Divine Excess

Divine Excess was the maiden production of De Helling. The performance deals with religious and sensual intoxication and ecstasy. If the first is considered as the highest religious goal one could aim for, the last represents quite the opposite as perverted, depraved, devilish, lustful, though both forms have in common a close connection with death. Both piety and lust are based on devotion.

Divine Excess shows the confrontation of the two forms, starting as opposites, ending in an inextricable tangle. Musicallly, this can be recognized in three different musical styles:
- the pure, unison hymns of Hildegard von Bingen, full of devotion and spirituality
- the capricious demonic sounds of the extremely expressive harpsichord music of Forqueray
- a mechanical thumping obsessiveness of electronic music.

photo: Marco Borggreve

René Uijlenhoet, the composer combining all this adds his own electronic music, and therein also refers to early music and pop and House music.

Parallel to the music, the text of the performance consists of texts from three different directions
- De Sade, who glorifies evil and denies all endeavour that is not aimed at immediate and complete satisfaction of lust
- Texts from the bible show us evil, but offer a way out by choosing the right options
- The protagonists thoughts give us the third: doubts, cries of religious extasy, damnations, blasphemy and piety on the one hand, unlimited desires on the other.

A woman, visited by demons in the hour of her death. Angels, devils, people of her past whisper to her that she will either be damned for ever, or receive the everlasting mercy of salvation.
Was she good, or bad? Does she sacrifice or is she being sacrificed?
She dies, in the ens, in a musical and verbal pandemonium of contradictions.

The Press:

…“Divine Excess is the first production of De Helling of composer Klaas de Vries and his spouse Gerrie de Vries, the vocalist in this deeply probing solo.
A nun in her cell surrenders to religious and sensual ecstasy. She does so to a collage of music spanning nine centuries, starting with composer / abbess Hildegard von Bingen, adapted electronically by René Uijlenhoet. To copious texts e.g. of de Sade she wrestles with existential questions, finally dying as a little bird, flying between earth, heaven and hell.”
Kasper Jansen NRC 19 April 2005

Divine Excess was filmed as a television documentary by cinematographer Kees Hin, and was premiered at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht on 1-10-2005 with a repeat screening on 4-10-2005.
The film version is largely based on the live performance, but ought to be considered an independent work, as it shows, by means of its varying camera angles, vital differences from the original theatre version.

Kees Hin about his Divine Excess:

“In the stage version the soloist succeeds quite well in achieving a ‘state of death` by alternating between heavenly singing, cursing, and shocking movements. But as soon as you capture it with a camera it becomes almost eerily and dangerously real.”

Director: Kees Hin
Producer: René Mendel
Camera: Alex de Waal
Camera : Diego Gutierrez
Sound : Erik Langhout
Editor : Diego Gutierrez
Divine Excess is an Interact production

Texts by De Sade, Baudelaire, the Bible, Nag Hammadi, Catherine Millet
Mezzo Soprano: Gerrie de Vries
Technician: Bert Vermijs
Composer: René Uijlenhoet, Klaas de Vries
Director: Ad de Bont
Musical Dramaturgy: Gerrie de Vries, René Uijlenhoet, Klaas de Vries


Other productions:
Der Hund
Pa pa pa Woman woman woman (two stories)