‘Showing that they naturally belong’
Marijke Schonewille is currently working on a short documentary about Anders!, one of the program components of Embrace Netherlands. Schonewille previously created the acclaimed documentary series Uitgewoond, about very elderly nursing home residents who are forced to move.
For Embrace, she follows participants in the Anders! musical theater project The Day I Go on a Journey, in which people with and without disabilities work together. ‘I want to show that what these actors and creators do is meaningful. It is important to show their work to a much wider audience. People with disabilities still too often feel they are on the sidelines. But they matter and of course they belong!’
The film lasts about 15 minutes and is distributed by Embrace and others. Until the film is finished, we will be posting regular updates from the filming of The Day I Travel. The production features dancing and music. There is singing and poems are used. The strength of the performance lies in the concept: that everything is done and made together, with each other. That the differences between amateurs and professionals are blurring.
Marijke Schonewille films alone, with one camera with her; this method usually produces personal, intimate images. ‘What struck me is the tremendous passion and dedication of the professionals. The way they care about the participants, their commitment and patient way of working with people with disabilities, that’s wonderful to see.’
Schonewille emphasizes the importance of a production like this: “The participants can express many emotions through music, dance and song. They cause a boost in their social lives. And perhaps most importantly, their lives are almost always about what they can ’t do, but now they can proudly show what they can do .
One of the actors has an autism spectrum diagnosis. It takes her an awful lot of effort to memorize the texts and so she reads aloud. “Because for her, every sentence is a project in itself,” Schonewille says. The premiere of The Day I Travel is this summer, depending on corona developments. More important than the final screening, is the road to it: the adventure the creators have together and the fun and (life) experience it brings them.
So over the next few weeks, we will always show a photo or video of the rehearsals. Like this time a photo (a still from Marijke Schonewille’s filming) of Aagje, who wrote the lyrics for the show.
Read an interview with Marijke Schonewille by VPRO television here. Then click here: