Actor Stefan de Walle played Kees in Flodder and now helps Sinterklaas. ‘It takes a lifetime to discover who you can be’

In the Key Moments series, the main character highlights five benchmarks from his/her life. This week: actor Stefan de Walle. In the TV series Flodder he played son Kees, he was the garage owner in De Marathon and carries the miter on the Sinterklaas news. “It takes a lifetime to discover who you can be.”

Just switch gears. Stefan de Walle is in the middle of the rehearsal period for the tragicomedy Herman , in which he plays the title role. Herman is a boring man who leaves all decisions to his wife. Until she finds someone else and leaves. That forces Herman to change course and become a different person, with a different partner.

Stefan de Walle himself also got into a new relationship after his divorce. Does that help you understand such a role? “With every character I play, I bring a part of myself with me.” With this perspective he talks about key moments in his own life.

Key moment 1

The day: e and spring day in 1981

The place: d e Free School in Zutphen

He chooses to become an actor

“I am number two in a family of three children. My cradle was in The Hague. When I was 7, we moved to Twello, in Gelderland. There my parents moved into a house that was declared uninhabitable, which they spent years renovating. My mother had a shop selling second-hand clothing and curiosities. My father was a painter and later continued as a street musician. He performed at markets with a self-built organ.”

“I first went to a secondary school in Apeldoorn, but the regular education system was not for me. I only blossomed at the Vrije School in Zutphen. There we got the chance to act. I played in twelfth grade Along the main road by Chekhov. The teacher thought that I was already good enough and that I should therefore only play a small role. The leading role should go to a student who had to overcome his shyness, he said. Then I made such a fuss that I got the leading role after all. When that performance became a success, I knew for sure that I wanted to become an actor.”

Key moment 2

Day: September 4, 1982

The place: an old school building in Arnhem

To the Drama School

“I was so convinced that my future lay on the stage that, as a sixteen-year-old boy, I wrote to the Arnhem drama school asking me to sign up. To stand out, I sent one happy, one angry, one emotional and one formal letter. I was still far too young, but a year later I was accepted.”

“The theater school was a protected environment where there was literally and figuratively plenty of room to develop your talents. Everything was possible there. You can call it a free-spirited gang, but it was also an atmosphere where you could develop your talents. After my exams, I was able to immediately start working at the Ro Theater, where I was immediately able to play great roles.”

Key moment 3

The day: e and spring day in 1992

The place: e and film studio in Almere

He becomes Kees in the TV series Flodder

“After the success of the Flodder films, Veronica wanted to make a TV series about the special family in the residential area. Veronica director Joop Daalmeijer had seen me at work in the theater and mentioned my name to Flodder director Dick Maas. He invited me to audition in his new film studio in Almere.”

“If I’ve been with him for ten minutes, that’s a lot. “We’re going to do it,” he said. I became Kees, the slow brother of tough Johnnie. For the recordings they had built a set with villas, gardens and streets through which we raced in a pink American sleigh. It was a party for five seasons – over sixty episodes long. Everything was possible. Stuntmen arranged explosions, we crashed cars and there were always guys with gingerbread making artificial turds fly around.”

“We shot it in the summer. For me it was a wonderful change from the serious theater that I played in the theaters the rest of the year.”

“The Flodder team was dear to me. Nelly Frijda was the perfect mother with a wealth of acting experience, Tatjana the smart model who knew exactly what to radiate and Coen van Vrijberghe de Coningh not only played my brother, he was also emotionally a brother of mine. In the meantime I was the father of two sons, but I saw my Flodder family almost more than my own family.”

Key moment 4

Day: November 15, 1997

The place: a film studio in Almere

His Flodder brother Johnnie, actor Coen van Vrijberghe de Coningh, dies suddenly

“He suffered a cardiac arrest on the work floor. He fell down and died immediately. Tatjana and I stood there, but could do nothing more. I lost a dear friend and a movie brother. I still find it incredible that life can be over with the snap of a finger. At such a moment you realize that our existence is hanging by a thread. How fragile life is.”

“At the mourning ceremony, sadness took possession of me. It just didn’t stop. It was the first time I cried like that. They were tears for the end of the life of such a unique friend and tears of loss and inability.”

Key moment 5

The day: e and autumn day in 2022

The place: t house in The Hague

He terminates his permanent contract and starts his own business as a freelancer

“I had a permanent employment contract with the National Theater for twenty years. There I got great roles and worked with good colleagues. However, in the end I preferred to freelance because it gives me more freedom to do more in the field of film and television in addition to theater work. Quitting my permanent job was a big step, but now that my sons have left home, a responsibility as a father has disappeared. My eldest son works as an actor, the youngest is at the conservatory. Now that they are saving themselves, it gives me the space to explore a new world.”

He now has plenty of room for his TV work as a good saint, he played the leading role in the TV series Second Hans and with colleague Eva Van der Gucht he visits the theaters with the tragicomedy Herman after the book of the same name by Marc van Bree.

“The man I play leads a gray existence, in which he leaves all decisions to his wife. Nice and easy. Life passes him by like this. Until his wife meets someone else and says she is leaving him. Then follows the resurrection of the antihero. The man who was always lived must start living himself. Suddenly he dares to have an opinion, he has the courage to go against his ex and he also appears to like another woman. The closed man from before suddenly opens up completely. That cover is funny and moving. To see and play.”

He says that he also continued with another partner after his divorce. Are you different in your new relationship than in the previous one? “Doubtless. You develop yourself. You get older and everything you experience changes you. In a play this happens in a pressure cooker. You see people change in a few hours. Outside the spotlight, that takes a lifetime.”

In brief

Actor Stefan de Walle (1965) studied at the Arnhem Theater School. He was associated with the Ro Theater and the National Theater for many years. In the movie The Marathon he played the sick garage owner Gerard. He has worn the miter since 2011 Sinterklaas news and at the TV entrance. He is the father of two sons. Stefan lives with his girlfriend in The Hague . The tragicomedy Herman can be seen in theaters in Leeuwarden (March 2), Griningen (March 29), Emmen (April 19), Assen (May 10) and Meppel (May 11).