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Why you should go to Snorder (while you still can)

The theatre project 'Snorder' once began as the soap opera that closed the long evenings at the festival Hollandse Nieuwe. A festival for new playwrights, first in theatre Cosmic, later in MC. Both Amsterdam theatres no longer exist in the meantime, neither does Hollandse Nieuwe. But director John Leerdam and his crew have now been given the space for a revival at de Balie in Amsterdam.

You get what you expect. The setting - an illegal taxi company in the Bijlmer - exudes slapstick even before a word is said. Sharp writing by Jenny Mijnheimer, Manoushka Zeegelaar-Breeveld, Paulette Smit and Robert Vuijsje. An almost eerily smooth soundtrack by DJ Love Supreme. And a cacophony of Surinamese, Antillean, Dutch, Indian and other actors. A real soap opera, in other words. Skilfully and at pace. With a storyline that keeps everything and everyone moving but which really does not matter at all. Jokes, dances, costumes, throws - you want it, you get it.

But you get even more. Much more. These actors all know how to play the caricature of a character while showing that you know how to play the caricature of a character. And that's where it gets dangerous, because this is a soap opera about a town full of stereotypes. And all of them are exposed and played to smithereens with broad laughter: Snorders are moonlighters; moonlighters are Poles; so there is also a Polish snorder. Who happily rotates among the voluptuous ladies, high-heeled faggots, militant fighters and bling-bling machos with small hearts.

But the black Pole has a friend. Who visits from Poland and is shocked that he has to work for blacks. Whereupon those make her out to be a racist. And berate her that whites are never discriminated against. After which she delicately reminds them of World War II and all the whites who did not survive discrimination by Nazis and Soviets then.

Snorders and Nazis, Poles and Black Power? This is a soap opera on the cutting edge. Which in an hour sweeps together all the burning issues we normally prefer to keep each in its own compartment, like salads in the supermarket, to keep things orderly for God's sake.

But life in a city is not clear-cut. Especially in the shadows of everyday life, where stereotypes hurt, one discrimination perpetuates another. If you want to dismantle it, you have to transcend the categories and look at the big picture: a city where everything has to do with everything and everyone with everyone.

In anticipation of the truly great minds who can do that, we have Snorder. Come to Amsterdam, go and see. One more time at de Balie, on 25 April, because after that it's over. This instant production with at least 15 top talents involved each time was made with little money. Until someone seriously wants to honour that something like Snorder can conjure the city out of its own cacophony, we have to wait for a sequel.

Good to know
Seen: 28 March, de Balie, Amsterdam
still to be seen: 25 April, de Balie

Chris Keulemans

Writer, journalist, moderator, lecturerView Author posts

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