Stefano Keizers says goodbye to Stefano Keizers and bullies his audience ★★★ ☆☆

After three shows, a good definition can be given of the type of cabaret that Stefano Keizers does: It is performances such as long fingers that are lifted right in the face, and where the cabaret genre is questioned and ridiculed from all sides. Every time you think you have found an opinion, your mindset is brutally disturbed by the Emperors again. How dare we as a theater audience expect the comedian to send us out with a well-rounded message? Or that we let ourselves be moved by a sentimental song on the piano? And listening can be seen as empathetic, but is not listening to something that you’ve paid a little bit of pocket money for?

These are thoughts that the Keizers carelessly throw around in its third program. Mocking of the spectator, the Public insult, is a beautiful tradition in the theater, with famous predecessors. Among them is Hans Teeuwen, the groundbreaking comedian after whom 34-year-old Stefano Keizers named his show. As a smokescreen, of course, for there is no other role for Teeuwen in the performance. On the beautifully lit stage are three objects: a piano on its head, a throne that appears to come from a native tribe (with futuristic elements), and a stand for a very long microphone pole. Stefano Keizers likes to pay attention to his clothes. This time he is wearing a flashy red and black suit, which is somewhere between a space man and a bullfighter.

fetal position

His shows are heavily reliant on surprises, so a spoiler warning is in order here. The fine at the first half of Hans Teeuwen is that the Keizers make it personal: he outlines how life for Gover Meit (his real name) has been so far. Gover was a boy who fell next to the school and was doomed to hang crippled on the couch, ‘whining in the fetal position among my own mess’. But seven years ago, Stefano Keizers gave birth to an alter ego that enabled Meit to make a successful entry into the world of culture and media. ‘Life is malleable’, Keizers exclaims with joy. “I’m proof of that.”

But the Keizers were once also told that life goes on in phases: Seven years of success are followed by seven years of misery. So now that the downturn is upon us, Governor Meit wants to look for a new identity. In the show we see Stefano Keizers last farewell.

There are a number of strong, powerfully played monologues in the show, with the Keizers demonstrating his ability to tell stories full of apt, literary details. These are the moments when you listen with interest. But the patience of the public will soon be put to the test again. Keizers does the trick by getting the audience to ask him questions (boring), and he comes up with an alternative to the lack of a break (gap, has been done many times before). It gets especially annoying when the Keizers start a record attempt to count high to the number 725. It is a disappointing continuation of the strong and also really comical first half.

Moments like these make you long for Keizer’s predecessors, who annoyed their audience more effectively and wittyly. After Hans Teeuwen himself, who Sweater (1999) recited an allegedly sensitive poem and gave its audience the full blast after applauding this ‘bagger’. Or, speaking of counting aloud, Arjan Ederveen, who in the sketch ‘Maanzaadstraat’, a parody of children’s television Creative with cork (1993-1994), learns his crazy hand puppet to count to 60 and takes plenty of time to do so.

Now that Stefano Keizers’s are hanging on to the arrows, the balance can be drawn up to a triptych. There is a nice connection between very whole (2018), sorry dear (2020) and now Hans Teeuwen† This is the helpless Governor Meit’s ultimate attempt to get rid of his garbage couch. That effort succeeded, for his reputation as a theater-maker has been established. It is now hoped that Gover Meit in his new disguise will lean less on gimmicks and more on his acting and storytelling talent. Or would he again live up to expectations too much?

Emperors triptych

In 2018, Stefano Keizers became famous with his debut performance very whole nominated for Neerlands Hoop, the award for the comedian with the greatest future prospects. The jury wrote: ‘Something is happening here. Even afterwards – if there is an end at all – even the most seasoned spectator will have thought: what have I seen? ‘ very whole ended with a scene where the Keizers fell dead on the podium and the visitors were allowed to do with him whatever they wanted. Followed in 2020 sorry dear, where the Keizers stated that his planned performance had failed and that he then sat the time out with the audience. Exploring his artistry and conceptualizing cabaret are recurring elements in Keizers’ performances.

Hans Teeuwen

Cabaret

By Stefano Keizers. Directed by Jelle Kuiper.

8/3, Leiden Theater. Tour until 14/10.


Comedian Stefano Keizers in his show ‘Hans Teeuwen’.Statue of Julie Hrudova

Comedian Stefano Keizers in his show 'Hans Teeuwen'.  Statue of Julie Hrudova

Comedian Stefano Keizers in his show ‘Hans Teeuwen’.Statue of Julie Hrudova

Comedian Stefano Keizers in his show 'Hans Teeuwen'.  Statue of Julie Hrudova

Comedian Stefano Keizers in his show ‘Hans Teeuwen’.Statue of Julie Hrudova

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