The East Complex is a three-act dramatic work consisting of an opera within a drama.
This is a master project of both Riles Walsh (Mmus Composition, Royal Conservatory Ghent) and Stefan Aleksić(MA Drama, KASK School of Art, Ghent). They are closely collaborating with scenographer & theatremaker Yannick Verweij and an international- and diverse group of artists, students and young professionals from various conservatoires and art schools.
The story revolves around Agnieszka Petrowska, a cleaner who escaped destitution and war in her hometown in the East, and now struggles to make a living in her newly adoptive country.
Through moments of reflection, she imagines herself as a powerful god-like being in search of the perfect physical manifestation of the Western ideal.
Aleksić's text pays homage to the female members of his family who migrated from Bosnia to Switzerland and spent their lives cleaning, ending up exhausted, ill, and disfigured. He merges his own position as an immigrant in Belgium with his mother's experience of working illegally as a cleaner in the West.
This work is Riles Walsh’s alunissage - a fractal synecdoche of inhabitation. It is a tribute to a lost family member, a reflection on identity and the struggles of existence.
The 'East Complex' delves into the complex and interrelated systems that govern our lives.
What becomes of the people, heavily utilized by a system, that are often overlooked by a majority?
Performances were held at Opera Ballet Vlaanderen and Minardschouwburg in Ghent, Belgium.
Composition, Sound Design, Libretto Adaptation: Riles Walsh
Libretto & Dramaturgy: Stefan Aleksić
Stage Direction, Scenography, Video Design, Graphic Design: Yannick Verweij
Conductor: Ronan Whittern
Film Director: Liv de Coninck
Associate Video Design: Joske Commandeur
Costume Design: Leonidas Kanavetsados
Production- & Stage Management: Gijs de Jonge
Sound Technician: Daan Vanreybrouck
Cast: Emma Nelson, Leonor Biu, Moa Karlsson, Katherine Koester, Noriko Yakushiji, Alberto Martínez, Thomas Vandenabeele, Maria Eichler, Anne-Laure Dollie, Florencia Molinero, Vahe Harutyunyan
Instrumentalists: Yan Rui, Ostap Bachynskyy, Jose Usma, Daniel Aztatzi, Louis De Backere, Wouter Willems
Photography by Yannick Verweij (portraits) and Danny Kaan (stage photography)