Sleazy, hard and dirty. This summer theater company Oostpool performs “Partymonster” at theater festival The Parade. Director Marcus Azzini, who was also responsible for Oostpool’s interpretation of “Angels in America,” was inspired for this performance at the Parade by the talked-about life of New York’s nightlife phenomenon, provocateur, Club Kid and murderer Michael Alig.
On a soundtrack with music by DJ Joost van Bellen he created the montage play “Partymonster” in which acting, dance and performance together strive for the perfect high. A theatrical tribute to the night that crashes in your face.
“Partymonster” takes place in the club scene of the 1990s. Nik van den Berg, who plays Michael Alig, tells he grew up “between Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z” and was when all this happened “pretty much still wearing diapers.” But he knows the stories: “Unfortunately, because I seem to miss that kind of extreme behavior these days. I don’t necessarily mean the excessive drug use, but especially the way in which the night is seen as a time when you don’t care how your duckface appears on Facebook the next day.”
In the 1990s Joost van Bellen “worked (and lived) at Club RoXY,” as he tells, “where Zubrowka and Ir. Harrie Wildeman were the queen and the king. In addition there was a battery of angry drag queens who tried to outdo each other by spraying the heaviest perfume, pasting on the longest nails, or use browner than brown makeup. The club scene was in those days a place where people could escape from their daily life and assume another identity. The outward show, the shocking, and the total madness were much more important than nowadays. In the night you found the like-minded: people who felt miserable by day because they had the idea not to fit into society and during the night they nullified this feeling with all their pomp and circumstance.”
With his outrageous parties Michael Alig created an endless space for freedom and self-expression. Joost van Bellen admires “his guts and creativity, the laying into morality, his knowledge in anti-establishment. He was extremely handsome, had the most absurd and decadent ideas and these made him an artist. But the drugs madness has made him a murderer. That’s an unforgivable fact and leaves one with a bitter taste of a great and intense period. Therefore, I don’t admire him, but what he accomplished before his heinous act is indeed an inspiration to me.” Nik van den Berg says he admires “the way in which Michael Alig could inspire people to exceed all limits, probably because they felt the need to express themselves in that way. It’s very important to have people who can release that in others.”
Asked where the party monster is inside himself, Joost van Bellen answers that “the monster houses deep within you, and with time it becomes increasingly tranquil,” but, he adds, “it’s just in my blood: I love outward show, craziness, things that subvert the prevailing morality, figures who create confusion and pull people from their comfort zone. Nowadays, that’s increasingly daring, because people accept less and in ignorance can react aggressively to actually peaceful surrealist birds of paradise. If all goes well this creates progress, of course, receptiveness for new ideas, and these eccentrics are thus important for culture.”
What can the visitors expect from “Partymonster”? “A lot!,” according to Nik van den Berg. “Dancers making vogue drops, acts inspired by those days, music by Joost van Bellen (fuck yes!), an awesome performance by Dennis Vanderbroeck, marvelous lines by Hannah van Wieringen, and you get me as the one who drags you along. And it’s all directed by Marcus Azzini, who has experienced those days, so it just can’t go wrong.” Joost van Bellen adds that he has seen “beautiful lines, almost poetic. The author has combined the weird, the beautiful and simultaneously terrible in a great way, without becoming vulgar or get everything bogged down in only the drugs disaster. I know that Nik is unique and extremely good. Add to that the great director, the incredible dancers, Bas Kosters’s costumes and our music, et voilà, the Dutch Party Monster is born and that is no kids’ stuff!”
“Partymonster” can be seen this summer until August 23 at
theater festival De Parade in Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Go to www.deparade.nl for more information.