Director Jef Van gestel on the Mime School's Start Project in September

Published on

The Mime School traditionally starts the academic year with two Starter Projects. This year, one of these projects takes place in Studio 6.04 of the Academy of Theatre and Dance. Here, the second-, third- and fourth-year students of the Mime School will present themselves in a joint performance at the end of September.

The project we are shaping starts from 'joy', 'enjoyment', 'play', 'freedom' and 'eroticism'. And 'eroticism' in the sense of lust for life, sensuality, creativity and sensation. Some of Esther Perel's blogs (Why is it so hard to take a break, Eroticism in hard times and Play) resonate with us.

'Play is the pleasure of being inventive, mischievous, imaginative, and trying something new. Why do we play? Because it helps us grow-and because it's fun.' Read the whole blog on Esther Perel's website.

We have now been working together for two weeks. We are mainly looking for how to follow as many impulses as possible on the floor, interspersed with moments of being together. We are looking for an environment where greedy sensation is generated, where shamelessness is celebrated, tenderness and beauty are found in chaos.

The mime students are very driven, used to working inquisitively and creating material through improvisation. What I really enjoy is that, within this project, I also allow myself freedom. That I am looking for more of a structure within which the actions happen. I find that exciting and liberating.

We hope that you leave the auditorium filled with a lust for life. That the performance reminds the body like an electro-shock of the need to be able and allowed to play. That it softens and strengthens.

About Jef Van gestel

Jef Van gestel is an actor, director and illustrator. He was born and raised in Antwerp and has lived in Amsterdam since 2021.

Jef Van gestel's theatre work is like a mental playground where the viewer is left free in their association. His performances are physical and expressive, playful, sensitive, laced with absurd humour and seek out boundaries. Alienating poetry and an untamed imagination characterise his style. His work often touches on Dadaism, Antonin Artaud and contemporary art. In terms of content, he is fascinated by vulnerable people on the one hand, people who are naive and childlike and therefore moving in their love and failure. And on the other hand, the creative person seeking ultimate freedom and daring to explore their obscure sides. Usually starting from a thematic concept or a form idea, he creates performances from scratch.