Before the Black Box starts an hour before the theatre opens. We are early and gather in the square in front of the entrance to the closed theatre. During the day, it is groups of tourists who gather here around a guide. They come to the square not because of its historical context or for the theatre, but because it is one of the only quiet places in Amsterdam’s city centre where you can tell a story, fill your water bottle or sit down for a while. Before brings its own story, associates further on the possible meaning of the black box and eventually leads visitors into the theatre through the back entrance to attend the last minutes before opening.

Before the Black Box was developed on the occasion of Beyond the Black Box festival.


The intervention produces an inverted spectacle, of being tolerated as a spectator in a room being prepared for something, with whispering staff and technical concerns, with again mere details, which, however, indirectly say a lot about what is to come and how things happen in a black box.

This final, extremely poetic move does more than asking spectators to look at details and realise that every location has a history, a context and conventions. Hoofwijk brings up the attention and circumspection of theatre-making itself – on location, in situ – as a highly relevant way of dealing with the surface, with the appearance of things and their surroundings, the current context or the underground. In that respect, she almost makes the distinction between theatre and other locations disappear, although she also very nicely indicates the distinction. In the story in the square at the beginning, Hoofwijk connected the myth of light to the magic of theatre, as light radiated from her hands.

Fransien van der Putt in Theaterkant | 5 febr 2024

Read the full review here.
© Alex Heuvink

In collaboration

SoAP Maastricht, Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, Beyond the Black Box, Ani Rose Deal, Juan Belmar, David Weber-Krebs

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