©Francis Vanhee

Leestijd 2 — 5 minuten

Artist Entrance: Benny Claessens

Every month, Etcetera gazes into the soul of a performing artist. We choose artistic interest over human interest. This time, we are happy to give the word to actor and theatre maker Benny Claessens. He played in performances by Luk Perceval, Jan Decorte, Johan Simons and Ersan Mondtag, among others. For his acting work he received the Arlecchino in 2009 and Alfred-Kerr-Darstellerpreis in 2018. As a theatre maker, he has been drawing his own uncompromising path for years, with performances such as Hello Useless (Campo, 2015) and Learning How to Walk (NTGent, 2016).

What was your first experience with the performing arts?

The first experience I remember were the people with flashlights telling a six year old me to shut up during the show Momo and the Time Travelers from the Antwerp youth theatre company KJT (now hetpaleis). What went on on stage was magical but since I was not allowed to express my sense of enchantment without getting a flashlight in my face, I decided not to seek for more theater experiences for a very long time. Coming to think of it I kind of want my money back.

What did you want to become as a child?

I wanted to become Madonna.

Which performance kept you awake at night recently?

A Revue by Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe and La Cage Aux Folles by Stany Crets and Koen Crucke.

And which performance is unforgettable?

Back to the Present by Constanza Macras from 2006.

What is your favorite place to be?

On a beach.

Who taught you the most in your life?

My parents.

What does your workplace or atelier look like?

My workplace looks empty.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is that I get the time and the space to doubt any given truth in a sensual way.

Does theatre have an impact?

Theater has an impact when it manages to create a before and after on a real and magical level. So let’s say sometimes yes, sometimes no.

With whom would you like to collaborate once? Are there certain artists you feel related to?

I feel related to Ersan Mondtag, Constanza Macras, Benjamin Abel Meirhaeghe, Sara Debosschere, Sigrid Vinks, Jan Decorte, René Pollesch, Bert Neumann, Sarah Moeremans, Louis van der Waal, Rob Ferdeyn, Murielle Scherre, Jan Verstraeten, Jozef Wouters, Stefan Brize, Theresa Vergho, Julie Cafmeyer, Ellen Schoenaerts, Thelma Buabeng, Louise van den Eede, Dolores Bouckaert, Tania Gallagher and Bart Demey. They are literally my family.

Who would you like to see collaborate on a piece?

I would like to see a collaboration between Vanessa van Durme and Milo Rau where he tells his life story and she directs.

Did you ever have a special encounter with an audience member?

Yes, but that’s private.

What is the most recent note you made?

“I DON’T KNOW IF YOU KNOW THIS FAMOUS DEFINITION OF PURITANISM :
THE HAUNTING FEAR THAT SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE MIGHT BE HAVING A GOOD TIME”

  • VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Is art your life?

No.

Do you think the theatre will survive in the future?

Theater should stop asking itself the question if it will survive. It should ask the question whether it is not already dead and when it is, why not be sexy zombies.

JE LEEST ONZE ARTIKELS GRATIS OMDAT WE GELOVEN IN VRIJE, KWALITATIEVE, INCLUSIEVE KUNSTKRITIEK. ALS WE DAT WILLEN BLIJVEN BIEDEN IN DE TOEKOMST, HEBBEN WE OOK JOUW STEUN NODIG! Steun Etcetera.

interview
Leestijd 2 — 5 minuten

#164

01.06.2021

02.09.2021

Benny Claessens

Benny Claessens is an actor and theatre maker. He played in performances by Luk Perceval, Jan Decorte, Johan Simons and Ersan Mondtag, among others. For his acting work he received the Arlecchino in 2009 and Alfred-Kerr-Darstellerpreis in 2018. As a theatre maker, he has been drawing his own uncompromising path for years, with performances such as Hello Useless (Campo, 2015) and Learning How to Walk (NTGent, 2016).

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