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Actors have ambivalent feelings about 'awards circus', or Gala of Dutch Theatre #tf2010


A red carpet, lots of champagne and more hugging. It is a warm reunion for theatre country, the Gala van het Nederlands Theater in Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg. An exciting reunion too, as the most important Dutch stage awards will be awarded tonight.

More audience, fewer seats: Amsterdam Fringe a lot cozier this year, and better than last year #tf2010 #amsfringe

With over 12,000 visitors and an average occupancy rate of 70%, the organisers of the Amsterdam Fringe Festival say they have reason for pride. In a press release, they report that 'they managed to grow the number of visitors without losing the intimacy and experimental character of the Amsterdam Fringe Festival. ' How exactly we should see that.... 

Davis Freeman's investment show ironic reflection on money, power, individual and culture #decision

American Davis Freeman's multimedia show 'Investment' is initially reminiscent of Al Gore's PowerPoint show 'An Unconvenient Truth'. Three performers and a projection computer show the audience a whole range of investment options in a very routine and detailed manner. Initially sensible and sustainable, but soon whole other motives come into play. Piquant detail: everyone from the... 

Too much humour and not enough shuddering at De Warme Winkel's 'Poets and bandits' at Theatre Festival The International Choice #dekeuze

Snow has fallen, a thick layer of fresh snow. Fake snow admittedly, but real enough to imagine yourself in the middle of Russia. There, in the city of Sverdlovsk, or Yekaterinburg, once lived the man about whom the show 'Poets and bandits' is about. Boris Ryzhy (1974-2001) turned the raw realities of his hometown into poems. He left more than a thousand poems to the world. His breakthrough came at the Poetry International festival in Rotterdam, in the year 2000. A year later, he was dead. Boris Ryzhy, 26, had hanged himself.

Theatre group De Warme Winkel makes that link with Rotterdam if only because 'Poëten en bandieten' is played there. An old factory hall serves as a backdrop for the run-down working-class neighbourhood in which Ryzhy grew up. From behind a work table, actress Mara van Vlijmen calls Rotterdam residents. None of them are at home. But on their answering machine is now one of Ryzhy's poems, which must be a wondrous experience for the listeners. The Warm Shop does not show how the professor's son Boris ended up in that poor neighbourhood. Whereas he himself talks about an environment full of drab flats in his poems, the stage setting is more reminiscent of the outdoors, with all that vast snow. The atmosphere is cosy and warm. On a float decorated with candles, a folk ensemble comes on, singing Russian songs. Old-fashioned songs, and nothing pop or punk.

'I am Zutphenian, but also Turkish' actor Sadettin Kirmiziyüz gets jury nomination for Wilders, The Musical

Gijs Scholten van Aschat was so convincing that casting director Hans Kemna was a bit scared of him. Van Aschat did an original wilderness speech and shock went through the audience. Since he now plays the villain of villains with Orkater (Richard III), convincingly delivering a hate speech reasonably is a piece of cake for him. Two true Wilders fans found... 

'One hour listening and half an hour talking to Clinton for 100,000 euros. Or new breasts.' Concrete questions on The International Choice. #hechoice

The Dodo International Choice journal, episode 3: Hans van Dam saw 'Investment' and spoke with creator Davis Freeman, about what you can do with a tonne. It evokes associations with the famous TED talks and is reminiscent of the powerpoint documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth', with which Al Gore tried to wake up the world about climate change. What Davis Freeman does is smaller, but... 

Impressive confrontations in humorous 'K, A Society' by Kris Verdonck #decision

The Dodo International Choice journal, episode 2: Wijbrand Schaap came, saw and was overcome by Kris Verdonck's seven installations about plighted people. It should have ended with terrible bangs, a canned fireworks display a few metres from the spectators. But that's not allowed in the Netherlands since Enschede. And certainly not with Belgian fireworks. Theatre-maker, installation artist and video jockey Kris Verdonck ended up... 

Comedic and dramatic play in Mokhallad Rasem's experimental, surreal 'Iraqi Ghosts' #tf2010

In suits, wearing animal masks, five actors pose on stage. They represent a bear, rabbit, deer, rooster and monkey. From this 'freeze', they start making animal noises and moving around. A rhythmic performance follows. Fascinated, but confused, the audience watches the alienating dance. What do these animals have to do with the war in Iraq anyway? Just when you start to wonder if you are in the right audience, the actors take off their masks and answer: 'Have you ever wondered what the war in Iraq has meant to the animals there? We never hear anything about them in newspapers or on TV.'

Performance 'Metro' gives you a slap in the face #amsfringe #tf2010

A new day, so new chances to find the Fringe's greatest gem. Today, I am taken from Theatre Bellevue into a nearby alley. Suddenly I see her lying there. A junk, like there are more walking around in Amsterdam. Preferably, I quickly walk around it. Afraid of smelling them or being accosted. Metro, a piece of... 

