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Gender Monologues
Diana Blok

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Biographies / Why Gender Monologues?

Abke Haring (NL, 1978)
Since 2010 Abke Haring has been a full-time actress at Toneelhuismakers (Theaterhouse makers and actors) and
Toneelgroep Amsterdam. She acts, writes and directs and is also directed by others. She was recently directed by
Tom Lanoye for her role in Hamlet vs Hamlet (TGA), which earned her the Theo d’Or prize for the best female role.
The text for Gender Monologues is derived from her role in Hamlet vs Hamlet. In 2016 she played in Grensgeval
and De Welwillenden both directed by Guy Cassiers. Her well-received piece Platinum (2018) was her last for
Toneelhuis. In her own creations, physical performances and images merge in a term called "trip theater" that
typifies her personal work. Here the element of physical performance, atmosphere and visuals clearly claim their
place. Haring had already worked at Toneelhuis and created Kortstond and Hoop. She wrote and directed a new
piece WOOD in which she also appeared, after which FLOU followed and also Song#2 with Benjamin Verdonck,
and TRAINER a play that "makes economic dominance tangible”. In the fall of 2015 Abke Haring made a piece
based on a new script she wrote herself called UNISONO. She plays in season 16/17 of De Dingen Die Voorbij
Gaan and Grensgeval (Borderline), directed by Guy Cassiers. The Kindly Ones will tour in France, Italy and Spain.

For Gender Monologues she chose to play a piece from Hamlet vs Hamlet, because she was pregnant when she
played this successful role for Toneelgroep Amsterdam. In 2017, when we filmed the monologue, she gave birth to
a beautiful son and was able to step into the role again from a new perspective.
 

Cas Enklaar (Den Helder, 1943)
- Toneelschool Amsterdam 1965-1968
- Toneelgroep Centrum 1968-1970
Played pieces by Brecht, Edward Bond and Boris Vian.
- 1970-1985 Werkheater: part of actors collectives, solo pieces, own texts, street performances, tent
performances.
The Werktheater arose in the seventies from the discontent at the end of the sixties about the lack of
attention for experimental, small-scale theater.
- Toneelgroep Amsterdam 1987-1989
Played pieces by Rijnders, Kolbes and Euripides.
1985 to now:
- Carrousel Theater, Nieuw West, Toneelschuur Haarlem.
- Guest roles at Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Theater van het Oosten, R.O. Theater en Zuiderlijk Toneel.
- Productions including Wilhelmina and Je Maintaindrai by Ton Vorstenbosch.
Television films:
- Masterclass by Hans Leeuwen, 2005
- Mooi Geweest by Mari Sanders, 2018
Feature Films:
- Dagje Naar Het Strand by Theo van Gogh, 1984
- Flodder by Dick Maas, 1986
- Lang Leve de Koningin by Esmé Lammers, 1995
- Abeltje by Ben Sombogaart, 1998
- Buddenbrooks by Heinrich Breloer
Now: Rehearsal for Eindspel by Samuel Beckett, directed by Erik Whien, with Toneelgroep Rotterdam. Premiers
October 11th 2019.

“My choice for Gender Monologues has to do with the time I first moved to Amsterdam and saw a play in the
Schouwburg. It was Kersentuin with Ida Wasserman and it was so terribly beautiful.
She’s a very tiny woman and she could make you cry as much as you wanted. The thing that stayed with me is that in
the play she returns from Paris to Russia and then sees the student Petja again, who used to be her son’s tutor until
he drowned in a river, and she only upholds a superficial conversation with him. Despite her tragic life, she remained
a sensible woman, and that is so intriguing.”
 

Claron McFadden (US, 1961)
The soprano Claron McFadden graduated cum laude from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York
and has been living in The Netherlands since 1984. She is known for her very varied repertoire, ranging from
Baroque to Contemporary music and has worked with conductors such as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Frans Brüggen
and Sir Andrew Davies. Important opera roles she has sung include the title role in Lulu at Glyndebourne, the role
of Zerbinetta in the Dutch National Opera's production of Ariadne auf Naxos and the title role in Cavalli's La
Didone with Fabio Biondi. Furthermore, she was invited by many opera houses throughout Europe such as ENO,
Opera de Lyon etc. She is known for her unique interpretation of contemporary music and has many world
premières to her credit, including works by Harrison Birtwistle, Jörg Widmann and Michel van der Aa. She
frequently works with The Arditti Quartet and Klangforum Wien. She has participated in several projects that
combined different art forms, like Alain Platel’s Pitié, and Ruben van Leer's dance film Symmetry, filmed at C.E.R.N.
She is frequently asked to join improvising musicians such as Kris Defoort and is a regular member of the David
Kweksilber Big Band. She is artist-in-residence at Muziektheater Transparant and has realized several
multidisciplinary projects: Lilith (2012), Secrets (2015), Nightshade: Aubergine (2017) and most recently Façade:
The last days of Mata Hari and Mitra and Harriet (2018/2019). In 2002 She was nominated for a Grammy Award and
in 2007 she was awarded the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts. She is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts
and her TEDx talk in 2010 was selected to be shown on the prestigious TED.com website. In 2015 she was a judge
at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

“When you invited me to join the project two years ago now it felt right, my intuition said: you have to do this. So I
said yes, jumped and hoped it wouldn’t hurt too much! It was quite a process to find the right character to portray,
because it was important to incorporate my voice into this portrayal. I have always been fascinated by the myth of
Orfeo and how he expresses his grief through music. Then Black Orfeus (Orfeu Negro) came up in our conversation
and this felt just perfect. The role of music, particularly the voice, in the film is so important in expressing feelings. I
had seen the film a long time ago, and the fact that it was set in a favela in Brazil resonated with my own history,
coming from the US, descending from slaves. I am therefore very conscious of structures in society, walls and
harnesses…and how we break through them, or not… There is a text in this piece, A Felicidade, which speaks of the
illusion of carnival: people who work all year long dropping class distinctions, walls and hierarchies and just being
equal during these four days, only to go back to reality on the fifth. This touched me immediately.”
 

Helen Kamperveen
Helen Kamperveen was born in Curacao and moved to The Netherlands at the age of 14. In 1972 she married the
Surinamese-Dutchman Johnny Kamperveen and since then they have moved a few times between the Netherlands
and Suriname. After the December murders in 1982 the couple continued to live in The Netherlands for a longer
period of time. Helen started her acting career at the Doe Theater in 1973, with the controversial show Land te
Koop (Land for Sale). In the early 1980s she came into contact with Rufus Collins in The Netherlands through Henk
Tjon. The encounter and the continuation thereof have been decisive for her career. The first part she played in The
Netherlands was De Negers (1984) with Nieuwe Komedie, directed by Rufus Collins. Collins also gave her her first
major role, as Blanche in the show Tramlijn Begeerte, in which the situation was adapted to Suriname and
Amsterdam. After this she played many roles, with the multicultural companies De Nieuw Amsterdam (DNA) and
Cosmic Illusion by Norman de Palm and Felix de Rooy. She played with the latter company in the production Skin
(1990), directed by Annemarie Prins and others. She also plays roles with traditional companies such as Theater van
het Oosten. From 1992 to 1994 Kamperveen played in the popular TV series Medisch Centrum West. After her
return to Suriname in 1996 she played in the performance De Dood Van Het Meisje (2000). She also played in the
stage adaptation of Clark Accord's novel De Koningin van Paramaribo and the theater monologue De Gevallen
Vrouw Bestaat Niet (1999). Kamperveen is the director of the youth theater school ‘On Stage’ in Paramaribo, which
she founded in 2007. The school now has 130 pupils, between the ages of 7 and 22.

“I am a great admirer of Baldwin, his poetry, activism, and ... in short, the recognition that I feel in what concerns him,
his soul. I want to play him for Gender Monologues!”
 

