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“On April 26, 1986, there occurred the biggest disaster in the human history.
The accident of Chernobyl emitted over one hundred times more radiation than the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The explosion of the reactor produced a radioactive cloud and contaminated rains that primarily touched Belorussia and Ukraine, but also all the continent of Europe. Heavy metals and radioactive elements are still present in the ground… and they always will be… Well, almost always… They will be there for millions of years… Much longer than our memories will live on. In our collective imaginary all this happened in a faraway country… And yet… Chernobyl is only a three-hour flight away from Brussels… 2,000 kilometers… It’s like travelling to Lisbon. Or almost.“ (the Director’s Note)
his is a play based on a fiction and the real accident of Chernobyl. The team Point Zéro went to Belorussia and Ukraine to meet the inhabitants of the Chernobyl region in order to ask them questions about their past and present lives. The Forgotten Land could also have been called as “The people of the Aftermath.” It is inspired by the words of the witnesses rather than those of the theoreticians or politicians. It is based on the testimonies and impressions of these people.
The Forgotten Land invites the audiences to the mysterious zone, strangely named as “Natural Radiological Reserve.” This zone mostly consists of forests and within it, there are lynxes, wolves, bison, wild horses, a few old people who have returned to find their houses and then... Pripyat, the abandoned city. People have no other choice than to eat the vegetables cultivated in this ‘ghost city.’ Even the children who are just born already have diseases. The health problem is serious, thus. The small doses of radioactivity and heavy metals can cause cancer, cardiovascular accidents, heart attacks, sclerosis, and today, very young people suffer from illnesses of the aged. Beyond global issues, the accident of Chernobyl ceaselessly raises questions even today. Nothing is visible, palpable but the radiation is still left there.
After graduating the IAD, Klein Akademie and INSAS, Jean-Michel d’Hoop first worked as an actor before foundation of the Point Zéro company. With great interest in multidisciplinary art, he ceaselessly has questioned how to work on stage. In particular, he has continued to doubt languages in text. For the past few years, he has focused on the relationship of ‘the animated’ and ‘the inanimated,’ exploring how real actors and puppets deepen the value of a performance in a mutually constructive way. In addition to his work as a director, Jean-Michel d’Hoop also contributes to a variety of artistic adventures in the theatrical field for children and young people, as an educator at the Institut des Arts de Diffusion (IAD).
Point Zéro, Théâtre de Poche, Coop asblCredits
Directed and Written by ｜ Jean-Michel d’Hoop
Videos ｜ Yoann Stehr
Music ｜ Pierre Jacqmin
Stage Design ｜ Olivier Wiame
Puppets ｜ Ségolène Denis
Assisted by ｜ Monelle Van Gyzegem
Lighting ｜ Xavier Lauwers
Assistant Director ｜ François Regout
Technical Director ｜ Thomas Kazakos
Stage Manager ｜ Loïc Le Foll
Cast ｜Sophie Delacollette, Héloïse Meire,
Corentin Skwara, Leopold Terlinden, Léa Le Fell
Production Manager ｜ Nathalie Kamoun
Tour Manager ｜ Matthieu Defour
Stage Photos ｜ Alice Piemme, Véronique Vercheval
The Point Zéro company is a group of artists led by its founder and director Jean-Michel d’Hoop. The Company benefits from government subsidy. In 1993, the Company won the prize for the best upcoming actor awarded by the Commission communautaire française (COCOF), with its first performance Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy. The Company has presented works reflecting today’s landscape by raising questions about languages and by conducting projects combining unique artistic approaches.