Wasted time exists. Nondescript seconds gone missing. Minutes lost between just then and in a moment. Hours that disappear out of boredom… Theatre maker Peerke Malschaert is fascinated by wasted time. Waiting for a bus, a dog that changes its mind and doesn’t bark, a kiss that doesn’t come. Unimportant moments. It would seem. But if you listen carefully, you can hear the ticking in the street. Watches are silent. Not so five characters. Only 42 seconds away from impact. Threatening? Ha ha, said the clown. Halfgeleiders is an alienating and sometimes comic fairy tale in the form of an opera. In a random street, five random passers-by reveal out loud what is going on inside their heads. Gradually the five sung monologues intertwine. Time? It stretches out yawning and after 42 seconds turns over. One thing is sure: life happens to you. Halfgeleiders is an encounter between four VocaalLAB Nederland singers directed by Romain Bischoff, an actor from Productiehuis Brabant – Wim Bouwens (of theatre company Keesen&Co) – and 15 extras from the city in which the production is being performed. The libretto is by sound artist Johannes Westendorp, who is fascinated by instruments that self-destruct and sounds that disintegrate – with a dash of Dada and Fluxus. Westendorp has written pieces for melting chocolate panpipes and an organ with cardboard pipes that go up in flames.
The music is by composer and guitarist Bruno Nelissen, who scored hits with works including Moshammeroper (Moshammer Opera) about the murdered Bavarian fashion designer Rudolph Moshammer. Nelissen also created four operas with Anthony Heidweiller (Buffo Operamakers / YO! Opera festival) and the music theatre performance Moskou-Petoesjki (Moscow-Petushki) by Kameroperahuis Zwolle. Director Peerke Malschaert – ‘I’m a voyeur who zooms in on sentences, pictures and movements that suddenly coincide” – previously created the music theatre production The Hunting of the Snark after a play by Paul Pourveur inspired by the poem by Lewis Carroll, and Stormval inspired by work by Daniil Charms. On Halfgeleiders: “I want to disrupt the audience’s experience of time. When you leave the theatre, you might see a car driving past more slowly than a snail. Or you order a beer that goes flat in 15 seconds. Because if you stop and think about the meaninglessness of time, you give an opportunity to chance.” Halfgeleiders premieres at the November Music festival 2009 in Den Bosch, and tours from mid-November to the end of December 2009.
Composition: Bruno Nelissen
Director: Peerke Malschaert
Libretto: Johannes Westendorp
VocaalLAB soloists: Gunnar Brandt-Sigurdsson, Jennifer van der Hart, Maria de los Angeles Marques Fernandez, Tiemo Wang