Amsterdam’s Fringe Festival is smaller in scale than many of its international counterparts but it pack a creative punch just as strong. It describes itself as an ode to the “madness of the stage and to independence of spirit”, whilst also identifying as a “plea for artistic freedom”, so far so Fringe you might say, but there is a fresh and inclusive twist.
My Father Held A Gun
Written and Performed by: Sahand Sahebdivani & Raphael Rodan
Music and Composition: Guillermo Celano & Iman Spaargaren
Dates: 10th & 14th of September
Duration: 60 mins
Venue: De Balie, Salon
This is a show that tries to answer a fundamental question, “Why do men make war?” through the medium of exquisitely weaved storytelling and live cinematic music. The show takes a journey through war, peace, acts of heroism, and a love for life, engaging the audience on an intimate level and breaking the fourth wall. It is written and performed by two friends, Sahand Sahebdivani from Iran, and Raphael Rodan from Israel, who discovered a shared love of storytelling and united as performers to bring this beautifully told narrative to the stage. With the mesmerising music of Iman Spaargaren (clarinet, saxophone) and Guillermo Celano (guitar, loops and effects), they confront their pasts, both being sons of men who’ve lived through revolutions and conflicts, wondering what might have been had history taken a slightly different path? Would they be friends or enemies? Spaargenand Celano provide music that is both haunting and epic to distill the emotions of the storytelling.
Raphael and Sahand’s combined storytelling prowess is the fruit of a friendship that started in 2012 after mutual appreciation of each others performance led to them to conceiving a number of shows using storytelling as their medium. Their love of the form has brought them to starting their own storytelling academy, The Mezrab Storytelling School, to bring the ancient art of storytelling to life in today’s performing youth. This show is sure to be a perfect example of the genre.
Don’t Worry Be Yoncé (XS)
Performance Kollektiv Pony Camp
Dates: Sat 8th Sept Bijlmer Parktheater, Theaterzaal
Dates: Fri 14th Sept Brakke Grond, Expozaal
Dates: Sun 16th Sept Brakke Grond, Expozaal
Duration: 40 mins
The crown of Queen Bey is bejewelled and perpetual, and as a singer, wife feminist, and businesswoman, she inspires on a grand scale. But Dutch company Performance Kollektiv Pony Camp have taken their inspiration and turned it into a piece of lecture theatre that been a massive hit on the fringe circuit.
The show is presented as a ten-part lecture on how to become Beyoncé, in the format of a YouTube video but performed in a theatre, with a live audience as the students.
Performance Kollektiv Pony Camp is made up of Stephanie van Batum and Stacyian Jackson. Stephanie’s answer to what brought about a performance piece about Queen Bey was this:
“We came about the idea as kind of a joke. What if we don't do Shakespeare, but just make a theatre piece about Beyoncé? And then we really started to think about that, and what that could be like. We researched her like crazy, and really discovered some interesting angles concerning feminism, sexuality, race, gender and identity.”
The lecture element is parody of course but the girls feel that there are valuable things to be learnt from their Beyoncé course. Audience participation is optional but there is a table/catwalk on stage with seats for audience members who'd like to take up an active position as students during the piece. The rest of the audience can sit in the regular seats and just watch without interaction. But, as Stephanie points out “everyone dances, obviously!”
The version appearing in the Amsterdam Fringe is the XS version, the XL version is a feast for the senses with 4 performers, 5 videos, 7 choreographies, and 15 steps in the programme. According to the girls “It's more lights, more glitter, more music, more costumes, and of course: more wind machines.”
Liberté Egalité Beyoncé.
The XL version will run at Schauspielhaus Bochum in Germany, with monthly shows performing there plus a few dates on tour.
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