Matheus Nachtergaele (Brazil, 1969)
One of Brazil’s most famous actors, Matheus Nachtergaele has starred in numerous Brazilian films, best known for
his appearances in the 1997 film Four Days in September and the worldwide acclaimed film City of God, winning
Best Actor in the Havana Film Festival. He has twice won the Best Actor award in the Grande Prêmio do Cinema
Brasileiro, for his roles in Midnight (1998) in 2000 and O Auto da Compadecida (2000) in 2001. He also won the
Best Actor award for Mango Yellow at XIII Cine Ceará in 2003. In 2008 he made his directorial debut with The Dead
Girl's Feast winning Silver Hugo and Gold Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and two nominations in
the Cannes Film Festival. In 2016 he plays in the prize winning film Don't Call Me Son, directed by Anna Muylaert. It
was shown at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival where it won a Jury Prize at the Teddy Awards for LGBTrelated
films at the festival. Now, in 2019, he again won Best Supporting Actor award in the Brazilian Cinema Brazil
Grand Prize for his role in O Nome da Morte (The Name of Death) directed by Henrique Goldman. For the past year
he has been touring Brazil with his own solo performance Processo de Conscerto do Desejo (Process to Solve
Desire).

Nachtergaele chose to select a piece from this oeuvre since it represents an essential part of his life as an actor and
human being. Conscerto do Desejo is based on the letters and poems which his mother left behind. She
committed suicide age 23, when he was only three months old. “My intention was to resolve that constant tension
in relation to my mother. To heal, to experience who I would be after working on this trauma and putting it out to the
world… to resolve that constant struggle in relation to my mother, the suicide which justifies some of my own
behavior. It is a psycho analytic piece which defines what will happen next. We actors live passionately for that, to
play, to live, to love the characters we play. Here, I could not be closer to my own mother whom I lost at such a young
age. I live, therefore I desire.”
 

Mateus Solano (Brazil, 1981)
He is best known for his performances in Brazilian soap operas and films, famous throughout the whole of Brazil.
After his debut in Brazilian entertainment industry, Solano has featured in more than a dozen soaps for which he
received more than thirty awards for Best Actor, as well as various nominations. The son of a music-loving diplomat
and brother of a ballet dancer, Solano got involved in theatre at an early age. At age 17 he premiered his first play
and at age 24 he was awarded a degree in Performing Arts from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Since
then he has appeared in movies, plays and television shows. He lives in Rio de Janeiro with his wife, daughter and
son. The screen and theatre actor, who is best known for his brilliant performance in the popular television soap
opera Amor à Vida, gave the first gay kiss on Brazilian television in 2013. The kiss inspired millions to reflect on
stigma and discrimination. “Now, more than ever, we need to raise awareness, particularly among young people,
about the best ways to prevent HIV and, above all, to end all types of discrimination.” he states. Solano became the
first UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador for Brazil in August 2014. In his new role, Mateus will promote human
rights and will be a spokesperson against discrimination, one of the factors that makes people vulnerable to HIV
infection. His strong appeal is expected to positively influence young people towards greater acceptance of sexual
diversity and of people living with HIV. (https://www.unaids.org/en/aboutunaids/unaidsambassadors/
mateussolano)

Mateus selected to play Cinderella for Gender Monologues because he would not like his young daughter to grow
up with this myth which embodies an element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward… the prince, the golden
carriage and tight crystal shoe. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a
young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. It is somewhat
far removed from reality.  
 

Grace Passô (Brazil, 1980)
The first thing that attracted Passô in the theater was the difference. When she first stepped on stage at a
performing school at age 13, she felt automatically identified with people of varying ages, with all kinds of bodies
and clothes she encountered there. Since then, it has been 22 years of her career, several prizes and pieces
translated into six languages – Por Elise (2005), Amores Surdos (2006), Mata Teu Pai (2007), Vaga Carne (2016) and
Preto (2018)—, in which she deals with issues such as machismo, racism and blackness.

In cinema, the trajectory of the actress and playwright is more recent. It began in 2016 with a small but important
role in Elon Não Tem Medo da Morte by Ricardo Alves Júnior and was voted Best Actress at the Festival de Rio
2018 by the protagonist of Praça Paris by Lucia Murat. This year, she starred in Temporada by André Novais Oliveira,
which premiered on January 17th and is already considered by critics as one of the highlights of 2019 in national
cinema. Passô considers that it is still a breakthrough to be an artist, a woman and black in Brazil. “I see the artistic
medium as a very concrete mirror of what racism in the country is. The black woman has always been a structuring
element of our society, but only now is there an expansion of the spaces that we can occupy.” she says. For her, the
theme of the showcase has special resonance in this political moment of the country. “It raises the existence of
bodies under threat and the need to create spaces for them to have a future despite this moment of condemnation
of bodies, of what is gender, of what race means…”.

