Autumn has arrived and now that the leaves of a clouded year form the foundation for a new season, I can go back to directing. And I did that with an adaptation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters. A piece about wanting, desires and dreams, but above all about being stuck in an old Russian lockdown.
‘Never waist a good crisis.’ Thank you, Churchill. In recent months we have all become inescapably different. We have had to surrender to a cross-border problem that has affected, and affects, all of us up to the present day. As a theatre maker I have often wondered what my role in all this could be. We creatives are in contact with a part of ourselves that many adults have cut off and labeled as “for children”. We serve our imaginations. And that saves us. We can rethink when the known road gets blocked. And that is a gift that we should not keep as a secret good, but should distribute. I want to give an audience the idea that change requires action. That no one is going to change the world if you don’t start it yourself. And what to do with a world that no longer spins, a life that doesn’t breathe?
MOSCOW AND THAT’S THAT
When we’ll fly is a musical collage-performance about three young people, Olga, Masha and Irina, who for whatever reason have become trapped in a system of life. Life is happening around them and they are waiting to participate. To get rid of being stuck, the three want to go to Moscow. It is the city where they were born and they often describe it as the most beautiful place on earth, paradise. And yet, they don’t start packing. As Olga says: ‘We cannot leave, because then, we would have to go.’ It’s about delaying and not taking action. The stillness. The de-revolution.
IN THE ARENA OF TODAY
Being stuck has never been more topical in my generation. The Three Sisters felt like it was written in the present, left in an apartment in lockdown. The Netherlands is full of young people looking for meaning because they are bored. Adults who realize that the way they lived pre-corona did not satisfy them. Let this performance celebrate the conversation and the dream of improvement, but also criticize that words alone do not lead to change.
This performance goes along the lines of the trending corona art that I have seen developing in recent weeks. Small, sustainable productions with few resources and a lot of philosophical and political thinking, without losing its humanity. I believe that this is a trend that must remain even after the first shocks of this pandemic.
When we’ll fly is an internal production of the Toneelacademie Maastricht and played on 11th September 2020. Acting: Maud du Chatiner, Amber Schoonbrood en Shirley Bak. Design en photography: Marieke Horst. Directing and concept: Cecilia A. Thoden van Velzen.