The first days after performing, after the (for now) last performance of Parallel/Utopia, are always a bit weird. Something you have been working on for months is suddenly over and there is time for new things. What are those new things? What do I want? Where do I go?
Questions that pop up, now that I will have some more free time, I decided to make a list for myself with all the things I want to do. All the things I never have time for when I am rehearsing or performing.
But, first a few impressions of Parallel/Utopia. And a wonderful critique from Kulturfüchsin. When I make a performance I can only hope that my audience experiences and sees what I want to tell them. I love it when they take my performance home, when they think about it the days after. When they see the many layers I put in, when they see my intentions and my thoughts shimmer through.
I am not done yet with Parallel/Utopia. So, now it is time to find other places where I can perform this piece. It would be great to also go back to the Netherlands with this, let's see.
A few things are concrete: I will be teaching theatre at the Vienna English Theatre's youth performance school until the end of June.
In August I will start rehearsing again with the Bernhard Ensemble.
In November we will create a performance for Netzzeit, something with classical music pieces turning into electro music. It is going to be fun for sure!
Now, the time in between. Like I said, doing the things I normally don't have time for. One of those things is my big big love and something I always did, but went a little bit to the background since I live in Vienna; writing poetry. In Dutch of course, my mother tongue, I think the only language I can write poetry in is the language I am intertwined with, the language I can play with, the language I can be totally poetic in and make the words come to life like dancers on the paper.
On and off I kept on writing poetry, but before I moved to Vienna it was something I did every day.
And now I miss it, I miss my language. I miss my poetry.
Oh, and planning a holiday. Also on my to do list. Write poetry somewhere overlooking a sea with a glass of wine and some great food, not a bad idea :)
In a bit more than two weeks it is going to happen: the premiere of Parallel/Utopia. My baby, my astronomical cyborg baby. I am very busy with rehearsing and it is going well.
The first days I had to figure out and see which way it was going to go, but the story is kind of telling itself. I get more and more images in my head and try to translate them to theatre on the stage. I love it to work on this performance, it is something I wanted to make already for a long time. It will be futuristic but nostalgic, a bit weird, mystic and carried by the sounds of Aphex Twin, David Bowie, the music of Stranger Things and myself.
Today, Saturday, I also rehearsed. Here are a few impressions of a Cyborg rehearsal day.
Today, the Monday after the premiere weekend. Last Friday we had the premiere of Invidia, der böse Blick, a performance about envy. On the day itself I baked Invidia-cookies for my colleagues, took a bath and sat outside in the garden in the sun. A bit nervous, but full of energy I left to the theatre. It was a beautiful and great evening and I can only look back with warm and happy feelings. We had fun, were totally into it and we've got back some really good reactions from our audience. On Saturday I was teaching a theatre workshop and in the evening I performed again. Yesterday I planned the ultimate chilling day; eating sushi and watching series.
Now I am ready for the new week, the days are for the writing and preparing of Parallel/Utopia, my solo science fiction performance about the future of humanity. The evenings are for ' Invidia', we perform until the 7th of April.
Here are some impressions of Invidia, der böse Blick.
Photos: Barbara Palffy
Exiting! This week is premiere week. On Friday I perform 'Invidia, der böse Blick' - a performance about envy- with the Bernhard Ensemble.
That means that this week there will be evening rehearsals, tomorrow the Austrian television channel ORF will come by to shoot an item about our performance.
Last week we went through the whole thing, in the beginning especially the transitions between the scenes were still unclear, I struggled with an angina - so couldn't sing the cool, weird songs we have-,
but... on Friday we were happy after the run through. The performance is getting more and more into my head and body. I always like this moment, because it means there is no reason to panic. We are almost ready for our premiere.
I hope to see you on the 17th of March, or at one of the other performances at the OFF Theater in Vienna. We perform until the 7th of April.
Now, something else. Because next to the rehearsals for Invidia I am working very hard on my solo performance Parallel/Utopia, which has its' premiere on the 2nd of May.
Yesterday I had a very Utopian photo shoot for the flyer and poster, and I have to say... I am really happy with the result. It turned out very 2750!
Photos by: Walter Mussil
Since I was ten years old I knew I wanted to make theatre when I grew up. There was nothing else I wanted, I didn't have a backup plan. I loved the days of rehearsals, to dive into a project, the evenings of performing, even the nights of waking up with an idea and writing it down quickly - afraid to forget it as the morning comes. I always knew I wasn't made for the nine to five job, I am easily bored and working for a boss is not my strongest point (a little of an authority problem;)).
But, how do you keep structure when you don't have fixed hours?
