Katie Cruel

LENZ / Frascati Producties
Tue 16 May ’23 - Wed 8 May ’24
A drone metal murder ballad.
Tue 16 May ’23
Wed 8 May ’24

“Well, when I first came to town,

They called me the roving jewel.

Now they’ve changed their tune,

Call me Katie Cruel.” 


Katie Cruel is a musical production by LENZ (Erasmus Mackenna, Marit Hooijschuur and Roel Pronk) inspired by the rich tradition of Scottish and Irish murder ballads. Making use of both drone metal music and Scottish folk, in Katie Cruel LENZ create a rough, lonely, tender portrait of a young woman scarred by inter-generational trauma, searching for hope and prepared to go to any lengths to find it.

Katie (Marit Hooijschuur), a young metal musician without the right documents, has recently arrived in the city, where all her efforts are focused on survival. Having fled the extremely conservative rural community where she grew up, the traumas of her childhood continue to haunt her. One night, after performing on stage, an older man (Gerardjan Rijnders) approaches Katie on the street. Their wondrous encounter, the night that follows and his eventual attempts to save her expose the gulfs that exist between genders, classes and generations. Ultimately, Katie realizes that extreme actions are the only way out within world as hopeless as ours. 

Following on from Sheath and Knife (Schede en Mes), Katie Cruel is the second instalment of LENZ’s ‘murder ballad trilogy’ with Frascati Producties: a triptych of productions investigating the complex triangle of victim, perpetrator and onlooker. Each of the shows is different in terms of time, place and musical influences, and each can be experienced individually.

Murder ballad playlist by LENZ

"A murder ballad is, simply put and in its broadest sense, a song in which someone is intentionally killed. They exist typically in traditional music but at this point they appear in almost all musical genres. Here’s a selection of our favourites. Multiple of these were big sources of inspiration while developing Katie Cruel. Enjoy." 


  • Run time: 75 min
  • Spoken language: Dutch
    7 & 8 May with English and Dutch surtitles
  • Attention: the performance contains loud music. Ear plugs will be present.
  • Tue 7th of May 2024 part of the We Are Public programme

concept & creation LENZ performance & live music Gerardjan Rijnders, Marit Hooijschuur and Erasmus Mackenna direction, scenography & lighting design Erasmus Mackenna text & dramaturgy Roel Pronk costume design Julia Diepstraten guitar amplification system design Tos Nieuwenhuizen (SunnO))), Motorpsycho) technical production & operation Attila Nemeth campagin image Eva Roefs with thanks to Maatschappij Discordia

About LENZ

LENZ is the interdisciplinary theatre cooperative made up of actor and writer Marit Hooijschuur (she/her), director and designer Erasmus Mackenna (they/them) and writer and dramaturge Roel Pronk (he/him). The company has been affiliated to Frascati Producties since 2021. The trio previously made Sheath and Knife (Schede en Mes, 2021) and LENZ (2022) with Frascati Producties. Powered a strong sense of social urgency, LENZ present small-scale human stories that expose the nihilistic impasse of our times.

Drenched in idealistic hope, inspired by the underground and dedicated to the stories of outsiders in society, LENZ’s work operates at the intersections of theatre, live music, sociology and performance. In their work, LENZ give shape to alternative futures through radical empathy.

LENZ in the press

"This production embraces the dark in an exceptional, beautiful way: through its content, visuals and musicality." Theaterkrant (Critic's Choice) on Sheath and Knife (Schede en Mes)