Wunderbaum scrutinise their own idealism

Stop Acting Now

Wunderbaum

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As the finale to their project The New Forest, Wunderbaum have made a film in which they stop play-acting and start acting for real. Director Mijke de Jong follows the actors in their frantic efforts to radically change the world. Their idealist projects range from developing an app for urban gardeners to creating a space for sad stories, the ‘Bar of Tears’. But their ideas are not as easily realised as they initially thought. Stop Acting Now– extended editon features a theatrical aftertalk following the screening of the film, with the former actors reviewing the turbulent events depicted in the film. What have they achieved with their social commitment and idealism? Have they returned to the stage? Are they actually still together as a group?

Programme

Festivalfocus: Wunderbaum - The New Forest

What will happen after the crisis? This was the question the actors collective Wunderbaum took as their starting point for a series of performances entitled The New Forest, a four-year search for new forms of community. 

Neither utopia nor dystopia, The New Forest, according to project partner and sociologist Willem Schinkel, is a heterotopia, a place from which to view the world in a different way. Moving between reality and fiction, the project explores the process of change.

At the Holland Festival, Wunderbaum presents an overview of four years of The New Forest with The Coming of Xia, in which the actors explore the rise of China as a world power; a new piece: The Future of Sex; and a screening of their film Stop Acting Now, a mock documentary directed by Mijke de Jong, in which the actors take a closer look at their own ideals. Wunderbaum’s imagination does wonders to help us understand our changing world.

 

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Background Information

As the finale to their project The New ForestStop Acting Now – extended edition is a performance staged around the screening of a film, for which director Mijke de Jong followed the actors in their efforts to radically change the world. Convinced that their theatre projects alone are not sufficient to really make a difference, the actors set out to change their attitude towards the world on a personal level as well. The film shows how they stop play-acting and start acting for real. 

 

What can you do to make the world a slightly better place to live in? Mijke de Jong's mockumentary shows The New Forest focusing on the future, with small-scale local initiatives and innovative companies joining the project and creative entrepreneurs giving their views on the future. Everyone is getting ready for the definitive transition to a new and better world.

Wunderbaum's five 'former actors' join in as well, making a real effort to improve society. Maartje ventures into a deprived neighbourhood to help marginalised people to find their way through the morass of support organisations and bureaucratic procedures. Marleen opens a Bar of Tears, modelled on similar initiatives in Japan where people can cry their eyes out - as a protest against our stressful culture of positivity. Matijs has developed an app which allows city gardeners to sell their local produce direct to consumers, but he needs to find investors willing to support his initiative. Seeing a need for radical activism, Walter starts the Activism Department. Wine is having a baby. She believes full dedication to her new-born is the best investment for the future.

But having a good idea is one thing, being able to realise it is quite another, as emotion and hypocrisy get in the way. There are some successes, but anger, jealousy, greed, competition and a lack of understanding throw spanners in the works - leaving them stranded with their ideals.

 

Stop Acting Now – extended edition features a theatrical aftertalk following the screening of the film, with the former actors reviewing the turbulent events depicted in the film. What have they achieved with their social commitment and idealism? Have they returned to the stage? Are they actually still together as a group?

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Biography

Wunderbaum are a Dutch-Flemish actors' collective who create performances dealing with current issues, mainly on location but also in the theatre. Usually they write their own scripts based on research; occasionally they commission authors to write for them. Wunderbaum have performed in the Netherlands as well as abroad, including the United States, Iran. Scandinavia and Brazil. 

They received the Mary Dresselhuys Prize and the VSCD Proscenium Prize for their oeuvre, as well as the Total Theatre Award at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Since 2013, Wunderbaum have been working on The New Forest, a four-year collaboration with various partners, volunteers and audience members to portray society's transition to the world of tomorrow. In 2012 Wunderbaum made their debut at the Holland Festival with Detroit Dealers.

 

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Credits

by
Walter Bart, Wine Dierickx, Matijs Jansen, Maartje Remmers, Marleen Scholten
film direction
Mijke de Jong
technical coordination
Aram Visser
production management
Linda Visser
postproduction film
Viktor van der Valk
editing film
Lot Rossmark
production film
Wunderbaum and Topkapi
coproduction
Rotterdamse Schouwburg
with support by
Nederlands Filmfonds, Stichting DOEN, Prins Berhard Cultuurfonds, VSB Fonds, the Creative Europe of the European Union