Isabella’s room contains a secret. It is the location of a lie. It is the location of the lie that dominates Isabella’s existence. This lie is an image. An exotic image. The image of a desert prince. Isabella is the daughter of a desert prince who disappeared on an expedition. This is what her foster parents, Arthur and Anna, told her. They lived together in a lighthouse on an island, where Arthur was the lighthouse-keeper. Like an island, the lighthouse is a transitional area: somewhere between the sea and the land, between solid and fluid, between inside and outside. The lighthouse is built on the land, but it yearns for the sea. Isabella yearns for the desert, the desert prince, Africa.


This is how the life-story of the blind old Isabella begins. But it soon becomes clear that a terrible, unutterable truth lies hidden beneath the story of the desert prince. Anna and Arthur cannot live with their secrets and escape into drinking. Anna dies, and Arthur throws himself into the sea. Isabella’s quest for her father, the desert prince, does not lead her to Africa but to a room in Paris, filled with anthropological and ethnological objects.

Isabella tells the story of her life, but she does not tell it alone. All those who were important to her tell it with her; the many in her life who had died: Arthur and Anna, her lovers Alexander and Frank. Nine performers reveal together the secret of Isabella’s room with the monumental actress Viviane De Muynck as central figure.

Performance period
23. - 24. maj 2019

VENUE Åbne Scene / Godsbanen



PRICE 80-150 KR.

AGE 14+

LANGUAGE English and French with Danish subtitles

Behind the scenes

ISABELLA'S ROOM is written and directed by Jan Lauwers, and the story is inspired by the death of his father. The father was a surgeon and collected ethnological and archaeological artefacts. There were up to 5,000 of these objects in the family home, many of them from Africa. Jan Lauwers spent his childhood surrounded by these objects. He thought it normal to sleep while coffins and sarcophagi were lying under his bed. 'Since my father died, it disturbs me', he said. So he wrote a story about it. A story in which the objects from a dream, that is dead and gone forever, are situated in the room inhabited by a living woman, Isabella.


"... imagination and playfulness dominate the telling of Isabella’s story"

"Drop everything to see this humorous, brilliant, pithy and incomparable play"



PERFORMERS Viviane De Muynck, Anneke Bonnema, Hans Petter Dahl, Julien Faure, Benoît Gob, Misha Downey/Ludde Hagberg, Sung-Im Her, Yumiko Funaya/Sarah Lutz, Maarten Seghers, Elke Janssens and Jan Lauwers

DIRECTOR Jan Lauwers

WRITTEN BY Jan Lauwers and Anneke Bonnema

MUSIC BY Hans Petter Dahl and Maarten Seghers

COSTUMES BY Lemm and Barkey

PHOTO Eveline Vanassche


Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre De La Ville (Paris), Théâtre Garonne (Toulouse), La Rose des Vents (Scène Nationale de Villeneuve d'Ascq), Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York) and Welt in Basel Theaterfestival. With the cooperation of Kaaitheater (Brussels) and The Flemish Community Commission of The Brussels Capital Region. With the support of The Flemish Authorities.