and did you think about yesterday and what we did and do we have new conclusions?

yeah, I had a talk with Andriana, I thought to talk with her about my thoughts
I don’t want this to become a theater piece
I want to place it somewhere
to be something with which people can relate to
I like creating worlds with the team, experience something
the question is if there is language in this piece
traditional songs, random text etc.

I’m trained to look at things through a story
it has to do with culture and with what people do when they’re together
you can get a feeling through a static experience, but it always becomes a story
we live with time, we live with going from point A to point B, a beginning and an end
I need an order and for me an order is a story

an order will be there anyway

deconstracting the story on many different levels
presence on stage, being an actor vs being a persona
narrative doesn’t have to be straight from A to B, can be snapshots

we can be very adventurous, I come from music
you are there as audience and experience things and understand how you feel and what you watch around you
you put things in order anyway

but as a maker I want to be able to steer the story that the audience makes
otherwise there is no reason for me to make anything, because everything is good – it is something

yes, but there are different levels of decisions you make as a maker anyway
just from the moment you decide that you put people in a space it’s already a decision
deciding that people will be sitting, and that this will look like this and there will be musicians and that these things will happen
even if you don’t say these things will happen in this order, just because you said they will, already there is a decision there

I totally agree with that
in our case it tempts to become dangerous because we all know there is something there, but we are not always allowed to talk about it in that way
for instance when you work with the musicians you are very clear because you do know what you want and you do know there are these songs you want to use
because they need the clarity to be able to do anything at all
there is a structure there

I am trying to go with them step by step, like it is children and we have to say now we do this now we do that
they are really deep artists all of them
we are putting them into something, they do not have to have the entire piece, because it will not be good for the piece I think, to have everybody fully from the beginning involved
I’m just mentioning possibilities, I also don’t feel that we’re going to end up with a piece where we don’t know the order of things, but we might not know some of the order or the bridges

I understand how you and we want to work, completely
I am also wondering why this conversation goes this way

It was about if we’re going to use language or not
because the moment language comes in, anything you try to put together carefully, like, a composition of a few elements, language comes in and it’s on top of everything immediately

yeah, but language is more important in the scale of communication, in the hierarchy

so how to put it in, in the way that we’re trying not to put it in the centre

The funny thing is, only this question is already such a concrete and such a good research question for a project like this

next to that, there is something else
I say again and again this word that maybe doesn’t make sense, maybe it is wrong – I don’t know
the documentary
I say this because I am trying to help myself to feel that we are not making a theatre performance, because it is something I don’t know how to do and also it is not something I am interested in doing
and that is why I am trying to understand how everything we put together in this space, somehow they are almost like objects we exhibit, like something that we want to observe, to understand
it doesn’t come from the inner need of a character in a piece, because it is another process which, I’m not like that inside me
so when language comes in, when the singer comes in, they have a very strong background that comes from a real world
so we use again like I was saying in re- 2-3 years ago – how do we take something from somewhere and understand it and study it and use it in the piece
how if I go outside to the market and I talk to people, I record myself – just a stupid example – and then I try to study how I behave if I go to the market etc.
and this becomes a score, this gives me tools, this gives me patterns of behaviour
this way I can approach someone speaking or someone saying something
but just taking a text and saying and now you say the text and see how you feel about it, this confuses me
like what I do with music is that I transcribe something else and we put it in – this interests me so much
and also what I was saying about the camera in this piece, can we put it in – which maybe is an overkill and we don’t do that

yeah but the funny thing – I’m thinking about this
this is an interesting conversation to have with Thijs, because this is about makership in general
and it can also become a conversation about how makers are working at the moment, because this is something a lot of makers also in the theatre world are doing
but the structure is very clear in the way that we do it in theatre
because what happens in theatre for instance is – and this is sort of a new way of working for us –
there is a common ground of an idea, for example I worked in a project this autumn short-while
they were going to do a research on 6 characters because there were 6 people on stage, they were in their own field in a specific way extremists
this was the starting point of this project, the director did a lot of research on this, but in the start of the project every body was on the same level because they all had to do their own research
and then they were in a room for 6 weeks and they were constantly proposing to each other what kind of character “will I be”
there would be discussions about the world at this point, what do we want to tell about this world

