Pa pa pa Woman woman woman

Illustration: Compagnie Paul Verrept


Two singers, a Mezzo Soprano and a Baritone, and three virtuoso musicians on recorder, percussion and cymbalom, tell a laughable tale from a female as well as male perspective.

During the performance the singers from time to time assume the most divergent roles. They do this with the use of one sole gesture and quick, sometimes caricatural, changes of styles of singing, all the while trying to outdo each other. Scenery and props are kept to a minimum. The instrumentalists are not only the steady seconds at this Singers’ Duel, they also have their own dramatic function. With their music they continually answer questions that the singer poses. They bark, growl, bleat, miaul, bray and talk, representing animals or people.

Two novelettes of the year 1986 by the Chinese author Han Shaogong form the basis of this performance.
In these stories Han Shaogong pits the destructive mentality of the masses against the individual. By specking his stories with tradition, myth, superstition and modern Western influence Shaogong wants to also represent the situation in today’s modern China.

Worldwide, because of its vast population and its explosively growing economy, China is seen as a test case for our common future regarding the environment, prosperity, power equilibrium and cultural subjugation or dominance.
With Shaogong, we want to evoke questions about the idea of the permanent growth and progress of mankind. Even computers and Internet may not be able to change our inherent nature. Because we are trying to deny our animal origin and nature by considering rituals and myths to be obsolete and not worthy of being part of our modern rationale, we are disregarding our roots and are perhaps in a not-so-rational way playing with fire.

Pa pa pa Woman woman woman
Roosterhead Village has fallen into decay and is heading for total annihilation. A sudden shortage of rice requires a human sacrifice to the God of Rice. The deformed and defenceless man Misfit is chosen. But because of fear they postpone his death. Suddenly there seems to be a connection between strange happenings and Misfit’s behaviour...


music & libretto: Klaas de Vries

text: Han Shaogong; translation: Mark Leenhouts

stage director: Ad de Bont & Oscar Siegelaar
with Wiebe-Pier Cnossen (bariton), Gerrie de Vries (mezzo-soprano), Jorge Isaac (recorder), Tatiana Koleva (percussion), Michiel Weidner (cymbalom)

Other productions:
Der Hund
Divine Excess