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Feminism, fluid relationships and CabaRap: in conversation with three Delft Fringe Festival creators

The talents that emerged on the second 'Maker's Day', late April, preparing for the Delft Fringe Festival, do not do navel-gazing. They are more interested in social issues like feminism, cancel culture and the influence of social media. They explore this through music, dance, theatre or cabaret. 

The atmosphere is relaxed at Theater de Veste in Delft. Here, a select group of creators at the beginning of their performing arts career get tips on how to market themselves better from Tamara Griffioen, artistic director of the festival. They also brainstorm on short acts to parade on the streets and entice audiences to come to their performances. The consensus: the less mainstream, the better. Finally, their own performance is also scrutinised. There is no rivalry between the different makers. Instead, they exchange tips and experiences and are genuinely interested in each other's art disciplines. Everyone is eager to perform soon and introduce their act to the world. We spoke to three different budding artists, all of whom have a different take on everyday challenges.

NORA- a POP concert

Danielle Deddens by Anna Perger

Daniëlle Deddens (23) graduated as an actress and singer from Codarts music theatre in Rotterdam last year. In her musical solo 'NORA- a POP concert', she searches for the woman who is in everyone, but is suppressed time and again by the socially approved 'puppet'. The performance is inspired by 'A Doll's House', an 1880s play by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen, which focuses on women's emancipation. Main character Nora is treated as a puppet by her authoritarian husband and at one point decides to leave everything (including children) behind; revolutionary at the time. Danielle uses the character Nora from The Doll's House as an alter ego to tell her own feminist story. "The performance is about a woman who is given so little space in her own body that she leaves and only a doll remains," Deddens says. "Because so much is expected of me, I never got the chance to find out who I really am as a woman. The performance explores how to find this woman then."

Breaking free from the doll

NORA- a POP concert begins with Barbie-pink-suited Daniëlle reflecting on various examples of basic feminism, such as the pay gap. After that, the performance becomes increasingly poetic and personal. The music is inspired by German-American composer Kurt Weill and takes on an increasingly raucous edge. The play ends with a self-composed pop song (pun intended) in English.

"I often feel underestimated and act accordingly; I want people to like and love me," says Deddens. "But the alter ego Nora inspires me to break free from pop myself. I not only play Nora, but also Danielle who plays Nora and breaks free from her own pattern. Moreover, through an alter ego I discover new sides of myself. For example, I struggle to make myself hot to find, but in this character I feel very confident."

Next theatre season, Daniëlle will play in Bostheaterproducties' NEEhoorn musical. She is also artist in residence at Karavaan, a non-profit foundation and cultural ANBI whose core activity is the annual Karavaan Festival in the Greater Alkmaar region.

'But what if we'

Emma Thomson and Marivi van den Hooff. Photo by Chiara Scharver

Emma Thomson (23) and Mariví van den Hooff (21) met in 2020, when they were both starting their bachelor of contemporary dance at Fontys in Tilburg. They became friends and their connection also manifested itself artistically. Thus, the dance duo Emma & Mariví was born. Now they are in their internship year and are working on several dance projects such as festival Tilburg in Motion (Emma) and the tour of STORM, part of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam (Mariví).

Fluid relationships

Emma & Mariví's dance style is modern, personal and down-to-earth. Above all, they want the audience to think about how they relate to another person. The theme of the performance 'But what if we' is the human relationship: how it emerges, changes and disappears. "It is a play of encounters and a moment of goodbye and is about friendship, family or lovers," Mariví says. "We explore this together and use a lot of partner work and each other's bodies. Furthermore, we use our own experiences and feelings as inspiration. Sometimes we interview people, to bring their experiences and emotions back into our choreographies."

Right now, for Emma & Mariví themselves, as early twentysomethings, many things are also in flux. They are thinking about where they will live, how they want to shape their careers and find that their relationships and friendships are also changing as a result. "We want to give that a place through dance," says Emma.

CabaRap

Rashid Dijks - CabaRap, the Ubuntu Remix - Photographer_ Laura Bakker.

Rashid Dijks (29) initially wanted to become the new Denzel Washington, but discovered he enjoys making things up himself much more. After completing his HBO Cabaret studies at the Koningstheateracademie (KTA) in Den Bosch, Dijks is in a development phase. He does a lot of open mics and is slowly discovering who he is on stage. His dream? Putting on a hip-hop concert in cabaret form. The first steps are already being taken in his performance 'CabaRap, the Ubuntu remix', in which he combines hip-hop with cabaret. He calls this 'CabaRap'. It's all about the music (he writes all the hip-hop songs himself) and occasionally there is a short skit that provides enough context for the next song. Connection, and especially the lack of it, is an important topic for Rashid. "Because of social media, people seek each other out less and because of the 'woke culture', people pretend to be different than they are and don't really listen," he says. In his performance, he therefore wants to explore where the right balance lies, to experience true connection. He prefers to do this through hip-hop, the 'raw art form' that made him feel connected to both the audience and the artist for the first time. 

Currently, Dijks writes his own cabaret songs, often about cultural differences or awkward social contact. He also stars in the musical BARE, by MAE Stage Productions. 

Delft Fringe Festival takes place from 28 May to 9 June 2024. Information.

  • Daniëlle Deddens can be seen on 30 May at 8pm at houseboat Oostpoort on Zuidergracht 13 in Delft.
  • Emma&Marivi can be seen on 30 May at 7pm at the Cornelius Musius School on Prins Mauritsstraat 37 in Delft.
  • Rashid Dijks can be seen on 30 May at 20.00 at De Waag Delft, Markt 11 in Delft.

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Eugenia Melissen Ferrer

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