Theatre Installation Swart Gat/ G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ (Dunguu olo – katibo-ten):
Plein Theater, Amsterdam East, 1 July – 31 July 2020
The archives of Theatre Embassy are housed in Plein Theater, a theatre on the Sajetplein in Amsterdam East with a contemporary program and an international orientation. In the summer of 2020, Plein Theater was going to perform a theatre project at the Keti Koti Festival 2020 in the Oosterpark about the history of Amsterdam (East) and the Amsterdam slavery past, with the Surinamese theatre- and filmmaker Tolin Erwin Alexander as Artist in Resident.
However, the Corona measures caught up to the plans; Plein Theater’s Artist in Resident couldn’t travel to the Netherlands from Ecuador and the Keti Koti Festival, where the abolition of slavery is commemorated and celebrated annually with a large community, unfortunately couldn’t take place.
As a cultural theatre in Amsterdam East, a district with a direct connection to the Surinamese Colonial past, Plein Theater considers the commemoration and celebration of the Keti Koti in the district to be very important, also in times of Covid-19. That is why we have thought about an installation that can be realized and experienced within the measures: On Wednesday 1 July 2020 we opened Swart Gat /
Swart Gat/ G̶o̶l̶d̶e̶n̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶ (Dunguu olo – katibo-ten) is a theatrical installation about an unknown part of Dutch culture and history, that of the Maroons, in the form of a corona-proof labyrinth in the PLEIN THEATER.
Maroons are descendants of Africans who were forcibly brought to Suriname by slave traders, who liberated and settled in the Amazon. The theatrical installation shows wisdom from the Maroon perspective and their vision of freedom, medicinal plants and dealing with death, in relation to the present-day.
The theatrical installation opened at Plein Theater on Wednesday, July 1, Keti Koti 2020, when the abolition of slavery is celebrated and the slavery past commemorated , and could be visited individually throughout the month of July at pre-booked time slots.
About the makers
Tolin Erwin Alexander, originally Maroon from Suriname, is a theatre and film-maker (IDFA Documentary Stones Have Laws 2018 and Praise on Freedom 2018). His work is characterized by making the culture of the Maroons in Suriname and beyond visible through theatre and documentaries. Tolin Erwin Alexander was invited by Plein Theater as Artist in Resident to work in Amsterdam on the installation in collaboration, but worked due to the corona conditions as ‘Artist in Quarantaine’ from Ecuador on the content of the installation.
The project was an initiative of theatre maker, naturopath, director of Plein Theater and Theatre Embassy Berith Danse, who has made several theatre exhibitions based on research into Dutch Slavery history. From 2001 Berith Danse already conducted an in-depth investigation into the Dutch Slavery past in Suriname, Ghana, Senegal, Amsterdam and Zeeland and the cultural sources that refer to the true story.
Concept and makers: Tolin Erwin Alexander and Berith Danse
Design and concept: Bartel Meyburg
Video design: Ramon Coelho
Actors on video: Ruth Alexander Sotong, Giovanni Smit
Voice over: Tolin Erwin Alexander
Talking Trees installation: Bert Barten
Props: Monique Koster and Richard Neef
Film fragments: Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan and Dwight Sergio Samson
Technique: Petyr Veenstra and Gert Scheper
Show control: Jeffrey Steenbergen
Image and graphic design: Studio Matusiak
PR and Communication: Elise Vroonhof
In collaboration with: Association Our Suriname
Production: Plein Theater
With thanks to: Fonds voor Oost, Mondriaan Fonds, Dutch Culture, the Dutch Embassy in Suriname, VSB-fonds and Fonds Cultuurparticipatie. Plein Theater is supported by Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsdeel Oost.