The theatre group De Daders was founded in 1993 by the director and mime performer Jan Langedijk. The name of the group describes precisely what occupies De Daders in the theatre. The marvellous, ingenious structures of persons, things and sounds that Langedijk has been creating for almost twenty years are actually all concerned with the act, with the action. With the relationship between the person and the act. With people who do things, and with things that do things to people.

Speech is rare in De Daders’ performances, which therefore tour abroad a great deal. Langedijk and his performers become physically involved in situations that they have (helped) to create themselves, but which in no time at all run away with them. What starts as the laying of a table, ends up as a dizzying throwing and passing scene with its own bizarre logic, which exceeds the will of the individuals who are laying the table (Echo, 1993). The entering and furnishing of a wooden house has the ‘unforeseen’ result of the house falling apart piece by piece in a fantastic grand finale in Sur Place (1995). And the sounds that the performers produce ‘by accident’ in the radio-play studio of Flus (2001) around the recordings, turn out to be perfect material for the radio play that is heard at the end of the performance.

Langedijk portrays intended and unintended actions, conscious and unconscious behaviour as relative concepts. He often mixes up cause and effect, reverses the sequence, so that the difference between perpetrator and victim is blurred. The dryly humorous conflict between person and material in Langedijk’s performances is akin to filmic slapstick, and poses the same philosophic questions about the human will: do we ourselves actually have any influence, or are we determined by our inner reflexes and by the worldly course of things?

With his analytical view Langedijk is a true representative of modern mime as it has developed in the Netherlands around the mime programme in Amsterdam. A form of theatre that starts both with a body that is related to the space, and also with the (de)construction of movements, actions and scenes.
Langedijk called his first three performances ‘constructions for movement’. Constructions also frequently determine the ingenious sets that surround Langedijk and his performers on stage, and which he designs himself. They are the constructions of a DIY enthusiast with an excess of imagination: whereby rough materials are ‘assembled’ with ropes and pulleys, clamps and weights. Constructions that are intended to be moved (in).

Since 2001 De Daders have concentrated more on new media. Langedijk has created three performances in which the computer has played a major role as an instrument to store and reproduce sounds. The loops and toggles that comprised Langedijk’s sets were supplemented by microphones and cables, and the sound-artist Murray Campbell appeared on stage as a co-performer. But the technological addition has the effect of making Langedijk’s theatre even more sensory: by separating the image and the accompanying sound Langedijk promotes confusion between hearing and seeing. The slapstick-confusion now also extends to the relationship between the person and the computer.
Together with Julian Maynard Smith and the English Station House Opera, De Daders created an exceptional form of video theatre in 1999: A Fieldguide to Imaginary Behaviour. The wordless actions of actors on the stage were reflected on the rear-wall projection, but with subtle differences. As if the video image showed the dreamed reality and the performance of the actors ‘real’ life. Truth and fantasy, observation and illusion were intertwined, as in all performances by Jan Langedijk.

During 2003 Langedijk has been collaborating with the theatre-maker/dancer Frans Poelstra on the family performance Midas. For the first time in De Daders’ work a story forms the basis of a performance. In this Greek myth about King Midas the story and the performance style particularly are treated in the manner for which De Daders are renowned.
A new performance will be prepared for the autumn of 2004 with Julian Maynard Smith.