Beginnings 2023: Double bill

Toni Blackwell / Catoo Lustig / Frascati Producties
Thu 21 Sep ’23 - Sat 23 Sep ’23
Thu 21 Sep ’23
Sat 23 Sep ’23

Toni Blackwell's: MEDUSA – Toni Blackwell / Frascati Producties

Toni Blackwell remodels the Medusa myth to tell a tragic story of injustice, innocence and identity. In many versions of the myth, as a girl Medusa is raped by Poseidon. Athena, Poseidon’s sister, punishes Medusa for being with her brother by giving her a monstrous head of snakes. From then on, Medusa’s gaze turns people to stone.  

In Toni Blackwell’s: MEDUSA, Toni Blackwell probes the extent to which her Medusa can free herself from what people see in her. She goes in search of who she is and who she could have become. To offer up an ode to the misunderstood survivor/s. 

Toni Blackwell (ATD 2021) & Nora El Koussour

Toni Blackwell graduated from the Theatre in Education programme in Amsterdam’s Academy for Theatre and Dance in 2021. Her work deals with social themes that have a personal impact on her, is provocative and educational.  She enters into a connection with her performers on the basis of her own experience, giving them the scope to create material in accordance with their own vision. 

Toni teaches in several places, creates performances, writes, directs and was assistant director on the celebrated play The Story of Travis. Toni won De Troffel, Festival Cement’s annual incentive award, for the concept for the production ‘Voor Sletten die zijn verkracht’.

Going forward, the focus of Toni’s activities is on writing and directing. The preliminary research for (her) Medusa is an example of this. In her work, Toni often records questions and opinions alongside one another, prompting the audience to enter into discussion (after the show). 

Nora El Koussour’s career began with a remarkable leap in 2016, when she played the lead role in the film Layla M. Her acting talent was quickly recognised, culminating in her winning a Golden Calf for Best Actress. In 2021, she acted for Frascati Producties in the impressive theatre production Emma Watson - The Play by Caro Derkx.

A play that was not only a powerful artistic performance, but also based in part on Nora's own experiences and that focuses attention on the challenges young actresses such as Nora and Emma Watson face when expressing themselves in relation to important social issues. This demonstrated not only Nora’s acting talent, but also her commitment to themes that impact her personally and interest her politically.

BEAUTYBOMB – Catoo Lustig / Frascati Producties

If you decide that this is the end, it opens up space. You can decide what you want to leave behind and how people will remember you. In BEAUTYBOMB, we meet the 'girl failure'. The woman who spends months in bed because she just can’t get to grips with the world. She wiles away her days in her princess’ room, wondering about life and the meaning of it all. In BEAUTYBOMB, she takes a decision and transforms her failure into a bloody success story. 

Based on an adaptation of Bombsong by Thea Dorn, BEAUTYBOMB is an investigation into nihilism and the emptiness you can feel in the midst of a full existence. 

Catoo Lustig (ATD 2023) & Damaris de Jong (ATD 2020)

Catoo Lustig (Voorschoten, 1999) graduated in Directing last June from the Academy of Theatre and Dance in Amsterdam. One of her graduation pieces was her disrupting, poignant version of BLACKBIRD, a play about child abuse that discusses the nuances of such situations. Accentuating nuances in essentially human situations is something Catoo likes to do: to reveal the complexity and multifaceted nature of things on the basis of compassion for people. She frequently takes as her starting point the question: what if everyone is ‘the norm’? 

Catoo was an intern with Ola Mafaalani and Adelheid Roosen (Female Economy), Belle van Heerikhuizen (Orkater) and Toneelschuur Producties. She gives workshops in directing, is a member of the auditions committee for the Directing programme at the Academy of Theatre and Dance and works as a co- or final director for other ambitious makers. 

Text plays a pivotal role in her work, often based around adaptations. This frequently takes the form of realistic drama, with music providing additional sensuality where words fall short. Less is more is Catoo’s trademark: few actors, truthful performances and minimal design.

For her Beginnings with Frascati Producties, Catoo asked actress and theatre-maker Damaris de Jong to join her. With more than eleven years of friendship to draw on, the two know one another inside out, and are united in particular by a feminist worldview.  

Damaris de Jong (Amsterdam, 1998) is an actress and theatre-maker. She graduated in 2020 from the Drama and Contemporary Music programme at Amsterdam’s Academy of Theatre and Dance.

Damaris is able to transform herself effortlessly for different roles, is playful, comedic and sensitive. Her own work is feminist, she is a member of the COLLECTIET musical theatre collective and works in film and television. You may know her from Follow de SOA on Videoland.

  • This is a double bill. The program will start at 20:00 in Frascati 4

Toni Blackwell's: MEDUSA
concept, direction & text Toni Blackwell performance Nora El Koussour mentoring Elike Roovers

concept, scenography, text & direction Catoo Lustig concept, text & performance Damaris de Jong text Thea Dorn (original title: Bombsong (2001) text translation: Tom Kleijn) with thanks to Antigone, Basje Boer, Billie Eilish, Isabel Allende, Lars von Trier, Lilly Rose Depp, Maisie Hill, Muriël van der Ploeg, Otessa Moshfegh, Sofia Coppola, Sylvia Geersen and Tracey Emin.