De Roovers is a collective of four stage actors/theater makers based in Antwerp: Robby Cleiren, Sara De Bosschere, Luc Nuyens and Sofie Sente. They never work with a director. Every creative process is a joint search for the story that needs to be told at that moment. The actors immerse themselves in text theatre, adapting the classical repertoire of Shakespeare, Chekhov and Aeschylos, among others, or working with contemporary writers such as Paul Auster and Judith Herzberg. They also make theater for children or venture into musical theatre.
For more than 10 years, Tom Hautekiet has designed numerous beautiful theater posters for de Roovers, including classics such as All My Sons (2007) and Het Bezoek (2018). After Tom’s unexpected death in 2020, de Roovers asked us to design their posters.
Antigone decides — against the all-powerful law of Creon — to pay her last respects to the body of her dead brother Polyneikes. That ‘act of resistance’ has received various comments, from a political and philosophical, psychoanalytic and feminist perspective. It resulted in various Antigone figures. Throughout her erratic history, Antigone has been a women’s rights activist, humanist and angry young rebel. She was both a terrorist and a martyr.
The play is an anatomical study of what the unburied corpse of Polyneikes evokes in the various tragedy characters. An echo chamber in which the thoughts of the eight players touch on today’s social debates, in which their words reverberate as actions and questions.
In the history of modern activism we see how graphic design and typography can be used as a means of action.
Armed with a brush and water, the players paint words on a wall that slowly dry up and disappear. The poster is designed like a protest sign with a hand-painted message on a large piece of cardboard.
At many demonstrations in the last century, screen printing was used for protest signs. It is a very interesting technique for posters. The ink has good coverage, which means that printing can be done on dark paper.
We printed the posters in-house with orange ink on black paper. The color gradients in the background are coarsely gridded (30 LPI) which suits the unruliness of the performance.
Sofie Vreys | General manager, de Roovers spelen
In De lange nasleep van een korte mededeling, four friends’ lives are disrupted after one of them makes a seemingly harmless announcement. The many conversations that result from this show in a tragicomic way how everyone tries to master their own fears and desires. The more everyone tries their best to get a grip on the situation, the more it gets out of hand. Much is said in few words, much more is not said, much is understood and much is misunderstood.
Magne van den Berg’s text is painfully light-footed and can be read as a poem in which the images arise in the mind of the reader.
De Roovers explicitly chose to present a short sober performance with a limited crew and decor during the Coronapandemic. The small decor consists of walls placed at right angles as a mirror of 2.5 m wide by 5 m high.
The starting point for the poster was a photograph of a landscape by Stef Stessel — photographer and scenographer of de Roovers. We edited the photo and rotated it 360°. The sky is now at the bottom and the water at the top. This gives an alienating feeling. In the center we have added two white points — celestial bodies — as focal points to further accentuate the image in the poster. This is also reflected in the placement of the typography at the top and bottom.
Robby Cleiren | Co-founder, actor, de Roovers spelen