the sensory experience. Verhoeven piles on layer after layer, creating fascinating images."
‘Kijken door blinde ogen’ ('Looking through blind eyes'), Moos van den Broek for Theaterkrant.nl (18-05-2012)read the review (in Dutch)
"By working with three blind actors and with the aid of a smart video projection, Verhoeven slowly takes us from our seeing world to that of the blind during the performance. The blind first describe what they think we see, at the end they strikingly illustrate what they perceive in the pitch darkness."
‘Inspiratie ongeraapt van de straat’ ('Inspiration picked up from the street'), Robbert van Heuven for Trouw (21-05-2012)read the review (in Dutch)
"I realised I wanted to project a romantic ideal on the blind. I wanted to see them as those who would admonish the public’s vanity."
Karin Veraart interviewed Verhoeven days before the Dutch premiere of Dark room. 'Blind zien' ('Seeing blind'), Karin Veraart for De Volkskrant (18-05-2012)read the article (in Dutch)
direction Dries Verhoeven
dramaturgy Koen Tachelet (2011), Nienke Scholts (2012)
with contributions by Tim Etchells
technicians Münchner Kammerspiele, Roel Evenhuis, Karl Klomp and Peter Zwart
light Jürgen Kolb
sound design Johann Jürgen Koch
photography Julian Röder, Kris Dewitte
video Thorsten Alofs
actors Saïd Gharbi, Leslie Mader, Livia Buoni, Charlotte Glorie (2012), Adam Hachana (2012), Gerlinde Sämann (2011), Bernard Claus (2011), Manuela Schemm (2011)
co-commissioned by SPRING Festival Utrecht, Münchner Kammerspiele, Festival a/d Werf and Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam