door Zeinab al Bouni
7 May 2020
There are many ways I can start this letter. Like this, for example:
These weeks are wonderful. I see my family a lot. Everyone is healthy around us. The sun is shining. My son loves to walk. So do I. In short, enjoy.
But at the same time, I can open up like this:
These weeks are terrible. The sick, the dead, the insecurity of everyone, the impact on the economy and culture, our beautiful images that have not gone on and on. I hardly know where to start.
It’s double. As long as I’m at home, and that’s a lot of course, I can have nice days. The stress of overcrowded days with traveling from hot to hot and always not being able to get somewhere just in time is not there. My computer hasn’t been in my backpack for weeks and online you can have a reasonable conversation. The hustle and bustle before corona becomes quite relative these days and I have the idea that slowing down for a while is quite ‘healthy’ for the fast-paced world we live in, however ironic that may be.
But there is always an uncomfortable, nagging feeling under the days. That feeling is, for example, about the way we have had to conclude How I got talent for life for now. Just before the corona-measures we were busy putting all 175 players with a flight past in the last performance in Theater De Meervaart on stage and ending with a good party. Now we have filmed and seen each other online. It feels like suddenly breaking off a journey you’ve been living for a very long time.
I don’t know about you, but every week we relate to a possible new scenario for the coming time. Now the theatres will soon be open again, but for thirty people including staff (and if they have not already fallen over). Thirty people is half of the cast and crew of Hoe ik got talent for life… There will be a lot of exclusive and probably special performances with maybe twenty people at one and a half meters from each other. But if things continue like this, the resumption of MOLLEN at Utrecht Central Station in November won’t be possible either. This situation will gradually take on greater significance, because theatre is all about proximity and how do you deal with that one and a half metres?
I’m trying to hold on to the idea that theatre has already survived worse things. Bearing in mind that theatre was already there long before the era, we don’t have to worry that these temporary measures will definitely destroy it. No consolation for all those artists and theatres who don’t know how to get money now, but for the future. Only the question is what it will look like then.
If I may say a lot, it is that we take the awareness of vulnerability that many people have in our time a little bit into the post-corona era. I don’t mean the physical vulnerability, but that we realize that the world we know can suddenly be different. And when we make theatre on the street or in the theatres, for one spectator or for a thousand, that because of that realization we come closer together a little faster, a little more open, because we have felt for a moment that we are all vulnerable.
I wish you good days with the people around you and strength for all the days at a distance that are still to come.
Floris van Delft
Artistic leader ‘What we do’ | Home company Meervaart
door Floris van Delft