by the way there was someone who put the rules of this question / way

yeah, and then gives the space to discuss about this together, but then again is directing in such a concrete way that she does the guidance because you have to very very strong and very concrete – to give people so much space and get something interesting out of it

and also trust the process
this is what I’m also saying here, I trust the team and the process of this way of working, that at the very end – whatever we are afraid of or we think of – we will end up with something that is worth sharing and will make sense to put together
I really trust that – my worries are the side worries about taking decisions as we go on – but I really trust this more-of-a-lab

when working in a piece like this I’m either involved very early, only together with the director and just designing something that we think is a great environment to research within
as we have with the bar as a base idea
either in front – we have a concrete idea, we have something and this is what we work with and of course we will develop it further, but when the research starts the idea is there
and either from the first week or after a few weeks the set will be there and we research it together – how it works, what we need to change etc.
or I’m there in the discussion from the rehearsal stage and I design very late, but means there needs to be space also in between the rehearsal periods
and I’ll be there proposing shit and then before we make it into a piece I come up with a design
it is very hard to go in line while we work
but anyway this is just to explain to you how –

yeah what we do here is in between

but that makes it interesting as well
it is interesting that you still have these discussions with Andriana for instance and it makes it quite clear why there is also no application yet
because there is the idea of why we’re working as we’re working is not completely concrete in your mind yet – is that a stupid thing to say

well don’t expect this anyway to come from me

it should because you are the boss, you are the guy who brought these people together

but don’t expect from me to come and say “we do this we do that, period”

no that’s not what I’m saying
you have the vision of putting us together, you have to be responsible for that decision

yeah and I tell you I feel the way we work is going to work
I would have these questions even on the day before the premiere

I am just saying this because you need to become aware that – and you know this already – making this a choice is what you do as a director and what you have done in so many other projects as well, and what makes this project interesting
but at the moment you’re not capable to explain that enough

yeah I’m still searching in my head where this goes
actually how to narrow it down
but my dream is to just sit outside – and watching
and watching something that has this quality almost like that we got this out of the street, we got this we got that and we put it together and we see how this works
that would be my dream, to be able to observe it from distance
even if I’m saying that I want to go inside and do stuff

ok but then when are you done as a maker, are you done when you found all the ingredients and toast them in a boll

no no, I’m never done, this doesn’t stop
we would test the piece with the audience and that would be even the beginning of the piece, to try to understand what it does
after the premiere I would feel like, ok so this works like this with audience, alright so let’s move on
let’s see how we continue

it’s like an experiment

but then do you want to be the director of this experiment, do you want to be one of the ingredients

I want to be the guide to put us to the path

yeah but you don’t know what this path is while you’re there, so that you’re a shitty guide

no it doesn’t work like this sorry, I totally disagree
it’s not that I’m lost, it’s that I see something and I have to help you see that too
but sometimes I don’t want you to see it because I want to see how you react to something that is more open
right now I see something but I don’t want to share it because I feel it might narrow down possibilities
in my head, I can share with you, I have a big space that is full of tables and that there is in the middle empty space
and that’s just because I saw it on a video somewhere and it’s somehow stuck in my head
and how this can become deconstructed, an illusion, a dream or whatever – put different contrasting things inside that doesn’t make any sense even – a waterfall, whatever – now I’m just dreaming, whatever
this is in my head, and now this had to become reality and even change to something better

when Thijs and me have ideas like this sometimes from the start you want to make something stupid but you don’t have a reason why you want to do it yet
there is an idea and then you start conceptualising

understand why you need that

and you need part of this reason, this why, to communicate with your makers and to communicate with the financiers to make it a reality
and there is part of my question because sometimes the conceptual parts for me – and maybe also why you can’t write something yet for applying

