Zenith, work in progress

Photo: Still from video recording O Festival Rotterdam

What is it like to feel like a stranger in your own body?

Director Tom Jaspers explores the relationship we have with our bodies and shapes it into music theater with newly written lyrics and music. The performer’s body and voice are given space to step outside the beaten path of stage and opera. A personal and intimate piece in which the audience sits around the square black mirror floor. Zenith is played by Jorien Zeevaart.

In five “screenshots” from the life of a transman, you get a visual image of his transition process, as well as an intimate glimpse into his process of becoming Jorien Zeevaart embodies and sings alternately the perspective of the transman himself and of the people around him. How do we look at our own bodies and those of others?

Lighting Design

The light plays along with the solo performer and has its own role. Together they tell the story full of associations, text and song. The position of the spotlights comes very close as the audience sits around the mirror floor. It proved challenging not to dazzle the audience with the reflection from the floor.

O.Lab Rotterdam 2022

Zenith is a research project of which some scenes were first presented in May 2022 in Rotterdam during the O. Festival. O. is an international festival for opera, music and theater at various locations in Rotterdam. The goal: to open up the art form of opera to give it meaning in the lives of a large and diverse audience. Zenith will have a sequel; a full-length performance will be created in 2024.


Concept, text and direction: Tom Jaspers
Inspired by: Interviews with Toby Chlosta
Performer: Jorien Zeevaart
Music composition: Yannick Wandel

Lighting design: Isabel Nielen, Theatermachine
Costume: Catarina Amarante Pavan
Construction Worm: Guus Broeren and technique Worm
Courtesy of: Aukes Theater Technology