A naked man rolls onto the stage. He appears to be newly born; nurses rub him clean and dry. The man encounters people he knows, or thinks he knows, but the relationships are different from what they seem, from what he thought they were. He sees his wife cheating on him with a man who turns out to be himself. He is confronted by fears and desires he did not know he had. His alter ego experiences events from the past that are warped and distorted. In the end all that remains is himself, naked and alone, with only projections of images from his past life.



Ahlbom replaces our reality of the man’s reality. We are all trapped inside his head, a closed-off universe where nobody knows what is real and what is not, what is true and what is merely our imagination. It is a place governed by rules and laws that are logical but have no logic. This is how Ahlbom tells the absurd tale of a man in his own psychosis looking at his life. The spectator is unable to take a distance from the man’s experiences. The space in which the man finds himself, is doubled, as if it is a living organism where corridors become open squares and rooms shrink to become minuscule spaces.


Ahlbom created a melancholic, poetic atmosphere for this play, using humour to connect with the protagonist. He generates a magical world that closely mimics the alienating and disorientating effect of being in a psychosis. In the preparatory phase, he researched people with multiple personality disorder, exploring how they relate to their surroundings and how they function in relationships. This form of disorder is usually caused by the victim distancing him or herself, as a survival mechanism, from the mental anguish of a traumatic event. While working on the play, the focus remained tightly on the man himself. Rather than generating other personalities within him, the form exposed his confused psychotic relationship with the worlds around him.

In the media

“Surrealist drama with great physical tours the force. … Although Jakop Ahlbom is sparing in his role as the growing boyw, the immense commitment in his acting and dancing ensures each movement make sense as part of that growth.”
The Stentor
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Concept and Direction: Jakop Ahlbom
Cast: Jakop Ahlbom, Péter Kádár, Silke Hundertmark, Gabi Sund
 Dramaturge and Adviser: Mischa van Dullemen
 Stage design: Daniël Ament
 Sound: Jaap Lindijer
 Lighting design: Vinny Jones
 Technicians: Vinny Jones and Wilfred Plum
Production: Florian Hellwig
Photographer: Hans Abbing
Designer: Oliver Helf
Producers: Het Veem Theater and Pels

Made possible by financial support from: Performing Arts Fund and VSB Fonds

Performance dates

No current performances

Première: 28 september 2002, Het Veem Theater, Amsterdam
Performance period: 26 to 29 September, 3 to 6 October 2002