Water runs towards you on the concreet stairs.
And on the passage where you turn to the first floor are several litter bins.
Is that smell coming from the bins or through the open door of the kitchen where the dishes are being done?
Of course, that is where this smell is coming from.
A boy with a wiper wearing a long apron almost knocks you over.
This clearly is his domain.
The entrance door was also hard to find: around the corner of a restaurant.
On the first floor there are several shopping carts filled with sound equipment and cases, kept together by rubber bands and straps. Too heavy to carry all the way up?
On the next floor we find stilts hidden carefully behind self-made purple or bilious green cloths. You used to only find wooden stilts, but nowadays you also see aluminum constructions with a true ankle joint. There even are versions which make you jump through life due to built-in telescopes.
Another floor up we find a black mini theatre – ah, Marieke is also present! – and rucksacks filled with skittles, balls, and rings. A lot of jugglers today!
On the fifth floor of a building that was built long before the invention of the lift, the street theatre organisation found a dressing room right in the heart of the historical city center, near the places where we will play today.
People greet each other, they hug, and they kiss. The wanderers meet again.
Always a different cast, alsways a different place, but always exactly the same:
The group of jugglers, mostly assembled from a peculiar mixture of adhd-ers and autistics which results in them throwing anything up in the air all day long – not to mention catching anything all day long – and in them blaring continually, but only to each other.
The group of stilt-walkers, who, in name of preparation, start putting chairs on tables right away. Except, of course, when their stilts are halfway down the stairs.
Naturally, the dancers and mime players are all busy for quite some time doing their warming-up excercizes. All according to their basic principle that playing is without a doubt very very difficult.
Cases of musical instruments and clothing bags that musicians collectively left behind for the search of food and drink vouchers are blocking my way.
And if not, it will be the construction that the ‘boys with the welder and too much time on their hands’ have put together last winter – high, spinning, and accompanied by a lot of smoke – and that just needs to be assembled.
Today we won’t be bothered with that last thing mentioned as we are five floors up in the city center.
Yesterday we were bothered with it, on council land on the edge of the island and perhaps tomorrow we will as well in the council chamber of the city hall. Or maybe next week in the cubicle behind the steam-engined merry-go-round or in the parsonage of the open air museum.
Or in a gite in the Ardennes where cheerful women produced a true Fête des Artistes by, amongst other things, preparing the most delicious meals throughout the day for us players.
Or in that theatre in Prague where you had to collect – and, more importantly return! - the theatre key with a suspicous-looking Bulgarian who sold undefinite tickets for the best part of the day in the corner of the great public square.
And of course you remember the seminar in Salzburg if only because of the sturdy lady in the dirndl-dress who in fact Gott grüsst the whole day long. And also the basement beneath the rural German castle where a shy lady holds guard armed with her iron and a puzzle book.
From these remarkable places but also from hundreds of sports halls, party venues, schools, and community centres a unique and recognizable process developes of dressing up, stretching, putting on make-up, and transform until that one moment.
The moment that the statues petrify and the mime players become silent.
The moment that the door opens and we all go through the ‘gateless gate’.
Some of us for the zillionth time. Some of us for the first time. But it’s the same for all of us. Always whistling in the dark.
        “The only quality guarantee we can give you is ‘start on time’ (1).”
As of now, logic and arithmatic end.
As of now, nonsense and imagination begin.
        “We need to be tougher than all scientists, who are servants anyway (2).”
While the rest of society is sitting inside, watching their steps, we can be outside, fooling around.
We only need to watch our steps while fooling around!
    (1) Theorem of street artist Lex Maes + 2003.
    (2) A statement made by the expressive artist Panamarenko pronounced with the Antwerp accent in a speech for a group of bigwigs at the opening of an exposition.

Zorge – Harz, 6 August 2007,
Toon Maas.



Skip Navigation Links