Works

Phobiarama

A theatrical ghost train erected in the middle of the street, questions the presence of angst-fuelling rhetoric in politics. Taking their seat in a bumper car, visitors are whirled away on a tour of today’s media landscape. They experience their own fascination with negativity, and the impact this has on our world. The spaces boom with the words of politicians. The more sensational the warnings, the faster the attraction speeds, and performers start appearing. The demons are brought to life.

A theatrical ghost train erected in the middle of the street, questions the presence of angst-fuelling rhetoric in politics. Taking their seat in a bumper car, visitors are whirled away on a tour of today’s media landscape. They experience their own fascination with negativity, and the impact this has on our world. The spaces boom with the words of politicians. The more sensational the warnings, the faster the attraction speeds, and performers start appearing. The demons are brought to life.

Video

registration Phobiarama (with English subtitles)

trailer Phobiarama

Press

"Phobiarama creates an affective relationship: the audience is on the alert, susceptible to sensory impressions. Immersive theatre demands courage and empathy and triggers panic, fright, withdrawal and an increased heart rate. (…) when stimulated to reflect on their individual experience in this unique situation, the audience is engaged in ‘self-observation’ and, at the same time, immersed in the context".

'In the heart of darkness'. Erik Exe Christoffersen for Peripeti.dk (02-09-2018).read the review (in Danish)read the translated review (in English)

"Phobiarama is a confronting work that delivers food for thought, much more than just the surprise effect of the haunted house. It dives into our present day culture of fear that stands on the shoulders of the political discourse. But also the culture of fear we present to ourselves and each other."

'Frygten er i det, vi forventer at møde i det ukendte'. Denni Ian for Kultumagasinet Fine Spind (03-09-2018).read the review (in Danish)

"It is impossible not to feel discomfort. And that is exactly the point, to create a level of uncertainty. To confront us with our fear and the images we create about the people we think will hurt us."

'Festugens spøgelseshus er kun for de modige: - Nogle skriger og græder'. Lene Grønborg Poulsen for Aarhus Stiftstidende (26-08-2018).read the review (in Danish)

"Dries Verhoeven is a visual artist who has updated a 20th Century fairground ride into a paranoid, threatening 21st Century journey through political and popular culture."

'Phobiarama, LIFT 2018, West Handyside Canopy, Kings Cross, London'. Nick Lambert for Reviewdonkey (09-06-2018).read the review (in English)

"Phobiarama shows how events are stage-managed – it reveals and deconstructs. The stereotypical interpretations in Verhoeven’s haunted house are designed that way, to hammer home the absurdity of our socially accepted fears. (…) Social mechanisms and a culture of anxiety work in precisely the same way as theatre: through medial production."

'Phobiarama: Von einem, der auszog das Fürchten zu lehren'. Wera Hippesroither for PW Magazine (15-05-2018).read the review (in German)

"Phobiarama is exactly the kind of work that thrives in a festival context. It speaks directly to how we live now."

'Making a new future at the Holland Festival'. Lyn Gardner wrote about Phobiarama in a series of articles on 'Culture after Brexit' for the British Council (11-08-2017).read the article

"With smart sensationalism, Dries Verhoeven makes a bold performance: this is a perfect theatre of fear … He makes it perfectly clear that those warning of climate disasters serve the same apocalyptic language as those fearing a refugee tsunami. (…) Perfectly scary entertainment with a gloriously successful message."

'Perfectly scary entertainment with a gloriously successful message', Herien Wensink wrote a review for De Volkskrant (16-06-2017).read the article (in Dutch)

"With fairly simple resources, Verhoeven gets you to reflect on an uncomfortable truth: real fears also satisfy a need …But, and that is the wonderful sting in the tail of this installation, the fairground of fear is not innocent: it portrays our view on reality".

“All of a sudden, there’s a bear standing next to you’, Simon van den Berg wrote a review for Het Parool (14-06-2017).read the article (in Dutch)

"Phobiarama debunks the mechanics of fear and power in our society in a gripping and unsubtle way.”

'Haunted house unmasks our fear”, Sara van der Kooi wrote a report for Trouw (14-06-2017).read the article (in Dutch)

"(...) I am not out to make a conclusive statement. The issues are far too complex for that. It is already quite something if the viewer understands the pit of their stomach".

'Together in the bumper cars, getting the creeps about how terribly scared of each other you are’, Hein Janssen interviewed Dries Verhoeven about Phobiarama for the Volkskrant (13-06-2017)read the article (in Dutch)

"In a theatrical haunted house, you slalom for three quarters of an hour through collective fears, to then look them in the eye with a sense of poetry".

'Haunted house confronts us with collective fears ‘, Boukje Cnossen wrote this review for Theaterkrant.nl (13-06-2017)read the article (in Dutch)

"We live in a time in which we are continually being warned".

For the VPRO programme ‘Nooit meer slapen’, Tjitske Mussche visited Phobiarama during the try-outs in Amsterdam. She talked to visitors and to Dries about the performance (12-06-2017).listen to the interview (in Dutch)

"I am picking at the pit of your stomach".

“Getting spooked out in Dries Verhoeven’s haunted house", Ron Rijghard interviewed Verhoeven for NRC (01-06-2017)read the article (in Dutch)

"Just as with the previous projects of Dries Verhoeven, whoever enters the specially designed space of ‘Phobiarama’ will not be able to remain a passive spectator. A “living experience” and at the same time a commentary on the modern “theatre of fear” we all watch and experience every day, this performative installation aims to provoke us, to scare us, to make us think and finally to make us face our own self."

“Black box in syntagma square”, Christina Sanoudou in Kathimerini, p.15 (09-05-2017).read the article (in Greek)

"The setting reminds of those ghost trains at the amusement parks, where ghosts and spiders pop in your way, dragons and monsters attack you. The difference in ‘Phobiarama’ is that they have been replaced by terrorism, Brexit, nationalism and far-right, immigrants, and the consequences of leaving the Eurozone. […] The most important is what you reflect upon after getting off the bumper car and going out again in the sunlight. There you understand to what degree you got used to having the madness of Trump, the delirium of Erdogan, the paranoia of Anthimos, the nationalistic outbursts of Michaloliakos in your daily life, or even how easily self-evident rights such as the safety of citizens are being refuted in the European, as well as Greek reality; rights that are often put forward in the speeches of the Greek politicians, such as Kyriakos Mitsotakis who greets us farewell in ‘Phobiarama’…"

“The little train of fear of Brexit and Grexit”, The News, p.34 (09-05-2017).read the article (in Greek)

Credits

concept Dries Verhoeven

production Studio Dries Verhoeven

performance Michelangelo Hansen, Quincy Nelstein, Sohrab Bayat, Malcolm Hugo Glenn, Rodney Glunder, Rosario Roumou, Virginio Papa, Zouhair Mtazi, Tony Cakkie, Nabil Mallat, Rudolf Vooys & Andreas Koundourakis

dramaturgy Lara Staal

casting Renske Pluimers

local adaptation Athens Theodora Kapralou

sound design S.M. Snider

software Sylvain Vriens

costume Tentacle Studio

development technical system Nelissen decorbouw

video design (internship) Casper Wortmann

internship direction Carmen Schwarz

photography Willem Popelier

video Thorsten Alofs

video trailer Bowie Verschuuren

thanks to Demi vom Hexenzauber (Hella), Earl Daniel, Ozan Aydogan Sohrab Bayat & Quincy Nelstein

 

Phobiarama is co-commissioned by Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (GR) and Holland Festival (NL)

Phobiarama is made possible thanks to the Creative Industries Fund NL, The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, NORMA fonds and VSBfonds.