Make lists - Making lists helps me a lot, I write down what I want to have done by the end of the day. Mornings (or afternoons after rehearsals) are for answering e-mails and doing administrative stuff. When I am in the preparation phase for a project, I try to sort out practical things first, so there is plenty of time and space in my head to be creative.
Wake up everyday at the same time - When I am rehearsing for a performance, like now, it is not that difficult. Everyday my rehearsal starts at 09.00, having a daily rhythm is very important to me. When I am working on my own or when I am performing in the evenings, this is a bit different. However it may be tempting to stay in bed after an night of performing, I rarely do this.
Don't see in between time as free time - This one I have to explain. Some days in the week I teach theatre workshops after my rehearsal. That means that I sometimes have one hour or more in between. I use that time to have a break, but also to, for example, work off my to do list. Preferably at a nice cafe :) So I don't have to do that in the evening before I go to bed.
Switch off - I am not very good at this one, I have to say. Creativity, inspiration, work never stops. Ideas come and go, and when I suddenly know the end of my performance at 00.00, I have to write it down. And before I know it I am working and working and working and a few days later my body warns me that I didn't really relax. So, time for yourself. Switch off your phone, internet, take a bath, read a book, watch a series.
When I keep an eye on those four things, the rest can be as chaotic and rural as it can be. Because that is what I love about my job, not a single day is the same :)
I realized that, when I am performing, there are some rituals that always come back. I have to do things in a certain way, otherwise I have the feeling I am not totally concentrated.
Sounds a bit neurotic, right? It is. I thought it might be fun to share those 'rituals' with you, maybe you recognize yourself in it! ;)
Before the performance starts, I sit in the audience and stare at my stage setting.
Yes, this started when I was studying at the Academy of performing arts in Maastricht (NL) and I made a rain installation for a solo performance. I had to turn the thing on 15 minutes before the audience came in. There was just a blue light and rain drizzling down, the sound of the water and the calm atmosphere brought me in a kind of meditative state of mind. So, every time I had to perform I sat down in the still quiet and empty audience and stared at my stage setting. After this time, I kept on doing it. It makes me calm somehow.
I have to go to the bathroom 13 minutes before the performance starts.
Ok, this is a weird one. When I perform alone, I don't even think about it that much. It was a normal thing to do, I checked the time and went to the bathroom 13 minutes before. But my colleagues started to tease me a bit, like: 'let's see if you can also go 11 minutes before.' I tried it and, of course, nothing bad happened. The world didn't disappear, I didn't forget my lines. But still, I'll keep my 13 minutes rule.
Five minutes before the performance you find me somewhere leaning with my head against a wall.
This one only counts when I am performing alone. With colleagues we are in the dressing room, we talk a bit, make a circle, say our 'magical performance words' and are ready to start. When I am alone on stage, I need a strong focus and before I start, I am not a very social person. The five minutes before I need to be alone and only in my head, to get into the story I want to tell. To be there with my whole self. So, if you see me, leaning against a wall, looking like I am either on drugs or in another world, it is a good sign! ;)
I drive myself crazy the first time.
The premiere, a big thing. A scary thing. Because, what if you think you made a wonderful performance, but nobody understands what you are trying to say? And this one, especially when I perform in German: what if I suddenly have a black out and all my German is gone and only Dutch things come out? And, when I perform alone: what if they hate it? Why am I doing this to myself? This is a weird situation; there is an audience, a stage, and soon I will be on that stage and do things and say things and people think something about that. What if they don't laugh at that funny part? What if they laugh at a very serious part?
It all goes through my head the two minutes before I enter the stage. And when I enter the stage... I forget about all of it and I love it. That is why I want to do it again and again and again.
So, do you recognize some things? I am curious!
At the same time I am also working on my new solo performance Parallel/Utopia. I am now trying to find a structure for the play, I write a lot, throw a lot away, make lists etc.
And, searching for the perfect 2750 Parallel/Utopia outfit. I am very lucky that one of my favorite fashion shops Monki wants to help me with that. They will sponsor part of my outfit for the performance:) (see picture above).
And, to end it on a parallel-Utopian note, a parallel-Utopian teaser:
This blog is about an experiment I started yesterday. We are living in a time in which internet and technology are growing and growing, it is sometimes overwhelming me. Nowadays you meet up on Facetime or Skype, a phone call is now a Whatsapp message. We are always up to date about each others lives, I only have to check Facebook or Instagram. And, like it or not, we are going with the flow and we kind of have to. Sometimes fun, sometimes annoying, to always be 'on’.
