Working with Coney on Early Days: Thijs Steenkamp

We’re currently crowdfunding for the final, intensive development phase of Early Days (of a better nation). With 74 amazing backers (thank you!), £691 left to raise and 10 days to go, we are so very close. Any help you can give us by spreading the word or pledging a few quid in exchange for some exciting rewards is much appreciated!

One of our aims with this show is to bring a local performer into the cast, whether touring regionally in the UK or internationally. With that performer’s knowledge of their home county or country and research workshops with local people, we’ll be able to tweak and adjust the key political issues in the narrative so that Early Days is pertinent to audiences wherever we travel.

Our recent outing of Early Days to Frascati Theater, Amsterdam, was a brilliant opportunity to put this into practice. Thijs Steenkamp, a talented Dutch performer, joined the Coney team there. Here, he says a little bit about what that was like…(and is very nice about us too!)

Alex Rowse

Frascati Theater

Frascati Theater

 

Three days in the life of Coney Virgin

So.

An e-mail.

At so-and-so date, with so-and-so group from the UK will need a local actor who speaks good English for audience led  so-and-so…

What?

At so-and-so date, with so-and-so group from the UK….paid…

Alright, let’s do it.

In March 2014 I came into contact with a theatre company who were playing one of their concepts, Early Days (of a better nation), overseas for the first time. They needed a local actor to perform a part but also to guide them through a thick mist of local customs and politics. As Early Days is chiefly audience led (a term vigorously used by the director) they needed a strong insight in the minds of their now culturally different main cast. I was the guy.

Immediately, what struck me most about the group was the ease with which they started this European endeavor. They seemed relaxed enough, even a bit overconfident perhaps that this would no doubt be a success. I enjoyed myself with their talkative, thoughtful manner for the first day. Tired from the many impressions, I remember telling my wife it was amazing. It almost seemed too easy, too good to be true. ‘I’ll just prepare myself for a strong wind of change as playtime draws nearer’, I said.

It never came. I guess you could say that these Coneys are professionals in a very strange trade.

They know what they are doing when they deliver a wonderfully odd style of theatre and they are very loveable indeed. To describe the evening I had, playing on my own all the media in their fictional dystopia (in which the entire audience was more than willing to play the main cast) is almost impossible. It’s unlike anything I had done before and probably will do again. It’s wonderfully forward, risky and yet so subtle and intelligent you just have to be part of it to understand it. People yelling so passionately about things they very well know don’t exist- it’s almost like real politics.

Thijs Steenkamp

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