After the study of Willem Frederik Hermans' oeuvre that resulted in Gruis/aan de twijfel (after ‘uit talloos veel miljoenen’), Werktoneel is creating a new performance at NTGent in which Don Delillo's work takes centre stage.

Img 2112 Druk C Michiel Devijver


Jesse Vandamme / Werktoneel


After the play Gruis/aan de twijfel, based on the work of Willem Frederik Hermans and more specifically the novel Uit talloos veel miljoenen, the young and prodigiously talented theatre collective Werktoneel is plunging into the oeuvre of the American author Don DeLillo for their next production. DeLillo is considered one of the four great American novelists of his time. His prose explores developments in Western society from the end of the 20th century until the present day. His work sets the weight of the world against the beauty and humanity of the everyday in an attempt to influence ‘the inner life of the culture’. In particular, DeLillo’s novels encourage us to reflect on how we experience language, time and space.

The new production by Werktoneel will focus on the 2016 novel Zero K, DeLillo’s ‘Book of the Dead’ in which he recounts how several super-rich people try to conquer death with cryopreservation. Their bodies will be frozen and stored until the time when medicine is sufficiently advanced to reanimate them. The outcome of this experiment is uncertain, since the technology to resurrect them does not yet exist. They are, as it were, ‘at the foot of the bridge’.

In the novel, we follow these people from the perspective of a sceptical outsider, becoming aware of the perversity and improbability of the venture through this voice. The outsider has already lost loved ones and is trying to make sense of the finality of their deaths alongside the attempts of others to bypass that very death. Long passages in an isolated centre are alternated with lively descriptions of the city. Ultimately, Zero K is about the big concepts of ‘life’ and ‘death’ and how the two confront each other.

Werktoneel sees opportunities in DeLillo’s work to develop its own signature style, taking new steps in its search for ways to translate dark, complex material into an accessible language for the theatre that focuses on the actor and leaves plenty of space for humour, liveliness and the pleasure of acting.

Werktoneel feels a strong affinity with the perspective of inner experience from which DeLillo describes large-scale social phenomena. This is precisely the perspective that Werktoneel is always looking for in the stories it tells, whether they are about success and failure (Gruis/aan de twijfel), madness and fear (Solipsists), climate and capital (Giants), love and marriage (Scènes) or death and life (Aan de start van de brug).


Read Jesse Vandamme's bio here.

Read Louise Bergez' bio here.

Read Lucas Van der Vegt's bio here.

Read Lucie Plasschaert's bio here.

Read Joeri Happel's bio here.


Concept/script: Jesse Vandamme / Werktoneel
Actors: Louise Bergez, Lucas van der Vegt, Lucie Plasschaert, Joeri Happel
Director: Jesse Vandamme
Production: NTGent


❔ Are you interested in programming this performance? Please contact Sophie Vanden Broeck, sales manager at NTGent:
✉: sophie.vanden.broeck@ntgent.be
☎: +32 485 80 38 43

❔ If you didn't find the promotional material you were looking for on this page, please contact Benny D'haeseleer, communications officer at NTGent at benny.dhaeseleer@ntgent.be

❔ For technical questions, please contact patrick.martens@ntgent.be