Apocalyptic location theatre Wunderbaum tantalising prelude to explosive 'International Choice' #he Choice

Such a cool late summer evening as Thursday 9 September 2010 is a perfect night for the try- out of actor group Wunderbaum's location play 'Natives'. Clear sky, mildly rising autumn chill and virtually windless. Location: a swampy lawn between two abandoned housing blocks in Rotterdam's Pendrecht district. Once built from post-war ideals of family happiness, convenience and accessibility, but soon too cramped, ageing and... 

Sweet feel-good musical about the drug scene and uplifting musical 'Reflection' #tf2010

 In my search for the gem of the Fringe, I stumbled across two musicals at the Rose Theatre on Wednesday night. At the Fringe Festival, anything goes, yet I was surprised by Christiane by F*K Theatre. In this musical, young people sink to the bottom of society. They drink and blow. Everyone lives in their own little world. Main character Christiane falls in love with an addicted boy and thus also comes into contact with the dark sides of the drug scene. You expect to see the raw sides of this dark world in a story like this, but from the first song Christiane far too well behaved. It reminds me of a feel good-school musical. Eight neat boys and girls sing about 'a trip with friends around you'. They do this so sweetly and in harmonious harmony singing that what you hear and see is totally inconsistent with the story.

We will be there every day at The International Choice. With text. With video. With news and reviews

Tomorrow begins The International Choice of The Rotterdam Theatre. A festival that for years has presented remarkable theatre from all over the world at the Maasstad's theatre in September. Except this year, that is, because the 'chest of quist' is being rebuilt and that will take some time. Not something with Amsterdam metro builders, but whether the official reopening on 2 October 2010 will be... 

Pictorial 'Raging heights, restless souls' for people of all ages #tf2010

Wuthering Heights is often mentioned in the same breath as other nineteenth-century classics such as Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but Emily Brontë's book is infinitely darker than those other coquettish girl books. Heathcliff and Cathy's big, dramatic passion actually connects surprisingly well with emos who are Twilight, True Blood and devour other contemporary vampire stories.

Adaptor Jeroen Olyslaegers and director Floor Huygen were well aware of this when they adapted the novel for the stage into Fierce heights, restless souls, a co-production of Dutch youth theatre company Artemis and Flemish Antigone. The show garnered high praise, can now be seen in TF, but was also nominated for two Gouden Krekels, the awards for youth theatre.

Sanja Mitrovic wins BNG theatre award of 45,000 euros with performance 'Will you ever be happy again?" #tf2010

Sanja Mitrovic has won the BNG New Theatermakers Prize 2010. She receives the prize of 45,000 euros for her performance 'Will You Ever Be Happy Again'? In which she took care of both directing and acting. She can spend the prize money on a new performance next season.

Bizarre parody of a rock star and philosophical twists at Fringe Festival #tf2010

Nik van den Berg is ongetwijfeld iemand om in de gaten te houden. In theater Bellevue geeft hij in een bizarre act een parodie op een rockster. ‘Is dit het nou,’ denk ik even, maar al snel is duidelijk hoe knap Van den Berg gestalte geeft aan dit podiumbeest in bontjas. In een onverstaanbaar taaltje speelt hij een aantal nummers waarbij hij de maniertjes en gebaren van een groot rockartiest minutieus uitbeeldt.

Langzaam drinkt hij een slok thee, neemt nog een trek van zijn sigaret, laat de as in zijn thee vallen en gooit dan, in opperste concentratie, de hele sigaret in de thee. Een geluidsband start, waarna Nik met zijn elektrische gitaar het concert begint. De nummers in NIK©#2 gaan over het leven, de problemen en moeilijkheden ervan. Maar het zou net zo goed kunnen gaan over het smeren van een boterham met kaas. Van den Bergs timing is weergaloos, net als zijn inleving. Dit werkt zeker op mijn lachspieren, al zullen er ook mensen zijn die er meer van verwachtten.

'About Animals' by Elfriede Jelinek is so unprecedentedly ruthless and dire, you wish for a way out #tf2010

'Butt-fucking at extra cost.' 'Do they also do blow jobs without a condom?' 'That one sucked my cock once and then she was nauseated all night. In the morning she puked in my bed.' Continuously, they do suggestive dances and constantly look into the room, with fixed smiles that are somewhere between amused and sneaky. The six actors of About Animals are challenging and relentless. Susanne Kennedy's direction of Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek's play is unprecedentedly bleak and arrives as a punch in the gut.

Jelinek's wrote a text about prostitutes and their clients, partly based on eavesdropping tapes from an Austrian escort agency, in which the men talk about women as if they were animals, or more precisely, like farmers talk about their cattle. In her direction, Kennedy places great emphasis on the viewer's gaze. 'The woman is being watched and is always an object, the man is watching and is the subject. Looking is not innocent,' She said in an interview. The three men, in foul light blue show suits, talk over the women; the women, in dresses on which little subtle emphasis is placed on their nipples and crotch, obligingly talk after them. They look at us defiantly, making us complicit in the humiliating situation.

