A magical island, the light on its dunes and forests constantly changing with the wind and sun and clouds. An island “ full of voices” of artists and shows and people.The Oerol festival of Terschelling was an unknown world for me. Friends had been there before , carrying messages of its charms. But being there , eyes and ears open to the excitement of its unique theatricality- and furthermore, to actually take part!
Our Prospero of the island was the genial and talented writer/director Jeroen van den Berg. Nothing like the power freak of Shakespeare’s creation! Our Magician guided us gently through the journey of the production, allowing myself and Marteen Wansink, my esteemed co-actor to seek our way through the text and the unusual backdrop we were to play against. It was a remote hollowed-out sand dune on the north coast. Waves crashed on the big beach nearby. The sun glistened on the powdery white sand. Kikkendieffs flew in the blueness overhead. Designer Ellen Klever’s light brown windbreak stretched round the rough wooden audience seating. Jaap von Keulen’s sweet music filled the air. The stage was set.
The play begins with two friends, one Welsh , one Dutch walking, joking, exchanging ideas. They’ve obviously known each other a long time. Their conversation is in English and Dutch. And they’ve been around too, travelling widely around the world, both together and apart. At first all seems well. Although one is a talkative academic type while the other a more down-to-earth personality with deadpan humour, the shared experience of their travels in lands over the horizon bonds them together in some lovely anecdotes. But at some point in the play we see a clash of personalities and world-views emerging. While one is still energised by world travel, movement and constantly changing ideas, embracing whole-heartedly the new technological age of communication, the other has become increasingly world-weary, longing for the security of roots and being part of real human society. In spite of themselves the rift becomes wider between the two, and at the end , when one gets up and leaves, we are left wondering whether he’ll ever come back, or will common human friendship and co-dependence still prevail.
The Oerol production is now over. We left the island with the audience’s applause still ringing in our ears , and the happy memories of many a standing ovation ( and a marked improvement in my previously non-existent Dutch!). Now on to the next stage . An internal theatre space in the big city of Rotterdam. A new setting. A new audience. A more intimate playing of the piece. So the search has again started…
Dyfan Roberts, actor