you know what, it’s just that I don’t know how much I should share with you
maybe in that case when we work with musicians we don’t share this information
and this is where I’m not experienced in
if I go in a personal way, I can share with you one very strong moment in my life as a child was being behind a tree watching this kind of fest at a square in a village
so instead of being in with everybody I just went out and just watching everybody from outside
I got enchanted like, it was magical to see all this activity in front of me, people eating, musicians playing, some people dancing – traditional stuff, right?
and I felt privileged of being outside to be able to see, instead of being inside
and then this other part that has to do with my family that is in this shit
my father being a clarinet player, me having problems with my father, there is a sexual part involved
my mother not being able to dance anymore, my sister is a singer
so this was what opened up in re- and Euripides helped understand I put on stage my family
I didn’t want to put myself anymore in as number one – I’m making this piece
I wanted to go again outside but still use the same material and put it on stage, this world
and being able to watch it from far away and now as an adult come in and make a fantasy that can also be sexual, that can also be that, that can also be the other one

yeah but the annoying thing about what you just explained is that it makes more clear –
so I think there is a very important part of what we are doing here and it can help me
this would be a point for me to also think about this kind of experiences for me and how this was
I want to ask immediately, voyeurism as a thing – is that only interesting for you or would that also be interesting for an audience
and I am starting to wonder how would you put something like that on stage, how can I feel as an audience member within this space, how can I feel like I’m not part of the thing but I am an observer
so I’m on when you tell me something like this

you know this is not very far from me coming again and again talking about observing something
and that when the violent part comes in it becomes surveillance
this is in documentary, you are studying something

you are already conceptualising your baseline, your idea
and you have to give – at least for my work – you have to give me the opportunity to conceptualise on my own field because that is what I do and what I’m good at
but listening to someone else’s conceptualisation of an idea it only means that I can sort of react and I can’t think myself and go into a process where I’m doing more than only providing your visualisation or your gut feeling

ok so it helps you to know what is the need behind when I say let’s see how we can observe something – or the starting point

yes helps fucking…

I thought if I say that, it blocks people or it puts people towards a very certain…

no not at all
because it gives me the opportunity – or you should be the one who does this – do you have similar feelings or did you have them when you were a child, how was this for you
it doesn’t mean that we are discussing all the time our personal most inner feelings but it’s part of it
it’s part of making and sharing your experience with the world and sharing it together and then really composing it into something that is more general
otherwise it always only becomes your feeling and the thing that we want – or I want as a theatre maker is to have an experience and have a feeling and try to create an environment in which other people can have a similar feeling that relates to that

look, I think this very simple thing I told you me being away as a child behind a tree, it contains many things we’ve done until now all these years working together
in this piece it contains being part of something but also being outside and watching
watching your own family or watching your own group – being able to observe
or the very slow zoom in that I say again and again that I like – how do you isolate, and you go to this one detail

yeah but the funny thing is that this is an idea that I want to have because you told me about your life experience and your gut feeling and if you propose I want to have a camera and I want to zoom in and zoom out, I think ok…

I think I understand what R says and I really think you shouldn’t be so scared of sharing the initial seed, because this is really inspiring and you should trust that your colleagues will manage to let go of it

I’m a bit afraid of going talking about “feeling” and this is what I have to tone down a bit and not be afraid to share how I feel about something

yeah but when you are a maker you have to be vulnerable and you have to talk about feelings

I tent to be a control freak of myself

otherwise this can also become a fucking egocentric thing, because what you’re literally doing then is creating a space that you personally can go outside and keep behind the door and relive your child experience
so we’re only sort of little screwing that plan of yours, where you want to relive this one fucking moment
and I don’t think this is the way, that’s why you make it – you’re not a fucking ego tripper that wants this
you want to share this and you want to make it something that we all bring to a higher level after level
and even if you want to have that experience for a little while, I can assure you, if you shared with me with Dv with everybody that is working, you’re getting a better experience that you could have dreamed, because you didn’t dream it up, we dreamed it up

