The mass man

Based on the book Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti, Wouter Van Looy and Wim Catrysse zoom in on mass movements and the development of power.

‘There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.’ It is with this statement that Elias Canetti opens Crowds and Power (1962). The book not only reads as a reflection on mass movements and the display of power in the early twentieth century, it is also a guide for today and the starting point for The mass man.

In a spatial installation, images are shown of a place of conflict where traces of violence and resistance take us back thousands of years. The ensemble performs and sings medieval music: ‘crusader songs’ and propaganda-rich recruitment songs. They sketch a nuanced picture of a complex era marked by changing identities and world views.

With The mass man, director Wouter Van Looy and video artist Wim Catrysse have created a sequel to Earth Diver. With Elias Canetti they zoom in on our urge to survive, the impact of orders, the sting they leave behind and how this translates into the formation of crowds and power.

More info >

Muziektheater Transparant and Zefiro Torna

Coproduction: Concertgebouw Brugge, DE SINGEL en Perpodium

With the support of the Flemish Government and Tax Shelter of the Belgian Federal Government.

Location Dates Hour  
MA Festival (Brugge)
+32 50 33 22 83
Show on map
deSingel Antwerpen (Antwerpen)
+32 3 248 28 28
Show on map
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam)
+31 20 788 20 00
Show on map
Concept | Direction: Wouter Van LooyConcept | Video : Wim CatrysseTexts: Elias Canetti • Peter Verhelst • Mahmoud Darwish • Scenography: Wim CatryssePeter QuastersDramaturgical Advice: Tobias KokkelmansCostumes: Ruby RenteursLight design: Peter QuastersMusic concept: Jurgen De Bruyn • Ensemble: Zefiro Torna: Simon Segers (drums & tromba marina), Jochem Baelus (music installation & perfomer), Jon Birdsong (trumpet & cornetto), Jurgen De Bruyn (lute, saz, electronics & voice) • Vocals | Voice: Timo TembuyserEls MondelaersSound technique | Soundscape | Synths | Electronics | Voice: Jo Thielemans

Mondelaers and Tembuyser perform these songs with so much temperament that they shed an entirely new light on a repertoire that is usually interpreted in a detached, even somewhat rarefied way … The songs retain their Mediterranean, Arabic colour, despite a contemporary soundscape. The singers sound full-blooded, grounded. Tembuyser shines alongside Mondelaers … The Mass Man is a complex performance that does not shy away from virtuosity. It is formally surprising and visually powerful.

14.08.2022 - PZAZZ - Johan Thielemans

Intriguing musical meditation about crowds, power and manipulation… With The mass man, Transparant has created a piece of performance art worthy of the name oratorio. The combination of penetrating images, reflexive texts and the abstract musical idiom, added to the historical panorama, encourages the viewer to reflect, or rather to meditate on the themes that are addressed.

14.11.2022 - Theaterkrant - Javier López Pinón