De verbeelding van de natie. De naoorlogse massaspelen van Carel Briels
Jaap van Osta
Universiteit van Utrecht, NL
Jaap van Osta is historicus en werkzaam als universitair docent aan de Universiteit van Utrecht. Zijn interesse voor de geschiedenis van de monarchie sedert de Franse Revolutie mondde uit in tal van publicaties, waaronder Het theater van de Staat. Oranje, Windsor en de moderne monarchie (1998).
The imagination of the nation. The postwar crowd stagings by Carel Briels
Carel Briels is remembered as 'the' man of the grand spectacle. He started his career on stage at a young age and has since feit a fascination for crowd direction, for historical plays with an emphasis on heroism and patriotism. His dream was to become the founding father of the Dutch state theater. He did undisputedly become well known for his achievements as an art director: he used to be called the Cecil B. de Mille of the Netherlands and the Napoleon of crowd direction. He was an enthusiastic art director and had no problems whatsoever with publicity. On the contrary. He liked to approach the media in order to be able to explain what, why and when he was doing in his staging. He feit the public needed to be informed en was very keen on correcting possible misunderstandings - and he was firmly convinced of being misunderstood on a regular basis - relative to his representations and on giving comments on the way his work was appreciated. His ideal, or even his life work, was the depiction of the grandeur of the Dutch nation. That was his message to the Dutch — and he was of course very disappointed about the fact that this message didn't come through. The truth is the duchy people didn't care much about the nation's so-called greatness. So at the end when the time came to draw up the balance of his life, he had to admit that his attempts had been in vain. He had failed, or, more precisely, he feit the Dutch people had failed him: the Dutch had let him down... In short, he came to the sad conclusion the Netherlands were too small for a man of the stature of Briels.