Royal animals

Every time I am in an awkward situation, I ask myself: How would the queen handle this if it happened to her? I pictured former Dutch queen Beatrix stubbing her toe and yelling a curse word. Trying to hold back her tears but not succeeding at it. Losing her train of thought because her conversation partner has very pretty eyes. 

I’ve been doing this thought experiment for the last ten years. There is someting about that contrast – the royalty and the awkwardness – that I find very fascinating. 

We, as humans, try so hard to pretend we are not animals. We dress up, we smile politely at people we don’t like, we use the cutlery from the outside in. We pretend we are not hungry when the host is late with dinner. From our royals, we expect this behavior even more – we build ceremonies and rituals around, we put them in a crown, so they look even less like an animal than the rest of us.  

That’s why I like to think of Beatrix not being in control. Because that is reality: all of us have feelings, impulses and thoughts we’d rather keep to ourselves. And all of us sometimes lose control and show them anyway. Historically, how many kings have started wars, schemes or religions because they were jealous, angry, or in love? (Looking at you, Henry VIII).

So, after ten years of this thought experiment, I decided to make a show about it. There is something so interesting that happens when the rational mind doesn’t have the last word. When the animal inside of us makes the decisions. That is what Bloodline explores.

Imagine a servant being so hungry that they grab the food of their king’s plate. What happens after? Is the king angry, does he punish the servant? Is he scared by the audacity? Does it permanently alter their relationship? 

To be able to play with actual impulses, this play is improvised. That means there is no script, and the characters, the dialogue, the storyline are created in the moment what the actors feel and decide in the moment. The music, too, is unscripted. A cellist and citherist enhance the story with their own musical impulses. All together, this will make one story. One that is about being human, even if you’re the queen. 

Bloodline plays 11, 12 and 13 April in NDSM Treehouse.