“Interesting documentary theatre, about a part of the world that seemed almost forgotten.”
– De Volkskrant
“It’s the genius of the editing that makes ‘Pleasant Island’ a hallucinatory document with an unprecedented form, between performance and documentary.”
– IO Gazette
Encounter this modern-day parable, told through historical records, personal accounts and multimedia recordings, interwoven into a sequence informed by the language and aesthetics of digital culture.
Hidden in the Pacific Ocean lies the island of Nauru, once called Pleasant Island by European explorers. Although its size makes it one of the smallest nations in the world, its history is both large and significant. Nauru is often seen as a parable for our current world. The island was severely impacted by the effects of colonisation, capitalism, migration and ecological distress of which the consequences still linger today.
After the exhaustive exploitation of its natural resources, the island was left in economic and ecologic ruins. Today, Nauru is most known for hosting Australian refugee detention centres in return for a large amount of Australian money. This sparked the government of Nauru to ban most journalists and researchers from entering the island in an effort to keep negative news from reaching the outside world. Meanwhile, the island risks being swallowed by the ocean as a result of the rising sea level. Theatre artists Silke and Hannes were exceptionally allowed to enter the island for a couple of weeks in the summer of 2018. In this post-apocalyptic setting, they try to capture the historical, ecological and humanitarian exhaustion of the island, and by extension of our entire planet.
In Pleasant Island, Silke and Hannes use their personal smartphones to navigate the spectator through audio and images from their research on Nauru. How does one encounter the limitations of a world that is intent on endless growth? What idea of the future is left on Nauru, and the rest of the world?
Mining Stories, Pleasant Island, and Out of the Blue are part of a trilogy by Belgium theatre artists, Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere, that explores our human relationship with mining.
By & With Silke Huysmans & Hannes Dereere
Dramaturge Dries Douibi
Sound Mixing Lieven Dousselaere
Technical Anne Meeussen & Piet Depoortere
Co-Production Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spring Festival Utrecht, Beursschouwburg, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, Veem House For Performance, Spielart & De Brakke Grond
Residencies Beursschouwburg, De Grote Post, KAAP, Kunstencentrum Buda, Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek, STUK & Veem House For Performance, LOD
With The Support Of Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie & KAAP
Many Thanks To All Collocutors In Nauru