Theatre company STAN, an acronym for Stop Thinking About Names, is a collective formed by Jolente De Keersmaeker, Damiaan De Schrijver and Frank Vercruyssen, who met in the late-1980s at the Antwerp Conservatorium. There they worked with Matthias de Koning from Maatschappij Discordia, who acquainted them with another, less dogmatic vision of theatre. The company operates on the democratic principle that everyone participates in decisions on everything, from text selection, décor, and lighting to costumes and posters. STAN places the performer in the centre and strongly believes in the principle of the sovereign actor: s/he is both player and maker. Nothing is rehearsed in the conventional sense of the word; the largest part of the rehearsal process takes place around the table. Once the choice of the play is made, the text is edited and retranslated to arrive at a new script. Only in the final days before the premiere do the players take the floor, but the idea really only comes to fruition when the spectators are seated in the hall. STAN nurtures a firm belief in the ‘living’ power of theatre: the performance is not a reproduction of something that is learned, but is being created anew every night, along with the audience. A STAN performance is therefore not a finished product, but rather an invitation to a dialogue.
STAN stands for text-theatre and relies on an extensive and diverse repertoire. High on the repertoire list is the work of classic playwrights such as Chekhov, Gorky, Schnitzler, Ibsen, Bernhard, and Pinter. Dusting off texts from the history of theatre and bringing them into the here and now through a rereading, through placing them in a contemporary context. Besides the classics, STAN often chooses the work of contemporary authors such as, most recently, Yasmina Reza, and writing assignments are often given to authors such as Willem de Wolf, Oscar Van den Boogaard, Gerardjan Rijnders, et al. But the choice may also fall on collages of texts, whereby we start with dramatic texts or short stories, sketches, screenplays, philosophical tracts, and novels. STAN starts from the belief that theatre is not an elitist art, but rather a critical reflection on how all of us live; our beliefs, our concerns, our outrage. World Repertory offers – like no other – insight into the human condition and presents the keys with which to access the complexity of this world. STAN thereby often seeks the paradox of comedy: through humour and lightness, tragedy is often more palpable and more intense.
Each of STAN’s players is part of the collective, but also draws their own course. In addition to seeking a common affinity, there is also the room, and the need, to meet and interact with guest musicians and other theatre companies. In the past, STAN has often worked with Maatschappij Discordia (NL), Dood Paard (NL), Compagnie De KOE, Olympique Dramatique, and Rosas. For The Cherry Orchard the company has engaged nine guest actors.
STAN not only occupies a very special place in the Dutch theatre landscape, but has also become a much-invited guest abroad, as well. Over the past two decades, the company has built up a strong repertoire of foreign language presentations and has toured extensively in Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, and Norway), and on other continents (Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and Québec), with the foreign versions of their Dutch creations, as well as with the French or English versions they created abroad.
Jolente De Keersmaeker
Jolente De Keersmaeker (1967) is a founding member of tg STAN. These past years she co-created and appeared in, among others, Eind Goed al Goed, Het Wijde Land, Bedrog/Trahisons, Nora, The Cherry Orchard, Quoi/Maintenant, Poquelin II and Infidèles. Beside her work with STAN, she's regularly involved in the work of her sister, the choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and of her dance company Rosas. She teaches at the Ghent Conservatory and she regularly gives workshops in Belgium and abroad.
Damiaan De Schrijver
Damiaan De Schrijver (1962) is a founding member of tg STAN. These past years he co-created and appeared in, among others, of/niet, Brandhout, een irritatie, Het Wijde Land, Quoi/Maintenant and Poquelin II. He has created theatre productions in collaboration with members of the companies De Koe, Dood Paard, and Maatschappij Discordia, such as De Beroemden, De Toverberg, Onomatopee/Onomatopée, My dinner with André and atelier. He regularly appears in Dutch-speaking films and television series such as Het Verdriet van België (1995), Terug naar Oosterdonk (1997), Kijk eens op de doos (2002), Dennis van Rita (2006), De Ronde (2011), Met Man en Macht (2012) and Rosie & Moussa (2018).
Frank Vercruyssen (1965) is a founding member of tg STAN. These past years he co-created and appeared in, among others, Nora, Bedrog/Trahisons, The Cherry Orchard, Quoi/Maintenant, Poquelin II and Infidèles and he created several performances with young Belgian and foreign actors and dancers, such as The Tangible, Mademoiselle Else, Après la répétition and Scènes de la vie conjugale. He regularly teaches in theatre and dance schools in Belgium and abroad. He appeared in films such as Anyway the wind blows and in several television series, including De Smaak van de Keyser, Vermist, Amateurs and Over Water.