Who Killed My Father

Dir. Ivo van Hove Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Kingdom of the Netherlands

Ivo van Hove adapts Who Killed My Father, by literary sensation Édouard Louis, for the stage. Van Hove turns the very outspoken book into a monologue, especially for Hans Kesting.

It is a gripping story about a father who is reduced to a physical and mental wreck at the age of fifty after years of hard work in heavy industry in the north of France. It is just as much a furious indictment of the political elite as a declaration of love by a son to his father. Édouard Louis also writes about how he, as a young homosexual, was ostracized by his own working-class family. I will make a monologue for Hans Kesting from this brazen, brilliant text. – Ivo van Hove

A furious indictment of the political elite.
The anger-soaked Who killed my father is written in the form a letter to his father. Louis found his inspiration in a visit he paid to his father after not seeing him for some time, finding him almost unrecognizable. The man had become ill and aged prematurely, the result of a life marked by alcohol, social deprivation, hard work, and an industrial accident. Louis explains this to the elite, for whom politics is primarily an ‘aesthetic issue’: they engage in politics that has virtually no influence on their lives. The underclass, on the other hand, is devastated by cutbacks in benefits.

According to the French weekly L’Opinion, the book is read in the Élysée – the official residence of the French president. Louis’ diagnosis would align perfectly with Emmanuel Macron’s. The writer himself sees it very differently. “My book is against who you are and what you do,” he tweeted to Macron. “I write to disgrace you.”


Who killed my father
after the book by Édouard Louis

translation, adaptation and directed by: Ivo van Hove | with: Hans Kesting
scenography and lighting: Jan Versweyveld | costumes: An D’Huys | music: George Dhauw

producer: Ivo van Hove / ITA-ensemble | co-producer: deSingel Antwerp | private producer: Jeroen van Ingen and Jaap Kooijman, Bertil van Kaam
assistant director: Olivier Diepenhorst | assistant scenography: Bart van Merode | production: Inge Zeilinga, Edith den Hamer (hoofd) | head of technique & production department: Reyer Meeter | stage manager: Kevin Cuijvers, Bart Coenen, Zinzi Kemper, Manon van Nouland, Dennis van Scheppingen | costume department: Farida Bouhbouh, Wim van Vliet (hoofd) | photography: Jan Versweyveld

date of the premiere: 1.06.2020



Merciless and moving portrait.

de Volkskrant

Hans Kesting overwhelms in theatrical version Who Killed My Father.


Who killed my father is a merciless and moving portrait of an underprivileged man, in a milieu where poverty and drunkenness are passed on from father to son.

De Volkskrant

Intense and beautifully played by Kesting who effortlessly switches from a sick old man to a young boy craving for his father’s attention.


The performance shows that one actor with a strong text on an almost bare stage can ruthlessly get under the skin of the audience.


Fragile and strongly played solo.


Hans Kesting brings father and son to life with broad gestures.




IVO VAN HOVE is a highly regarded theatre and opera director. He’s one of the pillars of the European theatre. His career began in 1981, when he staged his own dramas, such as Ziektekiemen and Geruchten. Very soon, he started to lead one stage after another as artistic director, at first the Flemish AKT, Akt-Vertikaal and De Tijd. Between 1990 and 2000, he was the director of Het Zuidelijk Toneel in Eindhoven. For six years (1998–2004), he also managed the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, each year inviting his own selection of international theatre, music, opera and dance performances. He lectures in the drama department of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. Since 2001, van Hove is the general director of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, renamed ITA ensemble in 2018. Productions directed by him are presented at all important European festivals. He is also very often invited to guest direct, for example in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, London and Paris, as well as in the US – in the New York Theater Workshop, he staged – among others – More Stately Mansions by Eugene O’Neill and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (for directing both those productions he received the prestigious Obie Award). He works also for the theatre of the public TV station NPS. His separate directorial passion is opera. His output includes many important opera productions. In the Flemish Opera in Antwerp he staged, among others, the entire cycle The Ring of Nibelung by Wagner. For Joop van den Ende Theaterproducties, he staged Jonathan Larson’s famous musical Rent. The most famous of van Hove’s productions from recent years, played by the company of Toneelgroep Amsterdam, are, among others, Angels in America by Tony Kushner, The Human Voice by Jean Cocteau, The Russians! by Tom Lanoye based on Platonov and Ivanov by Anton Chekhov, Opening Night by John Cassavetes, Rocco and His Brothers by Luchino Visconti, Teorema by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Antonioni Project as an homage to Michelangelo Antonioni, Summer Trilogy by Carlo Goldoni, Children of the Sun by Maxim Gorky, The Misanthrope by Molière, Maria Stuart by Friedrich Schiller, as well as two Shakespearean triptychs: Roman Tragedies on the basis of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, as well as Kings of War on the basis of Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III. Apart from that, in 2009 van Hove made a feature film Amsterdam with participation of many of the Toneelgroep actors and the American actress Marisa Tomei. The director likes to play with the staged material and to surprise the audience with unconventional spaces – for example in the adaptation of Faces by J. Cassavetes, which he prepared for Theater der Welt festival together with Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and Staatstheater in Stuttgart, viewers were sitting or lying… on beds. Among the many important awards Ivo van Hove received throughout his career, of particular importance is the Ordre des Arts and des Lettres given to him in 2004 by the French government. In January 2016, in the Grand Theatre-National Opera in Warsaw, the premiere of The Clemency of Titus by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart directed by him took place (a co-production with Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels).