Like all theater these days it was the show White rabbit red rabbit can only be seen per livestream. From forty theaters at the same time, played by just as many actors. And all forty had no idea where they stepped into, because this play manipulates actor and audience. The Iranian Nassim Soleimanpour wrote it when he was denied a passport as a conscientious objector, and with his play he put the cloak of his powerlessness around the shoulders of those who play it.
I chose the stream with actress Hadewych Minis. It was special. I don’t say anything else, because that’s the deal of this piece: you look and you don’t betray anything.
Well, I suppress myself.
But let me tell you that Hadewych Minis surrendered without hesitation. She interpreted the play as a letter from a bottle. No, lighter, like a message under a balloon that was blown here from Iran. She gave the lead role to writer Soleimanpour and his words, but she seized her chances. She fearlessly improvised a Disney film-worthy variation on an ostrich. Am I giving it away now? No, it is not. Anyone who has not seen the performance does not know anything yet. Even those who saw the play played by someone else, by Pierre Bokma who also performed it, or by Dennis Rudge or Astrid van Eck, knows nothing. Art is often a case of with your own eyes.
Because I know that, I drive to Rotterdam, to the Westersingel. Because the sculpture ‘The Braid’ was recently placed there. I saw pictures of it everywhere, and it seemed like something. But I only get the punch between my eyes from the real thing. It really is a cut braid. More than six meters high and woven with strands of steel wire. Beautiful and very strong.
I read that the artist Kalliopi Lemos made it as a symbol for the liberation from feminine conventions. Yes, that long hair, that is something. from Under mother’s wing I remember Jo selling her braid to alleviate the poverty of her mother and sisters – an act of heroism. And from Cissy van Marxveldts Joop van Dil-Ter Heul I never forgot how upset her otherwise “patient” man Leo reacts when she is a short one roaring 20shaircut.
The Braid in real life overwhelms me. I’m also thinking about Rapunzel. Her braid was her beauty, but also the ladder for the witch and for the prince. It was of no use to her and here he is. Now I also notice the base of the braid – and I think of the little mermaid: a young woman who puts her tail away to determine her own destiny. The braid on the Westersingel is also her tail. Go and see for yourself and you will see.