I agree
and this gesture of watching something from far away, that always there’s one more spot to go, it’s such a beginning of a traveller, of an explorer
this is the essence of going as far as you can to watch back, or else you can’t
the same thing of being on the moon and watching the earth

there is a story, and I’m still trying to figure out why I’m telling this story
it was about and astronaut on the moon – but we should have Thijs to tell this story
but these are little things that can be so inspiring for everybody
so thank you anyway for sharing

thank you for opening up the discussion

my childhood experiences like this are very different, because I’m from Holland and I’m a white boy that is privileged in the things that he did, but the core feelings I think can be quite similar
my parents brought me to a lot of concerts from my aunt and uncle, they were a cello player the other one a flute player, playing classical mainly and some new music, my aunt was in the Nederlands fluit orkest
the experience I had there when I was small and being able to not be a part of this world that people create within a concert hall – I could be there and lay in one of the back rows and just count the lights a bit and sometimes listen or they always told me sometimes I would be constantly mimicking the conductor and telling people I want to be a conductor when I grow up
but I really liked the environment, making theatre and making music – I really like the rules that we apply there
that we say we all come together and there is this rule, these people listen, these people are musicians and play something and we’re all quiet
and me as a little boy being able to walk through – I mean what we saw in Pina Bausch rehearsal, there was a little girl from one of the company member who sometimes was watching, sometimes was playing around, walking back and forth on the stairs
I would be the same boy and being able to go backstage and checking from there a bit and listen from there, I wasn’t part of the situation – or I didn’t feel part of it because I had this free pass to do whatever I wanted, I still have or I still can because when I will have a concert or when I make a theatre piece I can still do this, this is the way I can relate to what you’ve just told me

I had same experiences later on in my life as a young man

and then they would fuck it up for me as well because one of the directors once invited me – he told me why don’t you join me for a few songs and we conduct together?
I did it but I hated it – I didn’t want that

you were not free anymore


I think you are very lucky to have that, and I think people who are in the making part – it’s quite a lot about luck
being on the right point in the right time to be able to see this that no one watches – from the side for example, a different perspective – even if you’re there only for 10 minutes for example

when we do main stage productions with Thijs, we’ve been thinking a lot about how can we have people experience this, not as a piece but as a part of what we do as makers
so what we did a few times is that we invited people and we started with parents, this kind of thing, to just come with us for a day and experience the whole thing from us, arriving to the theatre, building up, seeing the performance from backstage, from the side – which is a fucking weird experience – breaking down and going back home, that is one of the things
but also always have a few seats backstage where people can sit and they can experience the performance from there – which would be so different because you would have performers coming to you, sitting there for 15’ talking to you because they don’t have a part, and then they go back and they’re back in the…

all fake

yeah but it’s so nice, I mean that’s great
but in that sense, we we’re talking about this, you were talking about not having the performers on stage all the time and now I can understand why
or in my vision I could say ok yeah let’s do that
but let’s keep them around so that we can see how they are when they’re not doing something
so part of my design would be to put some chairs in the outskirts of the stage where they could sit, where they could drink coffee or they would be in their off time, smoke a cigarette
the way we were talking about Dn without her knowing, sitting like only greek girls can do and smoke their cigarette and say fuck you to everybody but I smoke my cigarette now
this was very interesting to me a few days ago and for me this is such a greek thing and I don’t know why
Andriana does the exact thing, I’ve seen so many greek girls do it – this is for me a specific greek way I don’t know why

and I told them I think it’s with people who are not under the right-wing spectrum

You think?
I don’t know, I quit smoking for a year and I started again this summer, I could have now been like, no I don’t do it anymore, but…


but keep sharing this kind of thing and also share it with everybody else as a base point of what we’re doing in here, because I think it helps for them to propose something that brings us further
and I know for sure Dv will love this and he has his own culture, his dad is fucking interesting