Female Economy

Is.Man about

Is.Man is a play that tells the story of male migrants who came to the Netherlands to live and work in the 1960s and 70s. It’s based on the many conversations Adelheid had with some of these men, and the subject she reluctantly arrived at: honour crime.

Just as reluctantly, she was let in on these stories while sharing their meals and playing tric-trac. She visited prisons where she spoke with offenders. She talked with family members, the police, the law, migrant organisations and the children of offenders. Honour crime is a deeply rooted tradition, a cultural phenomenon that most Dutch people find difficult to understand. And that’s where the challenge lay for Adelheid. It’s now part of our own story, rooted in our own Dutch history. But how can we find a way to open our arms to it?


Adelheid transformed the interviews into a poetic narrative, the story of a single perpetrator, incited to carry out the deed by his father. The story is told from the perspective of Furkan, the perpetrator’s son, by two actors, both with dual nationality – one is Turkish-Dutch and the other is Palestinian-Dutch. A dervish dancer whirls Mercy, and a Kurdish musician opens up his heart to Grief.

The lyrics of the english version is in the Office for sale


With the film recording of the play under her arm, Adelheid set off into various parts of Amsterdam, accompanied by honour crime expert Sezai Aydogan. She screened the film at community centres for an audience of people who aren’t used to going to the theatre, and for whom honour crime is a part of their culture, and perhaps even part of their own lives. They talked to each other in open dialogue about honour-related crime, taboo issues, and their emotions.


The film recording of the play formed the basis of a two-hour workshop for students in higher vocational education. The workshop combined a screening of the film with assignments that led to a better understanding of the motives that lead to honour crime. Just how much pressure can a family exert? And how important is it to gain an understanding of other cultures? Experts who work with perpetrators and victims of honour crime worked with students, and together they looked into what honour meant to them, what defines honour, and at what point honour is threatened. How should you go about making it possible to talk about the subject? And what can we, as a society, do to prevent honour crime being committed in the future? 


Honour crime has nothing to do with religion

'Roosen’s crusade against ignorance of other cultures started with the quote from Handke: 'The unknown woman was so beautiful that I recognised her.' "That encapsulates what I want to say with my theatre work," says Roosen. “This sense of curiosity about the Other is something I don’t see enough of in our society.”
In Is.Man, Roosen has an actor say these words: “You people like to watch Greek drama, and see Orestes murdering his mother, for example. You clap politely, take a glass of wine and talk about the play. You say, ‘How beautiful! Greek drama. It’s part of our culture.’ But if you hear about out our honour crimes, our culture has to be destroyed.’ This caused a storm of reactions from people who interpreted this as meaning that Roosen was defending honour crime.
"What I’m trying to demonstrate is that tragedies such as Oresteia and Medea are repeated in our society too. Because honour crime belongs to our society. […] It’s not something we can stay in denial about. This is our history. And it’s something we’re going to have to sort out together."'

Let me explain

'Adelheid Roosen took her time with her men. The result is theatre at its finest, shaking their heads and with open arms, the makers face the audience. […] As the evening progresses Brader Musiki breaks our hearts with his voice and music that makes us tremble from head to toe. […]
I emerged from IS.MAN utterly broken. I couldn’t utter a word for hours. I couldn’t get the things I had seen – or the music, the stories and Incantatory Dance of the Heavens – out of my mind.'

The avenger speaks
'Roosen wrote a text for Is.Man that can be experienced as a long and sometimes horrific poem, written in language that almost amounts to a new form of Dutch, a language that might easily have come from the mouth of real perpetrators. Is.Man does nothing to avoid the most serious of subjects. Roosen puts three generations onstage: the perpetrator in jail, the son to whom the perpetrator wants to give his account, and the perpetrator’s father. […] The story is told in a raging, furiously paced torrent of words, sometimes in fits and starts.'

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Is.Man on tour


Is.Man has been translated and played in 3 languages: Dutch, English and Turkish.


