How Goes the World


Photographs © Michiel Devijver

They exit and enter through doors somehow separated from walls, rushing to be part of a play that either hasn’t started or else ended decades ago. They slump to the sofa, weeping. They rise from the armchair in anger, then collapse again like amnesiacs. They head downstage to stare from a window that doesn’t exist anymore. A piano plays the same tune repeatedly, grinding and warping its melody.

Etchells’s contribution to the Histoire(s) du Théâtre series of Belgian theatre NTGent uses a fragmentary quotation from Shakespeare’s Macbeth as its title: “How goes the world”.

In the work four performers come and go in a confusion of roles, costumes, scene changes, and light effects. Butlers, servants, messengers, soldiers, doctors, lovers, murderers, dancers, drunks, scoundrels, liars, and innocents are all here, all of them wailing in the fake snow that falls somewhere between the boarded-up window, the coffee table, the piano and the ironing board. A storm outside and inside. A war in the distance. The sound of applause.

Read an interview with Tim Etchells about the project here.

Belgian theatre maker Alexander Devriendt (Ontroerend Goed) meets Tim Etchells in London to talk about ‘How Goes the World – HDT V’ on Soundcloud here.


Performed by Aurélie Alessandroni,  Neil Callaghan, Aurélie Lannoy, John Rowley Text Tim Etchells Concept & direction Tim Etchells Dramaturgy Matthias Lilienthal Dramaturgical advice Benoît Vanraes Music composition & sound design Graeme Miller Light design Dennis Diels Set design Tim Etchells & Chris Vanneste Costume design Jo De Visscher Production NTGent Coproduction Tandem Scène Nationale (Arras-Douai), Wiener Festwochen