Day XIIII - rehearsal 'there is no why here' - from 11 untill 22 May - final countdown

Vrijdag 22 mei 2015

For this afternoon Wouter and Andrea have planned a first rehearsal of the whole performance. Not yet a real run-through though, as this rehearsal still takes place without the Brussels Philharmonic and the wrestlers. But I ‘m very curious to see how all the work of these last days will come together and all the progress that has been made. 

The first focus is on the opening scene. Andrea wants to fine-tune the video projections with the music. Because Wouter chooses to adapt - there is no why here - to the actual setting and community in which it is performed, new video recordings have been made. The Italian people and locations that were used for the premiere in Bologna, are now replaced by their Antwerp counterparts. It is the first time I see these recordings and I ‘m happy to recognize some locations in Antwerp and especially some of the people passing over the screen! When in 2 days the audience will be entering and maybe still be searching their seats, these projections will already be running. Like this, the audience will immediately get involved in the performance.

Three African tribal drums are positioned on the back side of the stage. After the end of the projections, three Bl!ndman drummers have to move very quickly to open the ‘fight’ scene. Today the team only runs quickly through this scene, as the main purpose is to attune the lights and arrange the right cues. Between each round of the fight, the three drummers have to change very quickly from their positions behind the African drums to their instruments on both sides, and back again.

A few moments later we ‘ve arrived at the ‘ball game’ scene. As in the use of this fairly small object some risks of ‘accidents’ are involved, a little more time is spent on this part. Wouter repeats and demonstrates the right, safe way to throw a ball: “If you throw a ball this way, nothing should go wrong”. But when it becomes clear that even after his professional advice, not everyone gets it right, a short competition in ball handling skills is organised. Each person gets a shot at throwing the ball over the screen. Only a few succeed and get the permission to perform this task in the show. Of course this leads to a lot of hilarity and laughter, somebody yells:”Come on, a three pointer, 1, 2, 3!”

After the break and the run-through of the ‘killing mother’ scene, Wouter wants to experiment with a new small addition, the use of a pendulum. The experiment seems to come along nicely, so I guess it will be part of the performance. Then I hear a choir of voices, voices with different accents and in different colours all entangled: they tell  fragments of the upsetting story of Primo Levi. This is accompanied by the two sax players who set themselves among the audience. Andrea reacts satisfied: “We have a very good contact!” He also asks them to keep playing certain notes like that, almost in the risk zone, because it gives a certain fragility that he likes very much.

Step by step the performance ends. As David Moss introduces the question about the human judgement and responsibility – “we are the ones who hit the targets, we are the ones who build the walls, …”  - the virtual chorus takes over the screen, soon followed by the vocalists and the extras on the stage. Together all the performers create  a powerful end shot to – there is no why here. Wouter is very satisfied with this fantastic image. And after thanking everybody for their hard work, he ends this repetition by stating a bit surprised: “It ’s exactly 6 o’ clock, right on schedule, what a perfect timing!” I ‘m sure that with still two days of rehearsals to go, with all the dedication of the vocalists, the extras, the instrumentalists, the orchestra, the crew, …  and with both the directors’ and componist’s commitment to achieve the best, they ‘ll be able to say that about the performances on Friday and Saturday too.

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