Archive NEXT 2018

Passing The Bechdel Test

fABULEUS (Belgium), GRIP (Belgium) & Jan Martens (Belgium)

120 minutes

Young people make a strong plea for gender diversity.

Female characters in fiction are much too often defined by their relationship to men. In the eighties the Bechdel test was developed, which measures sexism in a.o. Hollywood films. You pass when you can present at least two women who talk with each other about anything else than a man. Applied to contemporary fiction the result remains depressing.

In recent years Jan Martens has  become the public's favourite among a young generation of Flemish choreographers. In Passing the Bechdel Test , together with thirteen youngsters (v/x) he strikes a balance of gender equality and gender diversity. The young people crawl into each others' skin and in that of influential women, from Woolf over Sontag to Solange. Fragments from letters, diaries, essays and TED talks form the frame to which their own biography is added.

The performances of Jan Martens show enormous contrasts between themselves. In the social experiment The Common People (2016) he and Girl director Lukas Dhont put forty unknown people on stage in intimate duets. Its successor Rule of Three (2017) stood midway between a concert, a hard-core nightclub and a collection of short stories. In Passing the Bechdel Test Martens really opts for text for the first time. Yet, the connecting thread in Martens' work remains a deep humanity and concrete. Against the speed of technological developments, the Flemish public's favourite places time for slowing down and obvervation. From his choreographic view, he designs a manifest for the future with the youngsters in this performance.

Since 2014 Martens has created his work under the flag of his own choreographic platform GRIP, which today also supports Bára Sigfúsdóttir, Steven Michel and Michele Rizzo. Martens received the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds prijs Noord-Brabant (2014) and the prestigious Charlotte Köhler prize (2015) for his work. He is 'Creative Associate' at deSingel international art campus from 2017 to 2021 and 'Artist Associé' at CDCN Le Gymnase in Roubaix.

fABULEUS / Jan Martens
Passing the Bechdel test

BY Jan Martens / WITH Isabel Braamkolk, Noor Caestecker, Anouk Claassen, Renée De Coninck, Luna Glowacki, Bente Govaerts, Noor Hollemeersch, Birgit Lesage, Marie Libens, Hannah Peiren, Celina Vercruysse, Yanou Van Dessel, Mirren Vandenberk / ARTISTIC ASSISTANCE Kimmy Ligtvoet / DRAMATURGY Peter Anthonissen / LIGHTING DESIGNERCCN Elke Verachtert / THANKS TO Renée Copraij, Fransien van der Putt, Moos van den Broek, Nozizwe Dube, Simone Atangana Bekono and Siska Baeck / PRODUCED BY fABULEUS & GRIP / CO-PRODUCED BY tanzhaus nrw.