Country Belgium

Discipline Theater

Audience Youth | Adults

Recomended for +12

Duration 60 minutes

Language French, with Spanish subtitles

Dates January 15, 16 and 17, 20.00h

Brought to the stage with exuberance by Vincent Hennebicq, 'Going Home' is an hour of a diamond in the rough. Dorcy Rugamba’s explosive performance is the main fuel for a story that is both dark and sparkling, tough and moving

Le Soir

This is the story of a man from nowhere. Michalak was born in Ethiopia but was adopted by an Austrian family as a baby. He had a chaotic upbringing in Salzburg and, after making a few bad decisions and falling in a bad crowd, he ends up robbing a bank. His life has its ups and downs — he escapes Austria, a country that’s not his; he goes to Ethiopia to find his roots; he’s sent back to Europe. Beyond the facts he narrates, Going Home is, as its name suggests, about the search for home, about the arbitrariness of borders, nationalities and laws and about how the West sometimes seems more of a dystopia that a utopia. In a production where live music is a character in itself, Michalak becomes the face of the ‘other’ type of immigration and of the back-to-front journey made by those who want to find out about their roots. With a video with images of Ethiopia in the background and accompanied by two live musicians, Rwandan actor Dorcy Rugamba tells, with touching intensity, the story of a man who holds on to his pain and his dreams more than on to a flag.

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Direction

Vincent Hennebicq

(Belgium)

Vincent Hennebicq is an actor, playwright and director who graduated from the Liège Conservatory, one of the most prestigious theatrical training centers in Europe. He’s considered one of the most talented young people in contemporary Belgian theater. As a writer and director, he has brought stories about men in search of freedom and meaning to the stage, with live music playing a crucial role in, for example, Heroes (Just For One Day), Going Home and Wilderness, all created for the Wallonie-Bruxelles National Theater. His last work, L'Attentat -also for the same venue- was premiered in October 2018. As an actor, he has worked with important creators in his country and has performed at prestigious venues such as the Festival d’Avignon.

Performer

Dorcy Rugamba

(Rwanda, 1969)

Dorcy Rugamba is an actor, writer and theater director who went into exile in Europe after the genocide in his country, in which he lost his parents and six of his siblings. He studied theater at the Liège Conservatory and co-wrote the award-winning play Rwanda 94 in 1999, a six-hour piece about the Rwandan massacre, premiered at the Festival d’Avignon and which toured the world to great critical and audience acclaim. In 2001, he founded a group to encourage the performing arts in Rwanda. As an actor, he has worked with important directors and playwrights, such as Peter Brook and Peter Weiss.

Written and directed by Vincent Hennebicq | Cast Dorcy Rugamba (Michalak), Vincent Cahay (on drums and piano), Francois Sauveur (guitar and cello) | Set and lighting Fabrice Murgia & Giacinto Caponio | Original score Vincent Cahay & François Sauveur | Video Olivier Boonjing | Costumes Emilie Jonet | Scene coordinator Romain Gueudré | Sound operator Brice Tellier | Lighting operator Jody De Neef | Stagehand Lucas Hamblenne | Produced by the Wallonie-Bruxelles National Theater | Co-produced by the Festival de Liège and KVS | With the support of Chaufferie Acte-1

  • This Belgian play had a big impact on European critics and audiences alike, particularly because of Dorcy Rugamba’s intense performance and its humane way of representing those who have been uprooted. Immigration is a particularly relevant issue, but one that has hardly been looked at from the perspective Hennebicq adopts: Michalak, an African adopted by Europeans, is a symbol of defective integration policies. It’s a brutal vision that dismantles the idea of the West as a paradise.

  • Vincent Hennebicq is considered one of the most talented Belgian directors and playwrights of his generation. His visuals, with important support from audio creations played live, have become one of his hallmarks and his plays normally deal with contingent issues. In El atentado, he adapted the novel of the same name by Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra in order to talk about the drama in the lives of the survivors of a terrorist attack.

  • What happens to Michalak is based on a true story : the character is based on a case that Hennebicq got to know at a trial he attended when he was prepping for the play Tribuna(a)l by Jos Verbist and Raven Ruëll.

  • The play is a critique of Europe, a continent that still finds it difficult to accept the consequences of colonization and to integrate the foreigners who arrive on their shores. Rugamba believes theater can help with this. “Art can be successful where war, politics and business have failed, allowing cultures and civilizations to interact”, he has said.
  • Belgian theater. Belgium is a country with six million inhabitants and an important cutting-edge theater output, explained by a lack of a classical repertoire and by huge institutional support for the discipline. This year, the El País newspaper called it “the avant-garde mecca” and highlighted it as “one of the great motors of contemporary European theater”, thanks to names such as Jan Fabre, Miet Warlop, Guy Cassiers, Alain Platel, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Fabrice Murgia and Jan Lauwers.

  • Documentary theater. This concept goes back to the second half of the twentieth century, when there was an interest in bringing political and historical themes to the stage, thus blurring the lines between fiction and reality. This kind of theater not only uses documents but also collects testimonies, presenting not only the facts themselves but also a more intimate, touching and personal side to the story.

«Back-to-front migration, based on a true story, told with brute force and without embellishing the testimony, backed up by live music and magnificent video images of Ethiopia today»

Télérama

«'Going Home' is the story of a back-to-front utopia, of a guy who no longer knows where he’s coming from. He doesn’t really have a nationality: he’s been cruelly pushed around by different systems. He’s a man and that’s it»

La Libre

«(The musicians) ignite Michalak’s struggle against destiny and flatter the video images of a beautiful, lyrical Ethiopia, far from the usual miserable Western depiction of it»

Le Soir

Brought to the stage with exuberance by Vincent Hennebicq, 'Going Home' is an hour of a diamond in the rough. Dorcy Rugamba’s explosive performance is the main fuel for a story that is both dark and sparkling, tough and moving

Le Soir

«Back-to-front migration, based on a true story, told with brute force and without embellishing the testimony, backed up by live music and magnificent video images of Ethiopia today»

Télérama

«'Going Home' is the story of a back-to-front utopia, of a guy who no longer knows where he’s coming from. He doesn’t really have a nationality: he’s been cruelly pushed around by different systems. He’s a man and that’s it»

La Libre

«(The musicians) ignite Michalak’s struggle against destiny and flatter the video images of a beautiful, lyrical Ethiopia, far from the usual miserable Western depiction of it»

Le Soir