The Fountainhead

Ivo van Hove has made a name for himself with his theatre versions of major film scripts by the likes of Cassavetes, Bergman or Duras. The Fountainhead could well have been one such script: Ayn Rand, the novel’s American writer adapted it for the cinema herself. On this occasion, van Hove chose the original work, published in 1943, to be his starting point. Van Hove read the novel’s 700 pages “almost in one go”, and then his mind was made up. From the onset, his attentions were drawn to an essential question, formulated and answered with near didactic clarity by Ayn Rand: “What is the essence of creation?”

According to Ayn Rand, creative freedom stemming from individual talent must not be hindered in any way. Accordingly, altruism, beneath its mask of apparent generosity, amounts to no more than a form of alienation at its most insidious level. Through it, the individual persuades him or herself to sacrifice their creative drive and superiority in the name of “collective interests”. By contrast, if the artist-creator holds their own and protects their uniqueness to the point of “selfishness”, he or she is then in a position to bring their work to fruition and, by the same token, give proof of their inherent worth to those around them. Any human being who rises up to meet the challenge of the talent which has been assigned to them becomes a fountainhead, and it is from this source alone that the elements of change necessary to generate real progress can accumulate over the ages. An allusion can be drawn with the skyscrapers which have, over time, contributed to the sublime beauty of the New York skyline.

Howard Roark is one such creative hero. While a student in architecture he is confronted with an important decision: either he must give up all his original ideas, or be expelled from the university. Roark does not hesitate for a moment. Prophet-like, and a martyr of self-truth, he is not one to make concessions. His art reflects his integrity: all or nothing, take it or leave it. Thus, the image that Ayn Rand gives us of the figure of Roark in a quarry hacking away at granite with a sledge-hammer is of no surprise to us. Peter Keating, his classmate, thinks he has made the opposite choice: he will do what is expected of him, give in to negotiation, fit into the system and profit from it, while serving collective interests at the same time. The truth, however, is that Keating is not confronted with the same choice as Roark - since he is void of any true creative might. But rather than admitting it, out of a mixture of ambition and vanity, he closes his eyes and does what it takes to usurp his way into positions which should never have been his...

In the course of her best-seller, Ayn Rand details the trials and tribulations of Roark, the man of stone who comes under fire from the attacks and resentment of the paper-thin figures around him: draughtsmen, would-be scribes of varying kinds, lawyers and other such parasites. But Ivo van Hove wants a fair fight for all parties. Rather than condemning Keating from the moment he sets foot on stage, he opts to “re-evaluate” his position. Throughout the demonstration that the novelist has constructed, Ivo van Hove, the man of theatre that he is, also sets down questions of his own, and which shake up the world of his own certainties to explosive effect: “should art accept to take part in everyday life? Should the artist remain isolated? How can one survive by producing art within the system?” First performed in June 2014, his answer, as theatre director, took the Avignon Festival by storm shortly after.

Berthier 17e

France

Berthier 17e

10 november – 17 november 2016 / Length 4h

The Fountainhead
La Source vive

by Ayn Rand

directed by Ivo van Hove

with Robert de Hoog, Janni Goslinga, Aus Greidanus jr., Hans Kesting, Hugo Koolschijn, Ramsey Nasr, Frieda Pittoors, Halina Reijn, Bart Slegers and the Bl!ndman [drums] musicians

in Dutch, with subtitles

Length 4h

Votre venue

Berthier 17e
Access

Prices

from 8€ to 36€
More info

Booking online opens October 5th. At the booking office and by telephone from October 12th, 2016

  • The Fountainhead | The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
    The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
  • The Fountainhead | The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
    The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
  • The Fountainhead | The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
    The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
  • The Fountainhead | The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
    The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
  • The Fountainhead | The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld
    The Fountainhead, photo © Jan Versweyveld

Ivo van Hove has made a name for himself with his theatre versions of major film scripts by the likes of Cassavetes, Bergman or Duras. The Fountainhead could well have been one such script: Ayn Rand, the novel’s American writer adapted it for the cinema herself. On this occasion, van Hove chose the original work, published in 1943, to be his starting point. Van Hove read the novel’s 700 pages “almost in one go”, and then his mind was made up. From the onset, his attentions were drawn to an essential question, formulated and answered with near didactic clarity by Ayn Rand: “What is the essence of creation?”

According to Ayn Rand, creative freedom stemming from individual talent must not be hindered in any way. Accordingly, altruism, beneath its mask of apparent generosity, amounts to no more than a form of alienation at its most insidious level. Through it, the individual persuades him or herself to sacrifice their creative drive and superiority in the name of “collective interests”. By contrast, if the artist-creator holds their own and protects their uniqueness to the point of “selfishness”, he or she is then in a position to bring their work to fruition and, by the same token, give proof of their inherent worth to those around them. Any human being who rises up to meet the challenge of the talent which has been assigned to them becomes a fountainhead, and it is from this source alone that the elements of change necessary to generate real progress can accumulate over the ages. An allusion can be drawn with the skyscrapers which have, over time, contributed to the sublime beauty of the New York skyline.

