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4 Reasons why theatre performance Light in Leidsche Rijn is not all that nice by chance

Light is the name of the latest production by NUT, a theatre company with close ties to Utrecht's Leidsche Rijn district. It is theatre in a bubble in Utrecht's largest city park, and it starts with good food and drink. I went to see it, and again became even more of a fan than I already was. A few reasons, why that came about.

1: Greg Nottrot is a master storyteller.

Greg Nottrot can summarise the classical tragedy Oidipus Rex between starter and main course in a few sentences including its entire pre-history, and that is quite a feat. For classical tragedies usually have quite a difference between the 'plot' to be played out on stage in an hour and a half and the sometimes centuries-long 'story'.

Like doing all of Game Of Thrones in one manageable episode. Matter of storytelling technique. As Greg masters it. Maybe also because he has Greek roots. In other words: a good storytelling tradition breeds master storytellers, so we should cherish those traditions. Saves a lot of streaming time, and in times of sustainability that is only to be welcomed.

2: Uri Rapaport can do magic with a single lamp

The theatrical road movie 'Light', which I am talking about now, contains another sustainable thingy. And we owe that to lighting designer Uri Rapaport. After all, this man, who has been working wonders in large and small theatre spaces (from the Johan Cruyff Arena to Theatre Kikker) for a couple of decades, likes to do things with one lamp. So he quite often omits the stage towers full of energy-guzzling theatre lighting, as he once did for Dirk Tanghe's direction of De Wereldverbeteraar, not entirely coincidentally exactly 25 years ago in Utrecht. A single lamp was enough to transform the theatre into an expressionist art space, thanks to the shadows cast by that lamp on a gigantic yellow cloth hanging in front of the stage opening.

'Light' features a few scenes in which, again, one lamp is enough for a world of theatrical effects.

3: I spoke to two Roman Catholic sisters from Ankeveen and an aviation engineer from Utrecht

Upon entering, between six and seven, you are seated at a long table with complete strangers in the nearby park restaurant Anafora. Then you can sit and stare in front of you the whole time, check your mobile, or engage in conversation and see what happens. I have always loved theatre performances where the meal is an integral part of the event, and I don't appear to be the only one.

It has been done for centuries, of course, with the ancient Greeks, but Shakespeare too wrote his funniest comedies (Twelfth Night) as part of a meal. Food and theatre go together, especially when drinks are also involved. It doesn't make you instant friends for life, but it makes you talk to people you would never talk to otherwise. That makes life richer.

That's also what makes summer festivals like Boulevard so much fun, and so it always works. The theatre could learn something from it. Down with the poshness!

4: Coincidence does not exist

Light's story is unrepeatable and true but not necessarily in that order. Ultimately, it revolves around whether or not coincidence exists. Greg Nottrot is open to the role of something up there, especially when it appears in the graceful form of Saint Lucia. Uri Rapaport does not believe in coincidence, but had to find out during the making process that his name means 'Light' in Hebrew. Still funny that, with his Jewish roots, he became a lighting designer.

Greg Nottrot holds all the power as narrator, which effectively makes him God in this performance. That, of course, is no coincidence. But much more turns out to be no coincidence in the story of Light.

Or is that the power of the narrator, who may shift dates here and there to give fate a hand?

Good to know Good to know

Light is yet to come along. Information.

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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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