The Story of the Story és 'pur Jetse Batelaan', un món màgic que es pot encendre de desitjos i d'expectatives sobtades en qualsevol moment. Un espectacle per a majors de 8 anys, per als que no han estat triats per a l’equip de futbol de l’escola – i per als que sí!
The Story of the Story is an 80-minute show aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds created by Jetse Batelaan, the award-winning Dutch director of children's theatre company Theater Arthemis.
As the title would suggest, the theme is that of stories or rather the absence of them, something Batelaan tries to show by breaking all the 'conventions' of theatre; the invisible walls (or 'edge') between audience and stage, as well as backstage: technicians wander on and off, the lights and sound fail, and a voice over is used that explains what is (not) happening.
The charm of the production lies in a group of oblivious actors who go about their business with deadpan intent, finding (or stealing), playing and building with a curious array of colourful things that they appear to have ripped up from the theatre and its surroundings - exit signs, suitcases, seats, bits of cars. In today's troubled social, political and environmental context it makes a provocative point.
Yet soon new protagonists appear and our attention is shifted. Three giant cardboard cut outs of Donald Trump, Beyoncé and Cristiano Ronaldo "represent a typical Dutch family", says Batelaan, who are out on a picnic. (The subtitles did not thrill the kids too much, although the spoken text in English didn't offer much to be missed). Here too the 'rules' are broken. Ria (Beyoncé) has a masculine voice and suggests going to the hardware store (controversial!); Hans (Trump) struggles with his toxic masculinity; Sander (Cristiano Ronaldo) does not like football.
It may be well-meaning, but one cannot get beyond, given the silence in the theatre despite countless kids, that this isn't a show that would really interest children; and, one suspects, they haven't been consulted about what would, at least sufficiently. Trump, Beyoncé and Ronaldo are surely icons of an older generation, and yet the show seems a rather shallow one for adults, too. Disconnected, diluted jokes flutter about without landing anywhere, and the philosophical issue of an absence of storyline – in existence for time immemorial, certainly before Trump coined it with 'fake news' – makes a moot point.