Jakop Ahlbom - Le Bal
I went to watch the try out of Le Bal in Amsterdam a couple of months ago already, but the memory of watching a good, well made theatre production is still on my mind. The Meervaart Theatre is located in a not so familiar area for tourists in Amsterdam, it is surrounded by a modern architecture and renewed streets in front of a beautiful lake. It has easy access by public transport but it is not a simple walk from the central station, however the trip was certainly worth it.
While I would wait for the performance, I was happily surprised by the presence of Jakop Ahlbom that sat to talk with me about his work and why we should promote Le Bal to international audiences. When I heard Jakop Ahlbom was creating Le Bal I immediately got excited about it because of the homonymous movie by Ettore Scola. The movie from 1983 presents a narrative without dialogues over five decades in a ballroom. Talk without language is exactly what Ahlbom is interested in. His version of Le Bal takes a step further and inspired by the movie evolves into the geniality of a musical theatre production beyond entertainment, touching upon human relations that reveal different layers of society over a 100 years!
The play can be seen as a big stage production with a big scenario, live music, costume changes, illusionism and so on, but of course, in a hundred years of history there is a lot to be told and remembered. The reasons why I chose this play was not only because this is an English spoken production but exactly because being a play with its roots in physical theatre, all the meanings, relations and storytelling are perfectly understandable by impeccable acting skills that allows the audience to fall into the imaginary beyond the scenes and travel through history.
Jakop Ahlbom is originally from Sweden and he moved to the Netherlands in the 90’s to study mime at the Amsterdam School of Arts. Noticed by his talent and geniality, years later he started his own company developing further his own aesthetics, methodology and language. Ahlbom is known by his way of making theatre which is reflected on stage with physical acting and meaningful relations between the actors that
use text as language only when necessary. Everything on the stage is important and in balance: acting, music, scenography. It is curious to note that Ahlbom almost never uses spoken language in his productions and when it happens it is in English, assuring the
universality of his work.
Travel through space
At Le Bal, Ahlbom is faithful to time to allow us to travel through space. Music, dance and fashion evolution pass through our eyes and as if inside a time machine, we can visit World Wars, Belle Epoque, rock’n roll, hippie movements and so on until the rise of internet and technology and how all of these historical changes affect our daily life and social relations. Watching Le Bal is like being a spectator of human evolution in the last century, following the misery, glory, victories and losses until the moment it is possible to recognise yourself on stage.
Le Bal is a play for all types of audience, for those who love music, dance, comedy, drama, from couples to groups of friends that are looking for something other than their usual evenings. After months of work, Le Bal comes to the stage in collaboration with band Alamo Race Track that performs live on stage as performers-musicians. Jakop Ahlbom Company have been performing with Le Bal around the country since March and they finally arrive in Eindhoven at Parktheater June 13th.
Jakop Ahlbom - Le Bal
June, Thursday 13th, 2019 - 8:00 PM