Hadewych Minis in Girls and Boys by Toneelgroep Oostpool.Statue Joris van Bennekom

    Hadewych Minis is tough and cool, as the nameless woman who stands unapproachably before us. She loosely dispenses creamy anecdotes, played frontally on the auditorium, in which she explains her ‘drinking, drugy, sloppy phase’ with a lot of self-mockery. A rather hilarious episode that ends in a romantic comedy scene. With her astonishing account of that one heroic man, who deals superiorly with ‘tricky, leggy, bitch behavior’ in the queue for a plane, she conquers your heart. In this opening part of Girls and Boys Directed by Daria Bukvić at Toneelgroep Oospool, Minis shows herself to be an almost accomplished comedian: playful, agile, witty and witty, she effortlessly takes the audience into her story, builds a band, and fishes us in. And all that with that irresistible bronze voice: deep and sovereign, with a small grain in the creamy sound, a scratch on the record.

    Full of warmth and with visible pleasure in the memory, the woman reconstructs their love, the arrival of a first child, a daughter, Lea, and then the second, son Danny. Virtuoso plays Minis with the invisible children on stage. She builds fictional skyscrapers with her daughter (“Oh, in New York? Cool.”) while constructively involving her son in the game: “No honey, you don’t have a gun, carpenters don’t have guns.” Dancing across the stage, chasing staggered spotlights, Minis gives a masterclass of imagination here. And while we willingly let ourselves be carried away in the cheerful fantasy, this heartwarming children’s play, director Bukvić and writer Dennis Kelly head for an earthquake. In the middle of her performance, Minis suddenly stops and looks into the audience. Then she says, “I know they’re not here, my children. I know she…’ Short silence. ‘… being dead.’

    For example, an infectious impression of a happy life suddenly turns into a pitch-black tragedy. Nevertheless, Minis fearlessly guides us through it. This woman has been through the worst, but this piece doesn’t end there. No, it ends with how her character continues. She breathes, she puts one foot in front of the other. She gets help. She still has her sense of humor. In addition to an indictment of male violence, Girls and Boys also a stormy ode to a woman’s resilience.

    In a breathtaking balancing act, Minis shows himself a master of control. Her character keeps the sadness to herself: a courageous choice of direction and a game entrance, which ultimately makes the pain all the harder for us, the audience.

    The Dutch theater jury writes: ‘Hadewych Minis shows an unparalleled versatility in this role, from the woman of the world on the peak of happiness to the powerless spectator in her own story. It’s a story that unfortunately has to be told and the public can count itself lucky that Minis is taking it on.’

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