Theater Stap diverges from its normal course with ‘Theater Stap Airshow’.
Theater Stap went to various neighbourhoods in Turnhout and De Kempen with a charming small scale evening program in open air, and four years later we also travelled to Germany with the same show. The short film ‘Sterven en leven van Jan Devroey’ (Death and Life of Jan Devroey) is the nucleus of this revue.
After a number of hectic years, Stap planned a rest period, but the blood creeping … we couldn’t let it pass … the rest period was used to make a short film.
An original story, the sensitive portrait of a man, walking with his head in the clouds, while he’s losing the ground beneath his feet. An Elvis fan with a passion for flying. A life story, full of surprising turns, a refreshing drama.
At the beginning of the performance of the film, the audience are fittingly received and treated to poetry, a sketch, a choreography, devised for you by the actors of Theater Stap. After the film an occasional combo closes the evening with idiosyncratic Elvis covers.
Afterwards it’s possible to talk to the actors at the pilots bar and … he or she who leaves last, turns off the lights.
In 2009, we played for the first time, a set of 15 performances, in and around Turnhout.
in 2011, we played again for 9 times in de Kempen. In 2012, we played in Brasschaat and crossed the boarders to Kaiserslautern. The 12th of July 2013, we play in Kircheimbolanden.
Film: " sterven en leven van Jan De Vroey"
Marc Bryssinck en Filip Lenaerts, Bert De Mulder, Wim Scheyltjens
Music: Guido Belcanto of Bart Voet, Lieven De Maesschalck, Steven Van Gool, Thomas Deckx
Entertainment and security:
Rik Van Raak
Peter Van Lommel
Liesbeth De Hertog
Interview Radio 2: 2012
I: Theater Stap in Turnhout, the company with mentally disabled actors, tours this summer in De Kempen with an open air performance on squares and market places. Tonight they come with their ‘Airshow’, as it is called, to de Markt in Merksplas.
I had a telephone conversation with Marc Bryssinck, artistic director of Stap and Nico Verhoeven, cultural coordinator of Turnhout.
Marc, to begin with, can you tell us what the Airshow is about?
Marc: ‘It’s an open air happening, one could call it a revue, a show, a multimedia happening, very accessible. The origins are as follows: We made a fiction film of 46 minutes, without compromises. We were convinced, this is a good story, we would like to show this to an audience. That is lasts only 46 minutes might however pose a problem. So we thought, what if we added something to this film. The film revolves around 2 things: first there is Elvis Presley, who gave us the music, and secondly, there are airplanes.
I: And how do you perform this live, outside? Is there a scenery, that looks like an aiport?
Marc: Absolutely! It’s complete with boarding, stewardesses, … It turned out into a neighhourhood party. We chose not to stage this on the big festivals, but instead serve the people of the neighbourhood and treat them to a nice evening: get out of one’s own garden and meet the neighbours, that was the idea. In the end it grew into a show of two hours and a half, a bit bigger than we at first intended.
I: You already played in Turnhout, didn’t you? Nico, what did you think of it?
Nico: It’s a production with a lot in it. A nice evening. The theme airports and airplanes on the one hand and the music of Elvis on the other. These make it very accessible, very funny also. There’s sketches, dance, there’s music. We got very good reactions from the neighbourhoods they played.
I: yes, because, Marc, the actors now go into the audience. Many people get to know Theater Stap for the first time in this way, and what is special about that is that you work with mentally disabled actors.
Marc: That’s what I like most about this concept. When you play in theatres, as we have been doing now for 25 years, then you are, in a way, put on a platform. There’s a gap with the audience, they are looking up at you in the dark.
After the performance, if you wait long enough, you can of course meet the actors in the bar, but all this is very different now. There’s a platform for the band, but the actors walk among the audience. It’s a very new and nice contact we now achieve with the this project.
Nico: It weren’t the actors only who enjoyed it but the audience as well. You can’t avoid one another. It was half July when I went to see the show and some twenty or twenty-five people were dancing with the actors and it ended in a general polonaise. That’s something these actors alone can do, that’s pure, that’s real.
Het Nieuwsblad: 2011
Thursday, March the 19th the municipal administration, together with VVV Tourism brought Theater Stap with its Airshow to Rijkevorsel. Theater Stap makes productions in which mentally disabled persons are central. They know, as no one else, how to move an audience. The cooperation between Theater Stap and Day Care Centre Kasteel ensures the perfect framework. The actors develop their talent and acting skills in the best possible way.
As always : Great enthusiasm, never enough money to achieve everything.
Marc Bryssinck, artistic director of Theater Stap: ‘We got the idea for the Airshow in between two productions, because we were very eager to try something completely different, but lacked the money. The result was a compromise, a film of 46 minutes. Not really a feature film, but at least we could do our own thing.
The film ‘Sterven en leven van Jan Devroey’ was picked up by Canvas but broadcast at an impossible hour. Afterwards it was regularly used in schools, etc.
There are planes in it and songs of Elvis. The protagonist is fascinated by airports and Elvis contests. We created an entire airbase, a setting that is perfect for performances on squares and grass fields. There’s stand-up comedy, a band with singer Bart Voet and heavily edited Elvis covers. Usually the people from the neighbourhood find one another on the dance floor, especially since our actors come and invite them to join the dance and, you know, its’ very difficult to refuse them anything’, he chuckles, ‘and the evening is then closed with the performance of the short film. I suppose because of this mix you might call it a revue, or even an multimedia evening’, says Marc. ‘In Day Care Centre Kasteel, there are at the moment 21 people rehearsing every day theatre, dance, …
They have excellent qualities, they have no restraint at all to throw themselves on the dance floor, and once they hear music, they can’t be stopped. We put the Airshow together two years ago and we first toured it 13 times in the neighbourhood, in our own region. And this time we thought: ‘Why not try it again after the success of two years ago?’ So now we perform it three or four times in Turnhout and also in Zandhoven, Oud-Turnhout, … And in Rijkevorsel of course.
Tickets and info
The content and form of the evening are defined by the short film ‘Sterven en leven van Jan Devroey’: a sensitive portrait of a man who’s walking with his head in the clouds, while at the same time he feels the ground under his feet give way. An Elvis fan with a passion for flying. A life story, full of surprising turns, a refreshing drama. Because of the theme, its’ advised not to visit the performance with children aged under 16. This ‘flight’ is limited to 200 persons. So it’s best to reserve via de Cultuurdienst, Molenstraat 5, 2310 Rijkevorsel, tel: 03/340 00 37, or by e-mail. Possibly a number of last minute tickets will still be available on the evening itself, but this is far from certain. Spectators are expected between 8 and 8.45 p.m. at the check-in desk where they will receive their reserved tickets.
Price is 5 euro to be paid cash at the check-in.
Place: Grass field at the back of the Chiro local, Zuiderdijk, Sint-Jozeef.
During and after the show drinks and snacks are available.