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Mathieu Wijdeven

23 april 2021

When his mother quotes a poem by her great-grandfather, Mathieu Wijdeven (1991) decides to research what he can find out about his ancestor named G.G.T. Rustwijk (1862-1914). During his search he gets hold of ‘The why answered’. A theater text written by Rustwijk that he presented in 1911 as a one-man show in Paramaribo.

When reading the play, Mathieu realizes that he must honor Rustwijk with his own one-man show. In The why answered he tries to bring his great-great-grandfather back to life. He evokes the past through the story of his quest. At the same time, this leads to questions about his identity in the Netherlands today.

Mathieu’s preliminary research for The why answered consisted of a street research as well as a family tree research. Mathieu made a sculpture in the shape of a head, based on a portrait of G.G.T. Rustwijk, and traveled through Rotterdam neighborhoods. He spoke to passers-by about Rustwijk and asked people, among other things, what they know about their family tree. Watch the short documentary above.

The why answered is the first production that Mathieu makes under the wings of Production House Theater Rotterdam.

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