For this very same reason she chose to play Martin Luther King Jr. in Gender Monologues, adapting his iconic
speech. “I have a dream to represent the situation of black people of Brazil today.” As a playwright she states: “I
write to exist as an actress, to act and invent my world without having to subject myself to waiting. In addition to
writing what you yourself is going to say is a gigantic power. And my blackness in the art interests me more and
more.” (https://blackwomenofbrazil.co/actress-grace-passo-in-brazil-there-are-thousands-of-viola-davises-andwhoopi-
goldbergs/)

Ogutu Muraya (Kenya, 1986)
Ogutu Muraya is a writer and theatre maker whose work is embedded in the practice of Orature. He studied
International Relations at USIU-Africa and graduated in 2016 with a Master in Arts at the Amsterdam University of
the Arts - DAS Theatre. He has been published in the Kwani? Journal, Chimurenga Chronic, Rekto:Verso and
Etcetera Magazine. His performative works and storytelling have featured in several theatres and festivals
including- La Mama (NYC), The Hay Festival (Wales), HIFA (Harare), NuVo Arts Festival (Kampala), Spoken Wor:l:ds
(Berlin), Globe to Globe Festival (London), Ranga Shankara (Bangalore), Afrovibes Festival (Amsterdam), Spielart
(Munich), Theatre is Must Forum (Alexandria), Theatre Commons (Tokyo) and within East Africa. Ogutu is a recipient
of The Eric Brassem Exchange Certificate. He was recognized as a talent in the 2017-2018 Amsterdams Fonds voor
de Kunst - 3 Package Deal. His latest solo performance Because I Always Feel Like Running was nominated for The
ZKB Patronage Award and ZKB Audience Award during the 39th edition of Zürcher Theater Spektakel in Zurich.

"The life of Wangarĩ Muta Maathai was inspirational; I continue to learn from her courage, dedication and decisive
fight for the environment and her understanding of how protecting the environment is intricately connected to
caring for all sentient life including human life. From her memoirs I wanted to focus on the period when she was
young, to show the influence of her mother and how from an early age she witnessed the destructive colonial
mentality that saw humans as a being separate from nature. This was a hard role to play, I wrestled with it and myself
– and eventually managed to tune out my over rehearsed masculinity and yielded to my inner femininity. Then
something very special happened inside me - the male and the female dissolved into one being. In the end the aim
stopped being to perform Wangarĩ, but to channel her and activate the voices in my dampened by years of binary
thinking – a separateness that is the source of a lot of misery, tension and conflict not only between humanity and
nature, but in gender, race and many other social-political struggles for equality. Through this channeling I was
forced to examine my life, wiggle out of my comfort zone, face up to my realities and take a stance. For me, this is
the power of being part of Diana Blok’s work – it made visible to me the constructs that I had taken as given and
pushed me into new vantage points where I saw the fallacy of it all.”
Kenya, August 13th 2019
 

Karina Holla (Rotterdam, 1955)
Last year Karina Holla received the prestigious theater prize, The Theo d’Or, for her moving role in Romp by Rob
van Graaf. She played a dying woman, of whom only her expressive face is visible above the sheets, with Gerardjan
Rijnders as silent opponent. Karina Holla has been making movement theater for the past 35 years, as a performer,
teacher and director. Examples are Valeska, ich bin eine Hexe (1983), about the turbulent life of the grotesque
dancer Valeska Gert, Solo Duo (1985, first Mime Prize), her international breakthrough that was played in eleven
countries; Falten (2005), for which she directed three older mime actors and Kafka Project (Best Theater