I can also see the difference as an artist when it is about theatre and promoting your project. A flyer and a poster are not enough anymore. First of all, there is so much here in Vienna; off scene theatre, dance, youth theatre, performance, opera, classical theatre. You name it. And second, lots of theatre groups and artists are promoting their work in a different way. By writing blogs, by starting a vlog, by posting selfies at rehearsals, by doing flashmobs etc. And I am feeling very strong that I can’t stay behind. My flyer and poster are not going to be enough. Yes, I do share things on Facebook. Yes, I make an event. Yes, I send e-mails to invite people. But most of the time I feel like it is useless and my projects disappear in the jungle of all the other projects that there are.
So, I started an experiment – to do something I normally never do and which is, I am sure other artists agree, kind of secret. I will share my whole creation- and rehearsal process online. Why? Well, to see if it makes sense. And, probably the most important: to get also people to the theatre that normally wouldn’t go. So, to reach a bigger and more diverse audience.
Because I do believe we can change and make the world a little bit more beautiful by making theatre. So, I am going to be generous and not only share my end product, the performance, with you. But also the way there. I hope you enjoy it and welcome you to my experiment.
If you want to help me, like & share! I thank you deeply and very much :)
Here you can follow the process!
In my latest blog I wrote I interviewed some people about the topic 'our world' and its future. Today I want to share some of the answers I got with you. I was curious about the Utopian worlds of other people. I asked how the world will look like in 2100 and in 2750. I am wondering what 'happiness' means to you.
Here are some of the answers I've got:
“In a Utopian world there would be no money, no careerism, no cars, no wars, no FPÖ, no oppression, no extremism, no carnivores. Philosophy would take the place of religion and everybody would have a nice, but different garden to take care of.”
“In my Utopia the earth is a peaceful place to live filled with cultural diversity. People regardless of their origin, culture, religion, or gender show mutual respect and tolerance. People have universal access to drinking water, food, education and the healthcare they need. Humankind respects nature and treats our beautiful planet with love. The earth has recovered from human exploitation and looks healthy and green.”
“The earth in 2100 is an earth where one is extremely ambitious about making career, capitalism. People work very hard, which makes that there is always welfare, but also a lot of stress, burn outs, jealousy and greed.”
“I want us to fly, like fireflies. Happiness exists out of moments of happiness, when I have those moments I have tears in my eyes. You find this in the little things and it only happens rarely.”
“Here, on earth, we are just a bunch of people trying to figure it out together. I think a lot about life and I am sure that there are other worlds like ours in the universe we don’t know about. I would love it to take a look there.
I also believe that people we call ‘mentally ill’ here, will maybe function much better in one of those other worlds, because the way of living is just different.”
I am curious what you think. What is your Utopia like? How does the world look in 2100 and 2750? And what does 'happiness' actually mean to you?
I know I know. I just started to perform Welt.Unter.Melancholia with the Bernhard Ensemble. I know, after that I have another project with the Ensemble coming up. And then, on the 4th of May 2017 is the premiere of my new solo performance Parallel/Utopia. But, I started to work on it already. And I would like to share my process with you.
So, first things first. I actually wanted to become an astronaut, I am fascinated and kind of obsessed with everything about our universe, space, parallel universes, science fiction, wormholes, galaxies, our life on earth etc. You name it. The idea for this performance was already there years ago. First it was just a vague idea, but in the years it became more clear, it started growing and didn't leave me anymore. I feel the very big urge and need to make this performance. This driving force is so strong, and that is why I make theatre, I have the feeling I have to. The same with this project.
What is the idea? Well...
Parallel/Utopia is a science fiction performance about the future of humanity. We stopped existing in 2400, went to sleep, but with the help of technology we've stayed alive for 350 years. Now it is 2750 and we are alive and awake, we have got one more chance to rebuild the world.
I am both fascinated by and worried about us; people, inhabitants of this world. I often ask myself: how is it possible that we know how to live? How is it possible that we spend so little time here, we live a life, we accept somehow that we die and that, after death -some believe you go to heaven, some say you reincarnate, some believe there is nothing- we don’t know (me, here, with this brain, this soul, this being) what is happening. How can we accept that we are just an extremely small part of something huge? I want to know when we can live on Mars, I want to know if there is life on other planets. I want to know what is going to happen to our world. And since, with the knowledge we have now, we are not immortal, it seems impossible to find those things out, I’d prefer to dream about it and make this dream into reality, by creating this future world.
Or actually, I have to say, these two worlds.
Because I will create Utopia, a world in which negativity doesn't exist. But, are we still human without emotions like anger, grief, jealousy or greed?
And I will create Parallel, exactly, the parallel world of Utopia. Its' darker and meaner twin world.
I interviewed some people about their ideas about our future and our planet.
In the next blog I will share some of their answers and thoughts with you.
For now... Beam me up, Scotty.