Works

The NarcoSexuals

In The NarcoSexuals Dries Verhoeven portrays a group of men who lose themselves in sexual drug use. Visitors can walk around the replica single-family home, and peek through the windows at the depiction of a chemsex party.

In one sense, the work questions our relationship to subversion and brazen sexual gratification in an increasingly sanitised public domain. Yet the performance also shows men in their faltering search for vulnerability and companionship. Are they the vanguard of a new liberation movement? Forty years after gay liberation, are we entering a ‘narco-sexual revolution’? Or have we ditched our sexual ideals and left the revolution lying comatose on the couch?

The work is a marathon that lasts until midnight. Visitors buy a ticket for a given showtime but can stay as long as they like. We advise everyone to (also) see the work after dark. You can use the same ticket to revisit later in the evening.

 

 

In The NarcoSexuals Dries Verhoeven portrays a group of men who lose themselves in sexual drug use. Visitors can walk around the replica single-family home, and peek through the windows at the depiction of a chemsex party.

In one sense, the work questions our relationship to subversion and brazen sexual gratification in an increasingly sanitised public domain. Yet the performance also shows men in their faltering search for vulnerability and companionship. Are they the vanguard of a new liberation movement? Forty years after gay liberation, are we entering a ‘narco-sexual revolution’? Or have we ditched our sexual ideals and left the revolution lying comatose on the couch?

The work is a marathon that lasts until midnight. Visitors buy a ticket for a given showtime but can stay as long as they like. We advise everyone to (also) see the work after dark. You can use the same ticket to revisit later in the evening.

 

 

Video

Trailer The NarcoSexuals

Full registration The NarcoSexuals. Send a request to dirk@driesverhoeven.com to receive the password.

Press

I’ve often felt that something deeper was missing behind the “love is love” rhetoric... homophobia is not rooted in who we love – it's often about how we fuck.

“Reclaiming desire” at Damn Magazine by Colin KeaysbyRead the artikel here

As concentrated and penetrating as the gaze may be, so free is the audience's range of movement.

Rojda Karakuş at Rekto:VersoRead the essay here (in Dutch)

I become painfully aware of my former moral superiority, back when I believed I was completely unbiased. (...) Is my ostentatiously serious, supposedly 'self-aware' way of looking really open-minded?

Dagmar Teurelincx at Rekto:VersoRead the essay here (in Dutch)

Verhoeven shows the humanity and desire behind the extremes, and succeeds in being confrontational and poignant, without being overly explicit.

Simon Baetens in Etcetera (24 April 2023)Read the review here (in Dutch)

Dries Verhoeven's work is always an exercise in plural thinking (...) And if there is one thing neoliberalism won't tolerate, it is plurality: identities that cannot be catalogued, controlled and thus marketed. Watching The NarcoSexuals is watching a form of freedom that has nothing to do with individual hedonism, but everything to do with a resistance to collective self-discipline.

Evelyne Coussens in De Morgen (April 21, 2023)Read the review (in Dutch)

As a spectator, you are a voyeur, witnessing this incredible orgy of horniness, intimacy and loneliness. (...) As far as we are concerned, the best theatre production of the year.

Filip Tielens in De Standaard (April 19, 2023)Read the review (in Dutch)

Verhoeven masterfully translates a sexual indulgence that normally takes place behind closed doors, into the public realm and makes it relatable. Without moral judgement, but with questions about its necessity.

Marijn v/d Jagt in De Groene (28 Sept 2022)Lees hier de recensie

Dries Verhoeven weaves an ingenious ambiguity into his performance The NarcoSexuals. The installation confronts you, non-stop, with your own prejudices […] A ceaseless ebb and flow of beauty and melancholy.

Herien Wensink in de Volkskrant (16 May 2022)Read the review (in Dutch)

The NarcoSexuals is at the same time liberating and uncomfortable in the way it makes taboos transparent.

Sander Janssens in NRC (14 May 2022)Read the article (in Dutch)

The new installation by Dries Verhoeven looks more theatrical and dramatic than I am used to in his work. Swaying between a peepshow and the re-enactment of Grindr sex date, a wonderful game of looking inside and out arises.

Fransien van der Putt in Theaterkrant (13 May 2022)Read the review (in Dutch)

After all, we are dealing with a very refined and intelligent, perhaps even perfidious or somewhat hellish attempt, in which what we watch, this peculiar reenactment of a sex party, is neither apologeticized nor condemned.

