This is a moment in between
During Bye Bye Kaai, theatre maker Louis Janssens curated The Long Toast as a way of paying tribute to the old and new Kaaitheater. Different generations of artists, politicians and partner organizations rose their glasses and shared their diverse memories. This is the toast that Agnes Quackels (general and artistic coordinater at Kaaitheater) has brought.
"This is a moment in between. In between two buildings,
In between a long series of toasts and a last performance.
I like moments in between. They are moments of suspension, uncertain, undecided and yet full of promises and potential. Something is dying, so that something new can be born.
Theatres have many “in between” moments.
I like above all the moment before the audience arrives. It’s a moment where the building and its team are shifting their attention from the inside towards the outside. The stage is set. The doors are opening. Everything is quiet… Something is about to happen.
Then, from there on, follows for the audience a series of in between moments. Their journey through the building is actually entirely made of “in between” places. A succession of thresholds, of portals. A cascade of shifts and transitions. Until finally the curtains open.
In 2011, I was sitting there, the venue was full and we were waiting for the piece “Tales of the bodiless” by Ezster Salamon to start.
At a certain point, while the audience was still chit-chatting, I felt as if I was sinking in my seat, or maybe I was lifted up in the air, or a wind was blowing, in any case something unusual was happening but it was hard to say what.
Silence filled the room. Then, I understood: The light around us was dimmed out, but this happened so so slowly that the change was hard to perceive. What was usually taking a few seconds, was here infinitely stretched and extended.
And with every degree of light disappearing, the room was changing. This very theatre was slowly transforming, it was becoming bigger, deeper, more silent, more dense. And while my eyes were adjusting and the colours of the walls kept on changing, and changing and changing and while I was endlessly drowning in the darkness, I never felt so awake.
A theatre is a magical box. A place where every threshold is a transition towards another reality. A place where the most simple action can become a whole story. Where an uncomplicated idea can create experiences you will recall for the rest of your life.
But the walls alone are not creating the magic. For this you need people.
From the ones who are opening the doors, till the ones who are dimming the light, passing by the ones who are making the contracts, cleaning the corridors, updating the website, and so one and so forth. All of them circulating around the artists who are at the very core of this building. All of them organising those invisible portals towards something else. People.
This is a moment in between. We are in between. In between so many things.
In between two buildings. In between two fundings.
Something is dying. So that something new can be born.
I wish above all, in this moment of transition, in between here and there, that we will remember that walls without people are just walls. What actually creates theatre are the people.
So please, a last toast: to the people of this theatre. Thank you"