Nov 08 I Festival Garajstanbul I Istanbul


01 apr - 31 mrt 08 I Amman International Theatre Festival I Amman


19 apr 08 I C.C. Ter Vesten BB I Beveren-Waas
12 apr 08 I Provinciaal Centrum voor Muziek, Casino I Beringen
11 apr 08 I C.C. ter Dilft I Bornem  
10 apr 08 I Auditorium Limburghal I Genk
05 apr 08 I C.C. Zwaneberg I Heist-Op-Den-Berg
04 apr 08 I Centrum De Zwerver I Leffinge
03 apr 08 I C.C. 't Vondel I Halle
29 mar 08 I G.C. Hoogendonck I Waasmunster
28 mar 08 I G.C. de Papeblok I Tervuren
27 mar 08 I C.C. de Brouckere I Torhout 
19 mar 08 I Cultuurcentrum Hasselt I Hasselt
18 mar 08 I Stadsschouwburg I Sint Niklaas 
16 mar 08 I Netwerk Oog in Oog I Gent 
16 mar 08 I Netwerk Oog in Oog I Gent
15 mar 08 I C.C. de Kollebloem I Puurs  
14 mar 08 I Stadsschouwburg Mechelen I Mechelen  
13 mar 08 I Zuiderpershuis I Antwerpen

06 apr 07 I C.C. De Werf I Aalst
03 - 04 apr 07 I Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg I Brussel


06 - 14 okt 07 I St. Ann's Warehouse I Brooklyn - New York


25 - 26 apr 08 I Podium Mozaiek I Amsterdam
23  -24 apr 08 I Theater De Lieve Vrouw I Amersfoort
16 apr 08 I Schouwburg De Meerse I Hoofddorp
04 - 08 mar 08 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam
29 feb 08 I Theater Idea I Soest 
28 feb 08 I Chassé Theater I Breda 
27 feb 08 I Kennemer Theater I Beverwijk 
26 feb 08 I Deventer Schouwburg I Deventer    
21 feb 08 I Isala Theater I Cappelle a/d IJssel
20 feb 08 I Stadsgehoorzaal Vlaardingen I Vlaardingen 
14 - 16 feb 08 I Rotterdamse Schouwburg I Rotterdam
12 feb 08 I Schouwburg I Almere-Stad
09 feb 08 I Schouwburg Agnietenhof I Tiel
07 feb 08 I Theater De Kom Nieuwegein 
06 feb 08 I Theater De Lampegiet I Veenendaal
01 feb 08 I Cultura I Ede
31 jan 08 I Theater 't Speelhuis I Helmond 
30 jan 08 I Theater Het Kruispunt I Barendrecht
29 jan 08 I Theater De Fransche School I Culemborg

16 apr 07 I Theater De Vest I Alkmaar
11 apr 07 I Toneelschuur I Haarlem  
10 apr 07 I Agora Theater I Lelystad
27 - 31 mar 07 I De Brakke Grond I Amsterdam
18 mar 07 Theater De Maaspoort I Venlo 
16 mar 07 I Het Trefpunt I Warmond
13 - 14 mar 07 I De Goudse Schouwburg I Gouda
09 mar 07 I Stadspodia Leiden/Leidse Schouwburg I Leiden 
08 mar 07 I Theaters Tilburg I Tilburg 
07 mar 07 I Schouwburg Amphion I Doetinchem 
03 - 04 mar 07 I De Meervaart I Amsterdam
02 mar 07 I Theater De Stoep I Spijkenisse
01 mar 07 I Schouwburg & Congrescentrum Het Park I Hoorn 
27 - 28 feb 07 I Theater aan het Spui I The Hague  
24 feb 07 I Schouwburg I Amstelveen  
22 feb 07 I Stadstheater I Zoetermeer 
15 - 16 feb 07 I Stadsschouwburg I Groningen 
13 - 14 feb 07 I Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie I Leeuwarden
11 feb 07 I Thalia theater I IJmuiden  
09 - 10 feb 07 I Theater Zuidplein I Rotterdam
07 feb 07 I Theater De Purmaryn I Purmerend
02 feb 07 I Schouwburg Kunstmin I Dordrecht
31 jan 07 I Twentse Schouwburg Enschede
27 jan 07 I Theater Odeon I Zwolle
26 jan 07 I Schouwburg Orpheus I Apeldoorn 
25 jan 07 I Theater aan de Parade I Den Bosch
24 jan 07 I Schouwburg I Arnhem 
19 - 20 jan 07 I Stadsschouwburg  Utrecht
16 jan 07 I Theater de Veste I Delft 
03 - 13 jan 07 I Theater Frascati I Amsterdam

22 dec 06 I Theater De Fransche School I Culemburg   
21 dec 06 I Westlandtheater de Naald Naaldwijk 
19 dec 06 I Theater De Lieve Vrouw I Amersfoort
18 dec 06 I Parktheater I Eindhoven
15 dec 06 I Het Klooster I Woerden 
14 dec 06 I LUX Theater I Nijmegen 
13 dec 06 I De Rijswijkse Schouwburg I Rijswijk  
12 dec 06 I Theater Achterom I Hilversum
08 dec 06 I Theater Castellum I Alphen a/d Rijn


