April 24, 2023
In conjunction with the exhibition Felix de Rooy—Apocalypse, writer and dramaturg Maarten van Hinte reflects on the ritual, cosmic dynamics of Felix De Rooij’s theater. Van Hinte elaborates on the vibrant prism of identities that inform De Rooij’s background, which manifest performances closer to celebrations, ceremonies, and exorcisms —confronting audiences with provocative, mystical energies rarely seen on the theatrical stage.
Felix de Rooij achieved his first artistic notoriety as a theater director. He founded Illushón Kosmiko, a.k.a. Cosmic Illusion, in 1977 in Curaçao and quickly established a name for himself with a series of controversial plays in Papiamento. His breakthrough came in 1981, in New York. By that time, he had joined forces with actor and playwright Norman de Palm. Together they created Desiree, a monologue based on a newspaper story about a young woman who put her newborn baby in a burning oven because she was convinced the child was possessed. The play, starring American actress Marian Rolle, was an immediate success. De Rooij and De Palm toured the world with it for two years, then settled in Amsterdam. Together with directors Rufus Collins and Henk Tjon (De Nieuw Amsterdam – DNA) they spearheaded the multicultural theater movement that ultimately transformed the performing arts in the Netherlands.
Figure 1. Felix de Rooy, Desiree (1981). Photo: Hajo Piebenga
Figure 2. Theater poster, Een nacht nu (1984). Courtesy Felix de Rooy.
Figure 3. Felix de Rooy, Voor Vrouwen die in regenbogen geloven maar ook zelfmoord overwogen (1986). Photo: Jean van Lingen.
Figure 4. Rehearsal image from Voor Vrouwen die in regenbogen geloven maar ook zelfmoord overwogen (1986). Photo: Jean van Lingen
Figure 5. Exhibition photograph, Wit over Zwart (1989) at the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Photo: Pierre Verhoeff
Figure 6. Felix de Rooy, Marival (1996). Photo: Jean van Lingen
Figure 7. Felix de Rooy, De Kleur van Droes (2004). Photography: Mark Kohn.
About the Author
Maarten van Hinte is a creative force behind RIGHTABOUTNOW INC. along with Marjorie Boston. Together, they pioneered hip-hop theater in the Netherlands and were founders and curators of the legendary MC Theater – a production house and stage for theater, dance, music, and club culture. In 2013, they founded RIGHTABOUTNOW INC.
Van Hinte works as a writer, director and coach. His artistic roots are in hiphop, his theater career started under the mentorship of Rufus Collins and Henk Tjon at De Nieuwe Amsterdam (DNA). Recent productions include Queen of Disco, STATUS (for RIGHTABOUTNOW INC.) and Hoe ANANSI the stories of the world bevrijdde (for the National Opera and Ballet)He has written several plays for RIGHTABOUTNOW, including Queen of Disco, STATUS, and TORI (in collaboration with the National Theater). As a coach/dramaturg, he recently worked with Ritzah Statia, Mathieu Wijdeven and Gavin Viano.
Van Hinte lectures on cultural history and dramaturgy at the Amsterdam School of the Arts and is a sought-after guest lecturer and moderator at arts education institutions.