It’s March and everyone at WOW-EFFECT Theater is working hard on their part of this year’s production – The Lost Boy. In the last couple of months WOW-EFFECT Theater has welcomed many new members who have taken up a variety of tasks within the group, but things started out a little wackier.
We talked to some of our members, Céline, Haoyu, Jeroen, Anna and Piyush, about their involvement in the group, our new play and how they found their place within the project.
One of the most special things about WOW-EFFECT is its diversity. Our members come from 10 different countries and have different backgrounds in and outside of theater and the arts. This international culture is one of the most impressive parts of being a member of WE, say Anna Geuzebroek and Jeroen Sol, two of our Dutch members.
“I was immediately introduced to the group and I felt right at home.”
Both are new recruits who have joined the group this year, but at very different moments. Anna joined back in October and was cast as The Old Crow, Peter Pan’s mentor and one of the leading roles.
She notes that being in an international group asks a lot more from people than a group made up from locals. “I like the atmosphere because it feels like people are more open and more willing to put themselves out there”, she says.
It’s noticeable that she feels quite at home here. She has found quite a few friends already, also outside of rehearsal.
“For example Sarah, Daniel and I went on a road trip and it was a lot of fun.”, she says. “So if we spend enough time together, I feel like I would get close to everyone. So you can say that there is a growing friendship.”
Jeroen only joined the group one month ago. He took over the part of Peter Pan replacing the previous actor, who had to leave the country for an unexpected job opportunity. He doesn’t seem to mind being the “new one”, though.
“I was immediately introduced to the group and I felt right at home. Everything was very open and informal and people were crazy and I loved it.”
Jeroen has proven to be a stellar addition to WOW-EFFECTs team of producers too. He has taken over the lead for our Stage Design Department and has been working very hard on making our stage beautiful.
In his remaining time, Jeroen studies Maths and enjoys designing puzzles. He is also very active in several other creative projects: He is involved in the theater group Twister and the choir Plica,
“Acting is a bit about going out of your comfort zone.”
Not everyone finds their place as easily as Jeroen does. For someone who is new in the city – and even country! – it can be a bit trickier, as Céline Thomas tells us. Céline came to Nijmegen to study, but joined the group after our free workshop in September.
“In the beginning its difficult, because you’re thrown into a group of strangers. You don’t know if it’s gonna be only rehearsing or if you’ll find nice people and friendship. In the end I did find nice and social people with shared interests and a nice project for the creative balance in my life.”
Céline is also a newcomer to acting in general and is learning a lot in her roles. The Lost Boy asks quite a lot of her, as she has four speaking roles that she has to switch between. She plays the roles of Liza (a nanny), Meranda (a mermaid), Starkey (a pirate) and Hanna Bell, mother of the well-known Tinker Bell.
“Acting is a bit about going out of your comfort zone”, she says, but remains optimistic that she will learn a lot and will feel more comfortable in someone else’s skin at the end of this project.
Céline is definitely not alone with stepping out of her comfort zone. Our director, Tanya de Kruijff, keeps everyone’s experience levels in mind, however. When designing the rehearsal plan, she leaves some room for general exercises too. With improvisations and team-building exercises, the group first learns to act as a single body. Then slowly actors experiment how it feels to step into their characters’ shoes.