Visual artist and theater maker Miet Warlops on Saturday

Saturday/Saturday for Miet Warlop (44), visual artist and theatre-maker: Slow down, go to the well-known sauna and play the overexcited hostess.

Miet Warlop (44)

  • Theater maker
  • Visual artist
  • Belgian premiere of ‘One Song’ in NTGent

“Saturday is: reset myself.” Today ‘One Song’ has its Belgian premiere. Last summer, Miet Warlop’s performance at the theater festival in Avignon hit like a bomb. She was the fourth artist asked by Milo Rau, artistic director of NTGent, to delve into her personal history as a theater maker for his series ‘Histoire(s) du Théâtre’. ‘In ‘One Song’ my life and work coincide closely. The performance, which I wrote together with Jeroen Olyslaegers, and which I direct, echoes twenty years of artistic work. The concept is similar to ‘Sportband, toned sounds’, the requiem I wrote in 2005 for my late brother.’

Warlop graduated from KASK in Ghent in 2004, after which he focused on both performing arts and visual arts. She lived in Berlin for a while and in 2012 won the Stückemarkt Theatertreffen award at the Berliner Festspiele with ‘Mystery Magnet’. Since then, her performances, interventions and live installations have toured the world.

Warlop left for Avignon with a frightened heart. ‘The most exalted show of the opening days (…) eliciting a massive ovation’, wrote The Guardian. The New York Times and Le Monde also waxed lyrical. “I wondered why that was. People sometimes say I’m breaking convention, but if it’s that ‘crazy shit,’ isn’t Avignon doing something very classy?’

©Alexander D’Hiet

08:00 – ‘Today I get up early. I have a room at hotel NH, next to NTGent. I rarely order breakfast – I often miss it. I’m ironing my outfit for tonight.’

09:00 – ‘In NTGent, the technical staff is fixing everything. We are rehearsing again with the musicians and performers.’

12:00 – ‘My dear Maarten (Van Cauwenberghe, ed.) arrives. He composed the music. We eat some soup and do an extra sound check. Since Avignon, we know what the play does to the audience, and the quality of the sound is not insignificant in that.’

14:00 – ‘It’s one of those days when I think I have a lot to do, but I actually don’t, and I go from here to there all the time. On a normal Saturday, I sometimes spend up to two hours in a bathrobe. It helps to slow down. There is no script: a long bath, practical things, a chore, cleaning up all at once. And buy flowers. Something fresh at home. It is: reset myself.’

‘On a normal Saturday, I sometimes spend up to two o’clock in a bathrobe. There is no script: a long bath, practical things, a chore, cleaning up all at once. And buy flowers. Something fresh at home. It is: reset myself.’

Miet Warlop

Theater maker and visual artist

15:00 – ‘It often comes with doing something with friends. And don’t even talk about work. Or go to the sea with my love. Or to the spa. It is always Thermen Dilbeek. Nothing spectacular, but good enough. And I like not having to discover a whole sauna every time.’

16:00 – Cooking belongs in the family. I like to draw on the book by Aroy Aroy in Ghent and ‘Bangkok Street Food’ by Tom Vandenberghe. Shopping is part of the ritual. I like to do that at Dierendonck, the Asian supermarket and BioPlanet. I cook like I drive a car: on the road I sink into thought and disappear. Very pleasent. Before I welcome friends, I test everything on my boyfriend and his son. Usually it’s better the second time. Sometimes it’s completely off. I’m not ready for fermentation conditions yet. Also three days of cooking: I don’t do that. Better prepare something at the moment.’

18:00 – ‘I’m too nervous to eat tonight. I drink some wine. To calm down. Then I go backstage and put on my outfit. I will think about that outfit, but at the end of the day I don’t care what I wear’.

19:00 – ‘The people are arriving. I can only speak to them for a moment. Everything is fine? Do you have tickets? Again, I think I still have things to do, but I’m just the overexcited hostess.’

©Alexander D’Hiet

20:00 – ‘I’m getting very small. Sometimes I look away. By the end of the premiere, that block will melt away and I will be moved by the actors’ performances. And hopefully because of the applause’.

22:00 – ‘We are going to party hard. Now a friend, Karolien Polenus aka NiXiE, comes to play. Maybe in the foyer with the beautiful balcony.’

06:00 – ‘We party until the early hours. We often do that at home too. My studio in Molenbeek and our house in Sint-Agatha-Berchem are two places where I try to create a ‘home feeling’. Because I’m constantly on the go and often live in bags. To feel at home, I take a silk cloth with me everywhere, which I put on my bed every night, like a bedspread’.

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