Piotr Gruszczyński op dwutygodnik.comRead the review (in Polish)

Verhoeven wants to start a public conversation with The NarcoSexuals about the meaning of chemsex, sex under the influence of drugs, a phenomenon that is especially popular among gay men. But his intentions are broader: he also wants to talk about the relationship between lust and intimacy, and about the fact that where the gay movement used to want to be visible, the chemsex scene flourishes mainly in secret.

Hein Janssen (de Volkskrant) visited Dries Verhoeven in the Studio in Almere and interviewed him during the preparations for The NarcoSexuals (12 May 2022)Read the interview (in Dutch)

The NarcoSexuals strips bare the darkest layers of our society. We are granted a momentary glimpse beneath the sanitised surface, beyond the world where we’re presumed to be health-aware, sane, high achievers. This production takes us far deeper, into a realm of nagging unease, where wired bodies chase happiness, wavering between madness and meaning.

An interview by Jowi Schmitz (Trouw) with Dries Verhoeven during the rehearsals of The NarcoSexuals (12 May 2022)Read the interview (in Dutch)

Verhoeven saw chemsex take off during corona. "The many restrictions had a different effect on families than on single gay men who already have a history of restrictions." There are no restrictions in the reconstructed (performance) house.

Lorianne van Gelder (Het Parool) interviewed Dries Verhoeven during the making process of The NarcoSexuals (10 May 2022)Read the interview (in Dutch)

"The NarcoSexuals is een vivisectie op de onderbuik van deze tijd. We kijken even onder de gladde oppervlakte, voorbij de wereld waarin we allemaal gezonde, goed presterende, verstandige mensen moeten zijn. Het gaat dieper, naar dat gebied van groeiend ongemak, waar een gedrogeerd lichaam naar het geluk zoekt, balancerend tussen waanzin en waarde.”

Een interview door Jowi Schmitz (Trouw) met Dries Verhoeven tijdens de repetities van The NarcoSexuals (12 mei 2022)Lees hier het interview

Verhoeven zag chemsex tijdens corona een vlucht nemen. “De vele restricties hadden een ander effect op gezinnen dan op single homomannen die al een geschiedenis van restricties achter zich hebben.” In de nagebouwde sociale huurwoning zijn geen restricties.

Lorianne van Gelder (Het Parool) interviewde Dries Verhoeven tijdens het maakproces van The NarcoSexuals (10 mei 2022)Lees hier het interview

nomination & selection

The NarcoSexuals was selected for Het Theaterfestival in Belgium and was nominated for the VSCD Mime/Performance Prijs Season 2022/2023 in the Netherlands.

“No other performance last season impressed the jury more physically, thanks in part to its intelligent play between looking and being looked at. What we perhaps appreciate even more about this permeating installation is its fusion of different art domains to create new frames of meaning.” Jury Het Theaterfestival 2023

“Verhoeven succeeds in making the perilous desire for the ecstasy of drug-laden sex palpable for a broader audience.” Jury VSCD Mime/Performance Prijs

Credits

concept: Dries Verhoeven
performance: Bráulio Bandeira, Matteo Bifulco, Tamar Blom, Vincent Clavaguera, Wojciech Grudziński, Estefano Romani, Barnaby Savage
understudies: Mher Brutyan, Victor Mendes
movement material developed in collaboration with the performers
sound design: Thijs van Vuure
dramaturgy: Hellan Godee & Miguel Melgares
assistance: Marte Boneschansker
internship text/direction: Hendrik de Pecker
technique: Roel Evenhuis, Peer Thielen
set dresser: Eveline Didderen
production: ‘n More – Ellen van Bunnik, Lise van den Hout, Thijs de Bruijn, Jitske Weijand
internship production: Maaike Postma
extras Utrecht: Oliver Wagstaff, Lisanne Pol, Rafael Matt, Sasa Hara, Marie Clavaguera, August Geerlings, Jannes van Arkel, Marvin Staal, Gwen de Visser, Marco Franssen
extras Den Bosch: Monique van den Boomen, Tom Seebregts, Liesbeth Verstegen, Marina Kopier, Suzanne Schoenmakers, Anita Witteveen, Nancy Frederiks, Oliver Wagstaff
Brussels edition: in co-presentation with KANAL – Centre Pompidou, Charleroi danse and Les Halles de SchaerbeekWith the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy and of the Performing Arts Fund NL
a production by: Studio Dries Verhoeven