Performance Prize, Croatia 2013). In the performances Être Blessé (2009, nomination Mime Prize) and especially
Fremd-Körper (2014) she started to use much more text. From the idea that she can convey the stories she wants to
tell about the lives of striking people, not purely and only through movement. In 2018 she received the Theo d’Or
for an almost motionless role, in which she laid all emotion in her facial expressions and use of voice. Loek
Zonneveld wrote about Fremd-Körper: "She has a voice like from a deep vault. With her small body, she can play
just about anything, but really everything. The most exceptional and hideous monsters live in her in many forms. In
a small studio in the 'warm neighborhood' of the Amsterdam 1012-neighborhood, all those figures crawl, dance,
march and walk through the space: SA and SS men, the enchanting canteen girl Puppchen, the medical
examination scary, the guys from de Kneipe, the Rot Front agitators of the communist party. Holla plays Max
Gericke's deathbed on two chairs, as if she is flying sur place to the other side (...) In both scenes you hardly know
where to look in beauty. It is not of the subtly dosed empathy. She's from the mime. She is a stage personality who
can switch rapidly to the tones of the music."

For Gender Monologues Karina plays the role of Max / Ella Gericke from Fremd-Körper written by Manfred Karge,
based on a true story: In a torn Germany, plagued by Nazism and World War II, a poor woman marries crane driver
Max, who calls her Snow White. He dies and to survive in Nazi Germany she assumes his identity. She drinks beer,
schnapps, eats pig's paws and participates in all men's games. She cannot go back, in the evening in bed she
wonders 'am I the man I should be or the woman I want to be?
 

Levi de Kleer (1990, Gouda, NL)
He came into the world as a girl, under a different name and took a detour around the age of 20, only to end up in
a different yet similar place. After training race horses in France, endurance horses in the US, teaching Tango and
having various other jobs he decided to dive into different movement based practices such as dance, contact
improvisation and martial arts. He recently graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld academy, and formerly studied Latin
American studies at Leiden University and fine arts at the school for young talent at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts
(KABK) in The Hague. With a broad interest in a multitude of things, he likes to work simultaneously in different
areas, although with an emphasis on writing, movement and sculpture. The body and the different ways in which it
is captured, explained and perceived play a central role in all of his work. He also works on a regular basis as a
performer for other artists.

“For Gender Monologues, I immediately thought of Pina, and then I started to tremble. Because my second thought
was that I couldn't be Pina. Nobody but her can be Pina, It’s impossible. I felt an instant fear mixed with an enormous
desire. She is her body, she speaks with her body and she seemed to have stripped herself from everything that is
unnecessary. I cannot think of anyone else who has so much strength, while remaining completely open to the world
around her. And I cannot think of anyone else I would rather be, if I could choose to be a woman. It's a desire that is
almost painful. I will never be anything like her, and I could never do justice to someone I admire so much. It’s
terrifying to look at your heroes. I can’t be Pina, nobody but her can be Pina, I almost feel embarrassed to do Pina.
Because it is impossible. But it had to be her.”
 

Vanja Rukavina (Bosnia, 1989)
The multi-talented Vanja, born in Sarajevo, finished Drama School Maastricht in 2011 in Holland. Immediately after
graduating Vanja took residency at the prominent theatre company Toneelgroep Amsterdam. He was seen in
several plays like DISGRACE, TAMING OF THE SHREW, CHILDREN OF THE SUN, OPENING NIGHT and EMILIA
GALOTTI. Vanja also was part of the marathon THE NATION, with Het Nationale Theater, he won the Arlecchino for
best supporting male. On television Vanja was seen in the third season of OVERSPEL, earlier he played the leading
role in an episode of VAN GOD LOS, and in the special themed Onenightstand MIJN MARKO. Last year Vanja was
seen in the TV-series I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Vanja played the revival of NOBODY HOME, the acclaimed play
about the refugee issue. He was also in theatre with MADE IN HERE, and he toured with his own dance
performance BOKKO; the performance was seen in China, South Korea and the US. Coming year Vanja will play his
solo LANGUAGE, nominated for the BNG Bank Theaterprijs 2019.

“I chose Cleopatra because of the fact that she proves that smart, rational and powerful women are universal and of
all times. The world as it is now can take an example and learn from her that heritage and gender should never ever be seen as an obstacle for reaching your goals. The text, written by Glauber Coradesqui is universal and actual both
in Cleopatra’s time as in Now. The reason I chose to play in Gender Monologues is because I had never been asked
to seriously play the role of a woman. The small roles I did play have been more in the sense of a caricature or
parody of them, so this was an amazing opportunity and challenge.”