“Nereye gidiyorsun? Waar ga je heen? Where are you going to? Rantsoen (ration in Flemish) was a meal-based performance – a similar form to EatEat – made in collaboration with Victoria and Victoria Deluxe in Ghent, Belgium.
Audience and performers sat together around a circular 7m diameter table in a storage shed. Renny O’Shea collaborated with a creative team made up of UK and Belgian artists. The piece was created with newcomers to Ghent during a 3 month residency. The 10 performers originated from Belgium, Bosnia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Iran, Kurdistan, Togo and Turkey.
Why we made Rantsoen
“I was invited by Victoria to make a version of EatEat. I was interested in trying to reinvent the show for a different context.
The performers were all newcomers to Ghent. Some had been there years, others weeks, some arrived as refugees, some had come for medical treatment, some had come for love. There were huge differences between people and huge differences in their circumstances. All were outsiders – as I was too.
We heard a Turkish pop diva, Eminem, a Belgian accordian, a French hymn sung unaccompanied… The waiters sculpted Kurdistan in the ton of rice on the table, a woman danced to music only she could hear and a man refused to eat with his fingers.
In many ways Rantsoen was very successful – it sold out for 3 weeks, brought in new audiences for Victoria and new collaborators for Victoria Deluxe. The performers were inspiring. The space looked beautiful. The food was delicious. The piece was very well received. For me though, it was less than the sum of its parts.
Maybe this was about the spatial configuration of the performance, where a large, circular table – in theory more democratic – created problems (for more on this see Simon Banham’s article Cooking with my daughters). I’d made an intimate show where the physical distance between the audience was just too big. Maybe I worked with too many languages – none of them English. Maybe I didn’t understand the subtleties and nuances of the Flemish host culture well enough.”
“Ez xo le belgika –Ne karem peyda kem -Ik ken mezelf niet in Belgie
I don’t know myself in Belgium
Renny O’Shea, director
Credits and Performance details
Performers: Mehmet Arik, Afi Delali Assah Olivia, Yvonne Ijang Forbang, Said Henareh, Dolores Piscador, Yvette Sanou, Mehmed Saritag, Fefkija Sehic, Tugrul Simsek, Soner Yucel
Director Renny O'Shea; designer Simon Banham; dramaturgy Diederik Peeters; choreographer Annabel Schellekens; lighting designer Mike Brookes; soundscape Ruben Nachtergaele; rehearsal assistant Fabienne Beernaert; technician Piet Depoortere; cook Jan Herreman; production Wim Clapdorp.