Alumni Jessie L’Herminez (Direction), Lisanne Bovée (Scenography), Emma Boots (Production and Stage Management), Jorik Damman and Rutger Bouwman (both Design & Technology) graduated with the theatre production Een Carnaval (A Carnival). The production is a visual and musical performance that arose from historical research into the values and traditions of an ancient ritual celebrated worldwide: the carnival. The production takes the form of a masked ritual in which folly is celebrated. It’s about the meaning of nonsense. Together with mime actors, a large group of amateur performers and a core artistic team, the makers create ‘a new carnival ritual suitable for everyone’ in the empty space of the black box theatre.
Jessie L'Herminez: ‘The production arose out of a desire for connection and hope, which in turn arose from a feeling of powerlessness when faced with the cynical neoliberal society, with its characteristics like rationalism, individualism, and a focus on growth and achievement. By honouring folly, we show that nonsense is actually meaningful and that something does not necessarily have to be useful or profitable. We believe that metamodernist Western humans have a need, whether conscious or not, to reconnect with each other and the invisible world: that of imagination and nature. This production connects people with each other and that invisible world. Having returned here can show that it’s possible to change and restore the health of the community!
Through the collaboration with a group of volunteers, residents of Amsterdam, we literally connect with the world outside the theatre. New people came inside the theatre who had never been here before.’
For those people who would like to see the production: Een Carnaval will be revived in 2020, on 8 and 9 January in Theater Frascati Amsterdam.
Een Carnaval won the André Veltkamp Grant (in Dutch)
Details about the production (in Dutch)
Audience reaction from Jan van den Berg, among other things member of direction final examination committee: ‘With Een Carnaval Jessie L’Herminez has, in my opinion, created an extremely exciting and intelligent production. You see that the director manages to incite her actors/performers to outright masquerades, ecstatic group dances and sensational metamorphoses, all of which arise from a theatrical collision - dialogue - of professional and amateur performers. That contributes in a gripping manner to both the performers and the audience having a transgressive experience that touches on the essence of theatre and carnival.’
Steven van Watermeulen, Direction and Scenography study programme - Academy of Theatre and Dance: 'Een Carnaval is a radical production imbued with a sense of urgency (...). The production has its own language, its own vision, scenes that remain imprinted on the retina and above all atmosphere. A unique atmosphere: a unique theatrical party.’
Marcus Azzini, artistic leader Toneelgroep Oostpool: 'Een Carnaval is almost a religious experience and in some way the production is also about meaning. It transcends mind and thought. It is about togetherness and the collective experience of the players and public. And that is important.’
From the jury report of the Graduation Prize: 'Jessie L’Herminez, Lisanne Bovée, Jorik Damman, Rutger Bouwman and Emma Boots made a veritable celebration of a show together with their creative team and actors. The concept was so well thought-out, so well executed and so subtly funny that it was impossible not to completely surrender and submerge yourself in the enthusiasm and matchless ambition of the creators. At the same time, it is not free of engagement: the stance on society is strong and the visitor is also stimulated to adopt a position. A show that deserves a revival and a large audience.'