25 nov 09 I Ministerie van VWS Conferentie I The Hague
09 jun 09 I GGD Conferentie in Felix Meritus I Amsterdam
19 feb 09 I ROC in Het Sieraad I Amsterdam
18 feb 09 I Stichting Assadaaka in de Meevaart I Amsterdam
16 feb 09 I Stichting Enderun I Amsterdam
15 feb 09 I Stichting Yanyana in buurthuis Ons Huis I Amsterdam
06 feb 09 I Tiscc in de moskee I Amsterdam
06 feb 09 I Fetih in het buurthuis I Amsterdam
01 feb 09 I De Schaffelaar I Amsterdam
27 jan 09 I ROC in Het Sieraad I Amsterdam
18 jan 09 I De Schaffelaar I Amsterdam
15 jan 09 I De Poldermoskee I Amsterdam

14 dec 08 I Sipi in Het Sieraad I Amsterdam
22 nov 08 I Fedkom in het Koerdisch Centrum I Amsterdam


10 mar 11 I Saxion Hogeschool I Deventer
09 feb 11 Haagse Hogeschool I Den Haag
15 apr 10 I Podium Oude Slot I Heemstede
Nov 08 I Festival Garajstanbul I Istanbul

Is.Man credits


Text & director I Adelheid Roosen
Cast I Taco van Dijk, Yasar Üstüner, 
Youssef Sjoerd Idilbi, Drachten 7 may 1976 - Amsterdam 15 may 2008 
Musician I Brader Musiki
Derwish dancers I Tashin Sürücü, Oruç Sürücü, Achmad Pattisahusiwa

Artistic consultancy I Titus Muizelaar
Dramaturgy I Dirkje Houtman
Composition I Boudewijn Tarenskeen
Adaption I Parkstudio Bakker / Haworth
Voice I Nalin Musiki
Video I Joanneke Meester
Scenery I Harry de Dood
Light design I Geldof, Verhaart & den Ottolander
Theatre technician I Ruud Leenhoven, Bas van Koetsveld
Producer I Stichting Female Economy
Executive producer I Mieke Baars
Bookings & publicity I Bos Theaterproducties
Casting I Kemna Casting, Marc van Bree, Dennis Overeem
Research I Emine Igdi, Ahmet Olgun, Nayat Elmarsee
Production I Janneke den Engelsen
Trainee I Suzanne Reindersma
Graphic design I Sander Plug
Photography Adelheid Roosen I Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm
Photography Actors I Jouk Oosterhof
Scene photographie I Ben van Duin
Printing I Drukwerkfabriek


Concept I Adelheid Roosen
Expert I Sezai Aydogan, Turkey 10 dec 1968 - Turkey 13 jul 2012
Musician I Brader Musiki

Producer I Stichting Female Economy
Executive producer I Mieke Baars


Concept I Adelheid Roosen
Production I Adinda Arian & Dirkje Houtman
Producer I Stichting Female Economy


Sinan Can, Deniz Gezik, Sinan Cihangir, Adrian Brine, Ceren Taygun, Tom Johnston, Maria Scali, Jale Simsek, TransAct, Malika Kaddair, Sherief Muktar, Mary Kragtwijk, Jacques Visser, HTIB, Lotte Nelissen, Animal handler Marianne Scherps, The Black Riders, Gerrie Scherps, Ryan Boerelief, Floor van Zutphen, Moskee Baitur Rahmaa Ridderkerk, Ministerie van Justitie - Dienst Justitiële Inrichtingen, Politie Haaglanden, Rodney Bos, Hans Dowit, Marian van Amesfoort, Naema Tahir, Hans Kemna, Liesbeth Maas, Theatergezelschap Kassys, Stichting Orkater, Theatercollectief The Glasshouse, Theater De Engelenbak, Maureen de Jong, Reyhan Erdogan, Elly Ludenhof, Stichting Beeldenstorm, Femme Hammer, Stichting Kezban, de heer Maasop, Marina Kaptijn, Nicolien de Jong, Stichting ZIP, Krijn Versprille.

Foundations that enabled this project I
Fonds voor de Amateurkunst en Podiumkunsten, LIRA fonds, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting DOEN, VSBfonds, Oxfam Novib, Fonds 1818

With humble thanks to all the men and women that were interviewed.