'Whoever is born is given two passports, one for the realm of the healthy and one for the realm of the sick. And though we prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later everyone must identify himself as a citizen of that other realm.' - Susan Sontag
"My mother was a strong woman, hard, cold. Outsiders used to say it too: your mother was a fighter. Even when she got sick; especially then. Unlike me; who fled from it. From Mom's illness; from my unwritten duty as a comforting son. I pushed all my guilt away with the excuse: after all, my mother is so strong. Until she died; just died now; and I read her diaries for the first time; found out for the first time how lonely she felt; how powerless. And all that I failed to do for her. "
Few have written as intensely about illness and being sick as Susan Sontag. Her examination of our thinking about it is still relevant and sometimes unexpectedly comforting. That illness became one of her main literary motifs naturally resulted from her own battles with leukemia. But Sontag did not mention a word about her privately. Never. Not even to her family and friends. It was only after her death that her son David Rieff learned of his mother's actual feelings of anxiety, abandonment and depression when he read her diaries. Then came the regret that he had been so little there for her. But then, of course, it was already too late. For his mother. But he, how was he to go on?
With the diaries of Susan Sontag, David Rieff and Sigrid Nunez under his arm, Thomas Janssens writes and directs a monologue for one of Belgium's greatest actors: Dirk Roofthooft. A play about how - when someone falls ill - we are at our most vulnerable. Because it reminds us of our own mortality? Because man does not tolerate a fate? What does "caring for your neighbor" mean today? How do we fill it in?
written & directed by
Woodman in coproduction with Het Laatste Bedrijf
This performance came about with the support of the Tax Shelter measure of the Belgian Federal Government and Gallop Tax Shelter.