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In his beautiful novel Dis, Dutch Jewish author Marcel Möring takes the reader on a journey with Jakob Noach, a Jew who survived the Shoah in a hole in the ground near his home town Assen, a sleepy provincial town in the eastern part of The Netherlands. The novel is inspired both by James Joyce’s Ulysses and Dante’s depiction of Hell in his Divine Comedy. The five hundred pages of the novel tell the story of one night: the night before the annual “TT-races”, motor-cross races. On the night before the races, thousands of bikers descend on the little town, drinking, fighting, fucking and passing out in the usually quiet streets. Jakob observes the spectacle which could have been taken from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. But the night of loud music, leather and vomit is only the surface of the hell that the town of Assen has become to Jakob Noach. His parents and brother were deported and murdered by the Nazis, assisted by the helpful population of Assen. Jakob wanted vengeance after the war; he took back his father’s shoe store from Nazi collaborators who had turned it into a National-Socialist bookshop and turned it into a successful business in ladies’ lingerie, little by little expanding until he owned the largest department store of Assen. But neither his success as a businessman, nor his marriage with the daughter of the farmer who saved him by hiding him on his land, nor his three daughters could fill the void in his existence. Author Marcel Möring and director Manon Barthels  adapted this complicated and rich novel for the stage and the result is an impressive dramatic monologue, also because of actor Bob Schwarze’s excellent performance.   Until October 12, 2014 at Literair

Theater Branoul, Maliestraat 12, The Hague. Dutch spoken.

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