Howard Roark is one such creative hero. While a student in architecture he is confronted with an important decision: either he must give up all his original ideas, or be expelled from the university. Roark does not hesitate for a moment. Prophet-like, and a martyr of self-truth, he is not one to make concessions. His art reflects his integrity: all or nothing, take it or leave it. Thus, the image that Ayn Rand gives us of the figure of Roark in a quarry hacking away at granite with a sledge-hammer is of no surprise to us. Peter Keating, his classmate, thinks he has made the opposite choice: he will do what is expected of him, give in to negotiation, fit into the system and profit from it, while serving collective interests at the same time. The truth, however, is that Keating is not confronted with the same choice as Roark - since he is void of any true creative might. But rather than admitting it, out of a mixture of ambition and vanity, he closes his eyes and does what it takes to usurp his way into positions which should never have been his...

In the course of her best-seller, Ayn Rand details the trials and tribulations of Roark, the man of stone who comes under fire from the attacks and resentment of the paper-thin figures around him: draughtsmen, would-be scribes of varying kinds, lawyers and other such parasites. But Ivo van Hove wants a fair fight for all parties. Rather than condemning Keating from the moment he sets foot on stage, he opts to “re-evaluate” his position. Throughout the demonstration that the novelist has constructed, Ivo van Hove, the man of theatre that he is, also sets down questions of his own, and which shake up the world of his own certainties to explosive effect: “should art accept to take part in everyday life? Should the artist remain isolated? How can one survive by producing art within the system?” First performed in June 2014, his answer, as theatre director, took the Avignon Festival by storm shortly after.

On Video

Credits

translation Jan van Rheenen, Erica van Rijsewijk
adaptation Koen Tachelet
dramaturgy Peter van Kraaij
scenography, lights Jan Versweyveld
music Eric Sleichim
costumes An d’Huys
vidéo Tal Yarden

production Toneelgroep Amsterdam
avec le soutien de Emmerique Granpré Moliere

length 4 heures

avec le soutien du Cercle Giorgio Strehler

The Fountainhead d’Ayn Rand avec l’autorisation de Curtis Brown Ltd. © 1943. Tous droits réservés

Director

Ivo van Hove

Né en 1958 à Heist-op-den-Berg (Belgique), Ivo van Hove a commencé sa carrière en 1981-82 en créant ses propres pièces : Geruchten (Rumeurs) et Ziektekiemen (Germes).
De 1990 à 2000 il a dirigé le Zuidelijk Toneel d’Eindhoven, ainsi que le Holland Festival entre 1998 et 2004. Il prend la tête du Toneelgroep Amsterdam en 2001.
Il y met en scène, entre autres, Angels in America de Tony Kushner, Opening Night et Husbands de John Cassavetes, Rocco et ses frères de Luchino Visconti, Théorème de Pier Paolo Pasolini, Antonioni-project d’après Michelangelo Antonioni, Cris et chuchotements d’Ingmar Bergman, La voix humaine de Jean Cocteau, La trilogie de la villégiature de Carlo Goldoni, Les enfants du Soleil de Maxime Gorki.
Ivo van Hove a présenté des productions au Festival d’Édimbourg, à la Biennale de Venise, au Festival de Hollande, à Theater der Welt (Allemagne), aux Wiener Festwochen (Autriche), mais a aussi travaillé à Londres, au Canada, à Lisbonne, Paris, Vérone, Hanovre, Porto, au Caire, en Pologne, à New York... Il a également monté de nombreux opéras.
En 2010, il crée Le Misanthrope (Der Menschenfeind) de Molière à la Schaubühne de Berlin, spectacle présenté aux Ateliers Berthier de l’Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe en mars 2012.
A View from the Bridge (Vu du pont) d’Arthur Miller, monté au Young Vic Theater de Londres le 4 avril 2014, lui a valu le Critics’ Circle Award 2015.
En 2015, Paris accueille Antigone de Sophocle avec Juliette Binoche (Théâtre de la Ville), puis la création aux Ateliers Berthier de Vu du pont. Il en reprend la version anglaise à Broadway, puis crée en novembre 2015 l’ultime projet de David Bowie : Lazarus, et revient en janvier 2016 au Théâtre de Chaillot avec Kings of War, d’après Shakespeare. Avec la troupe de la Comédie-Française, Ivo van Hove a été invité par le Festival d’Avignon à créer Les Damnés, d’après Visconti, à l’été 2016 dans la Cour d’honneur du Palais des Papes.

 

À écouter : l'émission hors-champ de France Culture. Laure Adler recevait Ivo van Hove le 16 juin 2016.

 

Excerpt

– Je suis enchanté de cet entretien, déclara brusquement le doyen d’une voix trop forte.
Il a allégé ma conscience. Maintenant je suis persuadé, comme on l’a déclaré ce matin à notre réunion, que l’architecture n’est pas une profession pour vous. J’ai d’abord essayé de vous aider. Mais maintenant je partage les vues du Comité. Vous n’êtes pas un homme à encourager.
Vous êtes dangereux.
– Pour qui ? demanda Roark.

Ayn Rand : La Source vive, éditions Plon, 1997, trad. Jane Fillion