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Our only unique @hollandfestivalspecial #2: inspiration and constriction in the first week #hf18

Our Thea Derks sat watching a traffic light for a few hours on Thursday 7 June and observed that the music was better. It happened during the opening of the 2018 Holland Festival. In the tradition of Ruth Mackenzie, the opening was of mixed reception, which is actually a good thing. Even at a time when the Amsterdam Arts Council, in an opinion on the Stedelijk Museum, is making a plea against the hunt for the blockbuster, it's nice when your first night is not an instant audience hit. There will be plenty of opportunity for that later during this festival.

Richters Patterns @Hollandfestival: Traffic light jumps to red, traffic light jumps to green


What certainly struck, and will continue to strike, is Steve McQueen's unique installation, in Shed 6. Helen Westerik went to see it and was deeply impressed. She wrote: '...a strange kind of voyeurism also crept up on me. I want to know everything about documents that I don't think should be there at all. And that makes me think about my position as a viewer and as a citizen, as a member of a society...'

Steve mcQueen's End Credits buzzes long after

Liberating energy

That same evening, Maarten Baanders travelled to Kata, a performance that had previously been previewed by Fransien van der Putt. Maarten was enthusiastic, it turned out: 'The fighting movements radiate a liberating energy. A completely different force, then, from the destructive purposefulness of the real fighter. With every movement, individually or between partners facing each other, you experience how wonderful the human body is when it sharpens itself to fight for its own survival. And at the same time, there is an understanding, a kinship, among the dancers. They are razor-sharp in tune with each other. The austerity makes every gesture apt without turning the other off. Everything is precisely chosen, without losing energy to drifting movements.'

'Kata' shows at @hollandfestival how inspiring a peaceful fight can be (review)

Next week

And then it's time again for the preview. Thea Derks talks about a composer and his wife, and how she overcame an addiction. And about how the composer of modern classical started something with a bondage mistress who could also sing. Or vice versa. Read the remarkable story here:

Hyena by Georg Friedrich Haas: how Mollena Williams-Haas kicked off her alcohol addiction #HF18

Other than that, this week is full of things to do. I myself will be watching tonight's performance on Sex and Anxiety where Henri Drost recently wrote a fascinating account.

A tense conversation about anxiety and sex early Sunday morning: The String Quartet's Guide to Sex and Anxiety @HollandFestival

On Friday, Fransien van der Putt goes to Chorus, and on Saturday I visit IJburg, in preparation for a performance later this festival: Octavia E Butler's Parable of the Sower, which I will then also see next Wednesday.

And on

Helen Westerik is doing the film classic Der Müde Tod that evening, while I'm going to mentally wrap up on Sunday afternoon prepare on the Bowie special at the Proms, on 23 June. That evening, Fransien van der Putt visits the performance The Way you sound tonight, which Maarten Baanders previously did a nice preview of.

Arno Schuitemaker @hollandfestival: 'I want to find a new way, a new vocabulary, that has not yet been seen in my previous work.'

I am actually curious to know which performances resonate most with you, our readers. You can use the reaction option on this site to do so. Come, join in and make your love count!

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The Holland Festival continues throughout this month. Information

Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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