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Abdelkader Benali

Pr-picture The Toneelmakerij by Rachel Schraven

Paul Knieriem on his Hamlet for Amsterdam youth: 'Here you feel what representation and recognition does to a room'.

In mid-March, I went to see the Toneelmakerij's Hamlet, a performance specially made in and for Amsterdam-West. I had some questions about that performance, I wrote in the review, and we would discuss those questions in a podcast with Abdelkader Benali, the adaptor of the text, and Paul Knieriem, the director. An hour and a half before the recording... 

Scene image of Hamlet by Sanne Peper

Why is this fascinating play, about the world of Amsterdam West, called Hamlet?

I had to think for a while before I wrote something about the Hamlet performance that is now showing to an audience of mostly high school students in Amsterdam West. That was because I was sitting in the auditorium, on a legendarily uncomfortable stand in a fine fringe breeding ground, among a schoolchildren's audience that sat watching in full attention for almost two hours, while at... 

Refresh Symposium - Art climate of Amsterdam

On Friday 12 February 2021 from 12:00-17:00, the Amsterdam Museum, together with its various partners, is organising the Refresh Symposium on the Amsterdam art climate. A symposium in which makers such as Bas Kosters, Massih Hutak and Raquel van Haver together with representatives of cultural institutions such as NDSM-werf, AFK and Amerpodia will critically examine the art climate in the city. The symposium... 

Johan Harstad (l) and Arjen Lubach

Arjen Lubach saves his twin brother Johan Harstad #ILFU17

Writer and television presenter Arjen Lubach has been a fan of Norwegian writer Johan Harstad for years, whose mega-thick Max, Micha & the Tet Offensive has just been published in Dutch. He even visited him in Norway. Lubach: 'I was afraid we were so much alike that we had nothing to say to each other.' That turned out to be giant. Logical, then, that he... 

Due to success re-runs: Conversations with my Mother

In 2013, production group Diamantfabriek and ensemble Nieuw Amsterdams Peil presented the full-length performance Conversations with my Mother. Director Matthias Mooij (1976-2014) and composer Benedict Weisser (1967) asked seven male authors to write a fictional telephone conversation with their mother. At the heart of the piece is the fundamental inequality of communication between mother and son. 'I advise all mothers and... 

Winternachten: a fascinating and amusing evening of talking about Evil #wu16

Literature is not a means to bring about political change, but to change people. That is exactly what he aims for with his books, Egyptian writer Alaa al Aswani said yesterday at Winternachten, where his new novel The Automobile Club of Cairo was presented. That is probably how visitors to the literary festival at the end of the evening also came to... 

winter nights on blab

On the sofa with The Signature Hunter, The Translator and Abdelkader Benali

Three and a half hours of streaming video from a seating area at The Hague's Winternachten festival. I won't blame you if you didn't follow everything. I wasn't quite there myself at the end. Still, it was a success. If only because it hasn't been done here in the country before. Blab is so new that... 

Winternachten is about something

Hello Darkness is the theme of the international literary festival Winternachten, this coming weekend in The Hague. It takes guts, in a time when everything has to be fun and cosy and we prefer not to spend our free time dealing with misery or 'heavy topics'. That is why we love Winternachten, because that festival really goes... 

arie doeser on #cityt2cities

Lock up the alderman! 6 lessons from book festival #City2Cities 2015

The building alone made literature festival City2Cities worth a visit. After all, the Post Office on Utrecht's Neude, built in 1924 as an ode to progress in a style that brought together the best of the Amsterdam School, had been closed for years. So even those who don't get excited by Nick Cave and who think Michel Houellebecq is a creep had a reason... 

Encounters with Matisse at successful exhibition at Stedelijk

With 'The oasis of Matisse', the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has put on a magnificent exhibition. Sixty years after there was last a major retrospective of Matisse in the Netherlands, his work is back on display in all its glory. So alongside 'Late Rembrandt' at the Rijksmuseum, there is another blockbuster in the capital. The thousands of visitors who attended the... 

Solid Battle over multicultural society marks new era for Writers Unlimited #wu15

20 years of Writers Unlimited's existence, and the anniversary, now in The Hague, comes at a time when free writing worldwide is under heavier pressure than ever. Perhaps that is also why the audience is more numerous than previous editions. All nights are rigidly sold out, making for a rather sweltering atmosphere at the Theater aan het Spui. Apt opening of... 

'The outcast Moroccan and the Fleming may fight it out again' #WU14

In the rich tradition of writers who can drink each other's blood and foaming at the mouth with their pen, Writers Unlimited orchestrated a 'polemic'. In this debate, Abdelkader Benali expressed the voice of the people, and Saskia De Coster that of the elite. Both hacked at each other with help from moderator Elsbeth Etty. Result: a lot of incoherent banter.

The International Choice does, what The International Choice has been doing for years: divide opinion and loosen tongues.

"We are blind to the big changes in the world and meanwhile we are arguing with one-liners on Radio One." These words, penned by reporter Robbert van Heuven from the mouth of writer Abdelkader Benali during the Choice Debate on Tuesday 20 September perhaps best captures what The International Choice was all about. Artistic director Annemie Vanackere... 

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