Photo: Denise Amber

A monologue with 840 ‘mandatory’ words

Choreograph Ahilan Ratnamohan is an Australian with Sri Lanka roots. Following his big soccer dream, he came to Europe, yet ultimately ended up in the theatre world. During his first years in Belgium he compiled a list of 840 Dutch words he didn’t know yet. Words he came across in books, articles and brochures circulating in the art world. For a long time this list just remained in the back of his head, until one day in 2020 he felt the sudden urge to have a go at the Dutch language once again.

In Alle woorden die ik nog niet kende Ahilan tries to use all 840 words on his list in one single monologue. This raises various questions about language; literally as well as on a societal and political level. For why is he trying to improve his Dutch at this particular time? What does it mean to inherit a ‘Thierry Baudet’ word? Is it really meant as a compliment if somebody says your Dutch is quite good? And will Ahilan’s ‘fellow migrants’ be even able to understand this monologue at all?

Ahilan Ratnamohan received the TheaterTekstTalent Stipendium, allowing him to write this very performance. It is an prestigious incentive award for innovative playwrights.