Company Frieda is a group of personalities with different backgrounds who find each other in a common artistic vision. The artistic core is formed by six artists: Nikè Moens, Patrick Vervueren, Eva Binon, Jan Palinckx, Tina Heylen and Seppe Jespers.
They find each other in a shared sense of beauty. Frieda consciously looks for beauty because it comforts us. Not because it camouflages the horror or gives an illusion of a better world. Beauty does not take a position. It does not pretend. It is just there. And when we see it, it cannot be ignored. Everyone, regardless of origin or age, can recognize beauty. It is universal and brings people together. Realizing this offers solace.
When Frieda works on projects they look for simplicity. The theatre they make is not a lecture or a display of knowledge or skill. They see theatre (and other forms of art) as a means to immerse themselves in the world. This study is not so much a goal in itself; it nourishes the ground on which a project can grow.
From the experiences and (sometimes complex) questions raised during their research Frieda tries to distill beauty. Paradoxically, they look for a beauty that is not ‘searched for’. They believe they can expose this ‘unsearched’ beauty, both in form and content, by looking for a particular essence. An essence, or a simplicity that is characterized by its wealth of associations, that is effective and powerful and that can be recognized by everyone.
Serendipity, or the ability to find something, by chance and intelligence, you were not looking for. So far, Frieda’s work consists mostly of theatre. Yet, they do not want to limit themselves to just theatre. Some messages are conveyed more effectively by using a different form. They try using the ideal of Socrates – to follow the argument wherever it leads. This does not necessarily lead to theatre.
Serendipity does not just happen. You must be competent and open to the unusual and unexpected. The aforementioned Socratic ideal, therefore, requires a great curiosity. A curiosity that they believe to recognize and stimulate in each other and even lies at the basis of the foundation of Compagnie Frieda: an interest in each other’s professional fields. The artists believe that cross-pollination of disciplines will yield greater and more powerful results than self-pollination.
Quite often Frieda leaves the field in which they are trained to function within another: an actor becomes a sound designer, a set designer becomes a puppeteer, a costume designer becomes a scenographer … It forces them to think in each other’s language and to look at their own and the other’s field with wonder.
Second, Frieda looks for cross-pollination by working with artists outside of the collective: in Lampe (Wietse Vermeulen and Marjan Verachtert), ‘Een oefening in alleen zijn / an exercise in being alone’ (Kristin Mertens), De Bomma’s / The grannies and X tot de Zoveelste / X to the umpteenth (Vick Verachtert and Ruth Mariën), Osterklan/k (Katrien Pierlet and Friends are Magic) and Tak (Annelies van Hullebusch and Ephraim Cielen).
Frieda considers this curiosity about the other to be essential in their quest for beauty. But they also want to keep the curiosity awake in their audience. They are, after all, what keeps Frieda going.
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