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Marketplace 76 is the darkest story Jan Lauwers has written for his high-spirited ensemble. With Lauwers himself in the role of narrator and leader of the brass band, Needcompany sings and dances the story of the village. A village that is mourning the consequences of a tragic explosion on the marketplace.
The performers bring mourning and sorrow, incest and abduction, paedophilia and suicide to life in a passionate community full of excessive love, friendship, happiness and survival. The questions Jan Lauwers asks in the play go to the heart of twenty-first century politics. In a globalised world, the things that once held a society together – tradition, religion, ethnicity, nationality and so on – have lost their self-evident binding force. The possibility (or impossibility) of coexistence is the crucial issue in Jan Lauwers’ plays over the last decade: Isabella’s room (2004), The Lobster Shop (2006), The Deer House (2008) – together the Sad Face | Happy Face trilogy – are all stories about the forces that bind a group together or break it apart.
In Marketplace 76 Jan Lauwers tells the story of the deliverance of a community. The market was and still is the starting and finishing point of demonstrations and events, expressions of the citizens’ will. It is the place for public speaking. The things that concern the community take place on the marketplace, and vice versa: whatever happens on the marketplace concerns the community. The epic play gives Lauwers the opportunity to let the village undergo a sort of psychoanalysis.