Do you remember the young Vandekeybus as the emperor in 'De macht der theaterlijke dwaasheden'? Armed with sceptre and crown, and naked, and unmasking the ultimate masquerade. In this 1984 work for fourteen performers and an opera singer, Jan Fabre addresses the power of theatrical illusion. He does this by also confessing his love for artistic tradition. His early admiration for Wagner is therefore reflected in an extremely long and painful scene in which an actress is physically denied access to the stage. Only when she can respond to the repetition of the mysterious '1876?' (date of the premiere of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen') is she allowed to return to the stage.
Moreover, the works of great masters such as Michelangelo, Ingres, David and Fragonard are projected onto the backdrop. This remarkable, eclectic composition in which attitude, grandiloquence and mannerism have the upper hand, contrasts starkly with the intense action on stage. Here the heroes and princesses are reduced to a raging machine of perspiring bodies that are almost crumbling under this physical violence. And didn't we all want to believe in frogs that change into princes?