for nothing umsonst


A comedy where actors play cat and mouse with factory and theatre directors. And to cap it all, by the end their virtuoso acting turns outs to have been for nothing, umsonst!

In association with 't Barre Land. On the repertoire since 2015.

Belgian premiere: 27 December 2015, Wintervuur, Wilrijk (Antwerp)
Netherlands premiere: 19 January 2016, De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam

The text

The romantic view of the role of the artist has been shattered. Self-fulfilment is no longer the privilege of the artist; it is the credo of modern Western capitalist society. What now?!

Johann Nepomuk Nestroy (Austria, 1801-1862) was the tormentor of the prosperous middle class. He rewrote successful French farces especially for his 19th-century Viennese audience, adding a layer of parody and existentialism. Nestroy was a theatrical all-rounder: he wrote plays in which he himself played the leading part and which, as the director of the Burgtheater, he also produced. He was the main source of inspiration for Karl Kraus and Thomas Bernhard. His plays are phenomenal, but their performance in Dutch has traditionally been spoiled by old-fashioned, stereotypical staging.

In the play 'Umsonst' ('for nothing'), two actors leave the provincial theatre world for love and fame, fleeing from a factory-owner and a theatre director. They end up in a hotel, where they alternately pretend to be Italian marquises, Viennese hotel proprietors, waiters, and each other. In the meantime they rehearse 'Die Räuber'. Nestroy parodies Schiller and Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' in the theme of freedom: i.e. in the attempt to escape the petty bourgeois mentality.

The twists and turns of the plot in 'Umsonst' turn out to be pointless, the actors always have to perform for free, and we can save ourselves the bother of making anything of it, because the end of the song is always "it's not worth the trouble, it's not worth the trouble" (Act 2, vocal intermezzo).

Comp.Marius and ‘t Barre Land, a small Dutch-Flemish association of actors that has already made a name for itself, with 'Henry IV' (1997), 'The Importance of an Ideal Husband' (2003) and 'Happy Days' (2007). Following the cooperation on 'Figaro' (2014), Jonas Vermeulen is once again responsible for the music, and will also be acting for the first time.


Translation and adaptation: 't Barre Land & Comp.Marius
Actors: Margijn Bosch, Czeslaw De Wijs, Anouk Driessen, Waas Gramser, Vincent van den Berg, Kris Van Trier, Jonas Vermeulen
Joint production by Comp.Marius and 't Barre Land



to determine