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What's on this week: 13-19 January
For lovers of pantomime, the English Comedy Club, under the direction of Cath Howdle, has adapted the pantomime Cinderella to comically reflect 2016’s political goings-on. This was not a difficult job for Howdle as 2016 provided her with a wealth of unbelievable events to draw from. As in all pantomimes, girls pretend to be boys and boys pretend to be girls and the cast of Cinderella do not disappoint with the ugly sisters and other characters expertly played by seasoned pantomime actors.
13-15 January, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183
Celebrated stage director Fabrice Murgia and Flemish jazz giant Kris Defoort join forces to tell an epic tale of migration. Written by French playwright Laurent Gaudé, Daral Shaga explores the drama of the immigrant experience with all its utopian dreams and harsh realities. The subject is familiar to Murgia, who is himself the child of a Spanish mother and an Italian father. This unconventional opera combines contemporary theatre, acrobatics, video and jazz music. Borders will be crossed and identities challenged. (In French with Dutch surtitles)
Until 15 January, Théâtre National, Brussels
Zen is notoriously hard to pin down, which is part of its charm. The tradition reflects millennia of Chinese and Japanese philosophy centred on harmony and humility. It has recently spread around the world as a new-age antidote to the stress of modern life. The Seeing Zen exhibition showcases a little-known visual aspect of Zen culture. The works on display, known as Zenga, aren’t really “art” as we know it but rather visual aphorisms illustrating Zen principles – often in irreverent ways. There are farting Buddhas and Zen masters in compromising positions. The message: relax and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Until 29 January, Villa Empain, Brussels
The Maltese presidency of the Council of the European Union kicks off with a concert by the Malta Philharmonic, conducted by Brian Schembri. The programme includes Verdi and Puccini as well as Malta’s national composer, Charles Camilleri.
16 January 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23
Young Flemish illustrator Faro Wymeerschshines a new light on everyday life with the show "In Between". Wymeersch’s prints combine field and line in innovative ways even when depicting the most mundane street scenes.
13 January to 9 March, Jos Joos Art Wine Design Gallery, Rue Belliard 200
Cinematek celebrates the golden-age Hollywood star Adolphe Menjou – a contemporary of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton – with a series of screenings. Films include Frank Capra’s Forbidden (1932) and Victor Schertzinger’s Friends and Lovers (1931).
Until 28 February, Cinematek, Rue Baron Horta 9, Brussels
Every winter, Charleroi Danses brings us the latest in contemporary dance. One of their Brussels performances is this weekend at the Raffinerie. New Zealand expat and choreographer Simone Aughterlony has teamed up with cinematographer Jorge Leon to create UNI*FORM. When we are children, putting on a uniform is all part of fun and games, but as adults uniforms are serious business. In the contemporary world where everyone is more and more under constant surveillance, what do our uniforms mean and are we becoming uniform? Is resistance futile? Leon, who has worked with Thierry de Mey and Wim Vandekeybus among others, and Aughterlony, who "focuses on the possibilities of humour, mystery, desire and the exploration of the political dimensions and the limits of a performance" scramble clichés and rules in this spectacle.
13-14 January 20.00, La Raffinerie
Privacytopia Binary, an art show, is organised for the third time around the 10th anniversary edition of the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) conference "The Age of Intelligent Machines", and by the Privacy Salon and artist/curator Bogomir Doringer, where the topic of privacy is researched through art. One of the exhibits is Webcam Venus, in which sex cam performers replicate iconic works of art. But there's much more.
Opening 13 January 19.00, runs until 29 January, De Markten, free
After their lauded student film Because We Are Visual and dance documentary Rain, Flemish filmmaking duo Gerard-Jan Claes and Olivia Rochette present Grands travaux (Major Works), shot at the Dutch-language vocational school Anneessens-Funck in Brussels. “We really liked the link between the work the boys do at school and the construction work that goes on in Brussels,” says Rochette. “School is where they work on their futures, according to a set plan, similar to the grands travaux, which were intended to shape the future of Brussels.” The excellent Grands travaux ponders the youngsters’ vision of their own future.
17-19 January, across Flanders & Brussels