10 Questions

‘Delfine is now going to her head at you. I will count to ten and then you are rid of it. Okay?”

If you are reading this, it is just an impossible theatre the premiere of gone: Truth or Dare, Britney or Goofy, Nacht und Nebel, Jesus Christ or Superstar. In the hall, 600 sold out plush seats. On scene seven psychologically vulnerable young people, three models and a priest. Director Lies Pauwels: “Truth or dare? No! Truth and dare.’ dS Magazine brings you Saturday the making of, a feat in five rehearsals.

The beginning of 2017. Lies Pauwels, theaterfenomeen and fearless woman, has a plan. She wants to create a performance with young people with a psychological vulnerability, fashionmodellen and a priest. Not a social-artistic project, no creaclub, not a glorified occupational therapy. Saturday you can find the full article read in Ds Weekblad, below, you will be given the report of a rehearsal.

‘Ça va? Is everyone still alive?’

“The limits to love, or limits to the wisdom?’, ‘Mistreat or mistreated?’, ‘Drowning or rape?’ ‘Give blood, or blood sucking?’ Pauwels explains its players dilemmas. Muizenpas per muizenpas show the young people themselves.

On the tenth floor of het paleis uncertainties are challenged, suits of armor attacked, ongemakkelijkheden looked up. About the scene whirl of pink feathers and distorted self images. There is in underwear gepaaldanst. On a catwalk soliciting rose-white boots with the warning message ‘fragile’. There is touched. Not for everyone an evidence. ‘Jeroen, Delfine now turns her head to you. I will count to ten and then you are rid of it. Okay?”

Groin is for Luna as a toreador who is a bull furious. ‘Come on, show your anger.’ Niels and Rémy dancing with each other. Taylor fakes cheerfulness, Delfine an orgasm. God shares the stage with Minnie Mouse. The music goes from Mozart to ‘Glamour pussy’. The priest makes a cartwheeling when Kylie Minogue’s ‘La La La’ singing, a blue boa around his neck.

Pauwels’ approach is very associative. Don’t expect a clear plotlijnen or polished dialogues. Pauwels makes fragmentary pieces, with successive tableaux. Now agree with, then again without interaction. Fickleness trumps. ‘I departure from chaos: everything is next to each other. Chaos and unpredictability are a part of us, where we have a little claim to make.’ Create confusion, she loves it. ‘Theatre is my favorite medium to ask questions.’

But just that unpredictable, and that unpredictability are barriers for the young people. Especially for those who autism. She makes it them very difficult. “Oh, but what they do here, they experience as less serious than their life outside, you know. The stage is for them a good place to be. They find connection with herself. And that with a large range. That they stand here, is a statement. The scene is a victory. Every second that they are on that stage, they themselves have to fight for it. Someone to touch, a costume to attract, barefoot, that were for some very large steps in the beginning.”

The most obvious is that victory, to see Jeroen. Today, he stands on a stage with a whole monologue. He used the microphone to his fear and shyness to overcome.

Also for Niels, this project was a turning point. ‘Sports clubs and theatre groups have to me always been denied. By my autism. The diagnosis has me from my dreams robbed. I wanted to continue studying, an officer in the army, but went to the Special Education sent. With Truth or Dare and I can finally show the world that I am more than that label.’

Director Lies Pauwels had a journalist at the rehearsals of her new theatre show. She asked her players never to their concrete problems: “Yes, Truth or Dare is about vulnerability, but not about the anecdote. I work with them for who they are, not because they are with me, their backpack should be empty. But I do want them to know how heavy that backpack weighs.’ Read Saturday the full article in Ds Weekblad.

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