From one meeting into the other. After a durational conversation about the very notion of time, in one of my lectures, I have to hurry my abstract ass to Oost. Time to meet the crew!
Still in a rush, weary of being late I am warmly welcomed by two friendly faces. Vera and Ziëd, their nametags show. After they make sure I am okay – the first impression I made was one of an anxious maniac – they explain the deal: first, grab a bingo-cart, an A-4 with many Jonge Harten facts, names and random terms extracted from the program. Siked! Then, choose a small coloured piece of paper and its corresponding sense. Green “touch”. And the best part (because who forgot to take her wallet…?), get the Jonge Harten-currency for two drinks, write your name on a tag and go forth.
“Tote bag by tote bag the room gets more yellow”
At one of the high conference style tables I finish my sandwiches. Never thought I would be eating my lunch at seven thirty in the club I normally come to bounce. Because it’s not for half an hour that the program starts, there is a nicely forced-upon moment to chat. Also perfect for catching up with people I haven’t seen for a long time! This makes it again so indisputably clear: theatre is the place to be. Tote bag by tote bag the room gets more yellow and when the bulk of the close to 150 crewmembers are checked in and provided with a flashy goody bag, the program begins.
We are told that programmers Mark and Merel gave an informative though long and boring talk last year while someone in the crowd bursts out in almost diabolical laughter of this hilarious reminder. Mark will keep it short today. He underscores the goal to make this year’s festival as welcome as can be for everyone! Lots of crew names follow under a complex choreography of pass-around-the-mic. I will have to shake some more hands next week.
“B-I-N-G-O: Excitement rises, and decibels too!”
The effects of Bingo are as they should be. Excitement rises, decibels too, my neighbour’s fanaticism is impressing. Of course, the effects increase tenfold with charades. DO TRY IT AT HOME! Write down the titles of the performances and present these to your friends. Extremely hard but also a lot of fun – compliments to the organization. Let me indeed get back to crew coordinator Vera and her assistant Ziëd. When I, later in the evening, approach Vera I immediately get her undivided attention. It’s her fourth year working for Jonge Harten and although she says it’s a lot about Excel lists and planning it becomes clear why she’s a good coordinator. She makes you feel welcome.
The evening ends with a lovely life lesson, Jonge Harten style. I speak with Ziëd about the challenge of running an international crowd. He loves to be on stage, but at times it can difficult to find the right English expression. He tells not to feel awkward and just keep trying: have a good laugh and just think onto the next one!
A great mind set to kick off this year’s edition of Jonge Harten. Can’t wait to meet y’all!
Choose your battles