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The Great Warmachine

February 2015


The Great Warmachine


Three performers are giving an absurd one-hour crash course envisioning the future of warfare, while engaging the audience physically and slowly turning the

theatre into a theatre of war.

The Great Warmachine is challenging the ways we conceive of war and violence in relation to technology and economy.


The Great Warmachine has toured extensively in The Netherlands and Belgium since it premiered on

March 4. 2015 in Theater Frascati, Amsterdam.

The performance has been received positively by critics and online media (one of the ten best performances of last season, best text of last season) and has been

selected by the jury of the Theaterfestival (Belgium). The Theaterfestival forms the kick-off of the new season and presents the best performances of the previous one.



AITANA: I mean the next few wars – and really probably we are right in the middle of one – …

LOUIS: …yea…

AITANA: …the next wars are really not going to be fought with armies and soldiers.

TASHI: Oh no.

AITANA: I mean, that is really a nostalgic idea… the concept that we have nowadays of the soldier.

LOUIS: Oh that's quite hopeless.

AITANA: What we need now is an expanded notion of what a combatant can be… like, already if you

look at urban warfare today… I mean, civilians become combatants and combatants can become civilians

in no time. Identity can be changed as quickly as gender can be feigned, to the extent that it doesn't make

much sense to hold on to these kinds of distinctions between soldier and civilian. It's like asking: What

kind of colour does a chameleon have? Which doesn't make much sense, right?

TASHI: Wow, that's really well formulated. That's really some insightful poetry going on right here...

AITANA: Well, I really love poetry.

(Fragment from scene 1: “Out of the box”)


The theatre of The Great Warmachine seems to function as futuristic think tank; a playful, fashionable, sportive, relaxing and nourishing environment, created to optimize the thinking that needs to be done.

The audience is invited to sit down on beanbags on stage or in the audience seats, where they can watch the stream of video's on the five screens and share a 'green' coke, whilst listening to the three friendly smiling, yet ambiguous figures that engage each other and their listeners in a future vision of war.

Surfing on the current international discourse on technology, economy, society and culture, the performers bombard their

audience on a trustworthy (conference-talk inspired) tone with (ethically) debatable beliefs that they easily

exchange for improved ideas; a theatre of progress rhetoric, completely saturated with war-motives.

Both attractive and repulsive.

As the performance continues, the temperature raises, the ideas start to spin and the audience gets more

physically involved, petted, caressed, pulled across the stage. Steadily, the performers colonize the space

and the minds of the spectators.

The music is directed and mixed live from one of the beanbags on a tablet. Inviting and familiar in the beginning and tripping trance-like techno towards the end, it offers a

constantly compelling, now and then shifting rhythm and sound, that sometimes aggressively disrupts the talking.

The lighting enhances this cool and sensational atmosphere, sometimes shutting down, or becoming just too bright.

The theatre; its words, sounds, lightning, set, physicality, becomes a discomforting theatre of war that the audience is inescapably drawn into.

In this way, The Great Warmachine demonstrates our reality as a vivid battleground.


Text and Director

Joachim Robbrecht

in colaboration and performed by

Louis van den Waal, Tashi Iwaoka and Aitana Cordero


Nina Aalders


Bruno Listopad


Jan Brokof


S.M. Snider

Light Design

André Goos


Rebekka Wörmann


Lique van Gerven

Zakelijke leiding

Denise Harleman


Christel van Schagen


Aram Visser en Hamza Ghzili

Produced and supported by

Gemeente Rotterdam, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds 21, Stichting Ammodo, Fonds Podiumkunsten, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and het van Lange fonds.

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