Anne Ku writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page. She has written and produced two chamber operas, premiered in Utrecht, Netherlands. See her publication list for more.
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Love Dolls, the play by Duda Paiva
Despite my love of plays and theatre, I don't go (in the Netherlands) in case I don't understand the Dutch spoken. If there are programme notes, they are usually entirely in Dutch. If there are surtitles, they are in Dutch. I have thus ruled out going to the theatre unless the play is in English. Even so, they may be sprinkled with Dutch, as I discovered with a Shakespeare play in Utrecht.
There's an overabundance of cultural events to choose from. The decision is not easy. Unless I'm invited, I'm not alerted. If I don't know about it, then I'd rather stay at home and practise the piano.
Had it not been for the composer of the live music to the new play of Duda Paiva, I would probably not have ventured on a cold winter's night to see it in Utrecht. The composer convinced me that the play "Love Dolls" was not in Dutch. In fact, it was not in any language at all.
What he really meant, as I found out later, was that anybody could understand it.
Why was the synopsis of Love Dolls on the Stadsschouwburg Utrecht website only in Dutch? Surely it should be in English and specifically to say that knowledge of Dutch is not required. I will now urge my expat friends and newly arrived foreign visitors to go and see this play.
I was confused by the title "Love Dolls aka Dutch Housewives." It translates to "Love Dolls, also known as Dutch Housewives." Was it meant to lure a non-Dutch housewife like me? Definitely not. Will it be Belgian Housewives if the play moves to Belgium? Is it really necessary to add "aka Dutch Housewives"?
I've never heard of Love Dolls before tonight. After the play, I just had to google for it. The first video that came up was one about love dolls in Japan, a country where I had spent 11 years of my youth.
But the play is not about love dolls and men's preference of fake substitutes for real women and real love. It was deeper and more mysterious than that --- a subject of conversation or controversy.
To me, it was about how real fake dolls can become real for some men and how much easier it was to communicate through dolls (as puppetry) rather than to each other.
Love Dolls don't whine or get hysterical like real women do. They don't talk back at you. They won't reject you. They are safe. But they can get addictive.
In this Internet age, it is indeed much easier to communicate via e-mail, online chats, and facebook than to arrange an appointment to meet face to face. We can also live in a fake bubble where everything appears truly real. Sometimes we prefer that to the real thing.
"Love Dolls" is on 17 and 18 February 2010 at the Stadsschouwburg Theatre in Utrecht. It will also be staged in Den Haag and Amsterdam.
16 February 2010
Duda Paiva, producer