30th Dutch Film Festival celebrates anniversary with Mirror of Holland

When the 30th edition of the Netherlands Film Festival kicks off on 22 September, the first Golden Calf will be awarded to Rolf Orthel. This was announced by festival director Willemien van Aalst at a press conference today.

Producer and director Orthel receives this award for his special merit for Dutch film culture. In 1975, he made a name for himself with the impressive documentary A semblance of doubt, about the prisoners and guards of Auschwitz and Westerbork. As a producer, he often committed to difficult projects by young makers. The documentary he produced Bastøy, about a Norwegian prison island, will premiere this festival.

Fringe Festival continues to surprise with intimate Iris Brunette and poignant I Believe #tf2010

There is no notion of time when you take your seat. It is dark. The room looks like a café, with four tables and chairs around them. Don't expect a sit-back performance, as everyone is part of the play. The intriguing Iris Brunette doesn't let you be a spectator, but gives you a role. Do not fear that you will suddenly have to take the stage. From your seat, you are influencing the play. Actress Melanie Wilson lets you choose which way to go. Do we wait here or walk on? Do we go left or right? Do we trust this person or not? The space you're in feels safe. Fortunately. Because there is no exit; walking away is impossible. A maximum of twenty spectators witness this story that takes you through time. Wilson narrates and involves you in the story in the best possible way. A more intimate performance is hardly possible, I think.

Prize of (Theatre) Criticism 2010 to musical workshop M-Lab

Just when it was announced that musical production house M-Lab is in financial distress, a helping hand comes from Dutch theatre critics. Indeed, the annual Prize of Criticism goes to the laboratory that produces musicals that almost always matter. We quote the jury report:A laboratory is not only for somewhat unworldly scientists who are fiddling on the square millimetre... 

Director Thomas Ostermeier advocates 'dramatic non-dramatic' theatre in his masterclass #tf2010

She has just returned from a long holiday in her native Norway and, although many Norwegians find Ibsen boring these days, she herself loves his work. Maren Bjorseth is a third-year directing student at the AHK. Her Dutch is flawless; it is hard to believe she has only lived here for two years. Maren is one of four directing students chosen to take a master class from German director Thomas Ostermeier, artistic director of Schaubühne Berlin. Last year, the Stadschouwburg showed his Hamlet (starring a nasty, rather fat Hamlet) and in December, Ostermeier will direct Ibsen's Spoken at Toneelgroep Amsterdam.

The master class is a collaborative project of TF with the AHK and actors from ACT. It is the first day of school for the students and, as Maren says, they were immediately thrown into the deep end: 'It was very short and intensive, we worked from ten to three and Thomas Ostermeier came to watch twice. So it really is a work in progress.'

Roma B. brings confrontational and contagious theatre to Amsterdam-Noord and Wouter van Oord brings beautiful piece of text theatre #tf2010

The great thing about the Fringe is the variety. On Saturday night I saw VOS, a play by Slawomir Mrozek, played sparklingly by Wouter van Oord. Dressed in a shirt of the Dutch national team, with the name VOS on the back, Van Oord plays two monologues with conviction. The tension can be read from his face before the start, but is gone as soon as the actor... 

Actors make audience laugh and gawk with intrigue in theatrical jam session 'Night Guests' #tf2010


"I am fifty-eight." Plumply, Saskia Lemming (Oda Spelbos) reveals her biggest secret to husband and jaded folk singer René Lemming (Peter Bolhuis). He married her 12 years ago, thinking she was a young blonde. In turn, he reveals that he actually wrote 'You are the cream of my crop', his number one hit, for another woman. The bomb bursts on reality show 'The Lemmings'. Or rather: on stage at De Balie, where Hadewich Minis, Peter Bolhuis, Oda Spelbos and Yorick Zwart compete in Night guests. A three-hour improvisational 'jam session'.

Roaring Lolita in Stallion Ball ends up very small#tf2010

The room is lit in red. This creates a shadowy atmosphere as you might expect at a nightclub. The music starts playing and from the stairs a young lady in a snappy outfit comes down. She serves pieces of sausage and plays with the crowd. She introduces herself as Lolita. A man in the front row may unbutton her zip. She... 

RPhO's gift to the resurrected city falls short at opening Gergiev festival

tim hugh
Tim Hugh

By Willem Jan Keizer

Rotterdam - The fifteenth edition of the Gergjev Festival officially kicked off Friday evening in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen in concert hall de Doelen with a concert by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Valeri Gergjev. Although the festival takes place at some 20 locations in the city - not only in de Doelen but also in the Laurenskerk, the conservatory, museum Boijmans van Beuningen and numerous other unexpected locations - the festival is virtually invisible in the city.

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