“How are you?” “I’m fine, considering the circumstances. And how are you?” “Yes”
Kommer is a theatre performance followed by a video in which the little angles of large human suffering are being displayed. The first live part shows acute grief. Six people are told that something terrible happened. The performance covers the first 45 minutes after this announcement: an X-ray analysis of the moment.
The behaviour in this painful situation is dominated by showing consideration, adjusting and the powerlessness to comfort. It’s an atmosphere in which no one is being difficult because it is already difficult enough.
The live part is seamlessly taken over by the video. The video shows the insidious everyday sadness, loneliness and the dark side of the private lives of the same six people.
We follow them after the performance on their way home. In the dressing room they're still cheerful because the performance went well. But as soon as their paths separate, they turn out to be lonely people, with very recognisable problems and uncertainties.
‘Kommer is like a chanson of Brel: shockingly sad, but with enough self-mockery to touch the most insensitive person in the audience. With all these highly personal images and ideas Kassys succeeded to present a universal image of human sadness.’ (Utrechts Nieuwsblad, September 2003)
‘Gritter threw herself with a creepy eye for details and sense for the unspeakable into the subject grief. With a subtle style and an absurd touch she makes the everyday extraordinary. It is all brilliantly brought into vision.’ (Volkskrant, October 2003)
‘With Kommer Kassys shows that they have a lot to offer.’ (De Morgen, December 2003)
‘The Dutch company shows with their manipulative, comical and peculiar work to be one of the much-discussed theatre companies of this time.’ (Freiburger Nachrichten, July 2004)
‘Partially sponsored on their American tour by the Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York, one might consider Kassys a cultural ambassador for Dutch humor - which we’re told deals highly in subtlety and contains nothing more than necessary. Yes, grief can also be funny, and it is Kassys’ success at finding this funniness that makes “Kommer” truly extraordinary.’ (The Seattle Times, January 2006)
‘With all its minimalism and restraint, “Kommer” left me feeling mesmerized, fascinated and, yes, even a little sad, not for the characters, who aren’t intended to exist in any believable reality, but for the human condition of grief, which the show portrays with painful accuracy.’ (The Dartmouth, January 2006)
‘Kommer provides a delightful , rigorously executed and often hilarious and insightful glimpse of the Dutch and their somewhat reserved culture in the face of America’s culture of “ expressing yourself. Kommer demonstrates that, whether we are before a live audience or camera, life is often an awkward, lonely and tragic business.’ (Theatre Journal, December 2006)
‘Art doesn't just mirror life in "Kommer." Each refracts and reflects upon the other in facets that continue to engage the mind and make one hope that this won't be the last we'll see of Kassys.’ (San Francisco Chronicle, September 2007)
‘The blissfully weird meditation on sorrow. Funny? Disquieting? Fascinating, for sure, and touchingly human.’ (The Washington Post, September 2007)
‘Kommer is exceedingly funny, occasionally poignant and defiantly an inventive, entertaining fusion- and diffusion- of theatre and film.’ (The Advertiser Adelaide, March 2008)
Concept, director, camera and editing: Liesbeth Gritter
Coordination and artistic assistance: Mette van der Sijs
Performers: Mischa van Dullemen, Lukas Dijkema, Liesbeth Gritter, Ton Heijligers, Jan Kostwinder, Rienus Krul, Saskia Meulendijks and Esther Snelder
Technical director: Klaas Paradies
Kommer is a co-production with [Nes]Productiehuis, Productiehuis Rotterdam (Rotterdamse Schouwburg) and Vooruit in Ghent.
Kommer was funded by the Fonds Podiumkunsten, the Veem Theater Amsterdam and the VSBfonds.
The North American Tours (2006 en 2007) were produced by MAPP International Productions. They were supported by The Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York, The Netherland America Foundation, the Fonds Podiumkunsten and OC&W.
The Australian tour (2008) was supported by the Fonds Podiumkunsten.