First Class Flight of Fancy

More than a simple play, Aren’t We All Lonely Planets is an experience. It’s a journey through time, from the drawing room of Madame De Berry, a 17th century lady, to the spaceship of someone smarter than Einstein.

   Berry Visser plays ‘Madame Berry’ in Aren’t we all lonely planets? 

Written and brought to life by Berry Visser, Aren’t We… is theatre without walls- fourth or otherwise. Spectators become part of the show from the minute they enter the tiny alley that leads to Visser’s private theatre. They are ushered into Baroque-inspired salons and served glasses of wine as they wait, before an announcement asks them to rush to board their spacecraft.
“I hate performances where people are left alone while everything happens on stage. Here they are part of everything. In the play, the theatre is a spaceship that Madame De Berry has made and everyone is travelling with her,” says Visser.
About his character, the colourful Madame, he says, “She may be a bit crazy, but she’s very smart, she has studied Einstein and the theory of gravity. She knows at what speed of light people must travel to ensure that they don’t come home 300 years later,” says Visser. In the performance, there is another character called Mademoiselle Annabelle and Madame’s companion, a doll named Dorothy. “I found her at the vegetable market and she asked me to take her home,” he adds.
You may transport yourself into the future while you watch, but don’t get too comfortable there. Madame has other plans. The story takes you back a couple of centuries to Venice, where we learn the story of Visser’s ancestor, Papa 7. “It’s more like a dreamworld. But there’s a lot of humour too; we teach you how to prepare for an encounter with aliens, ask a bunch of existential questions and there’s music. Some of the songs are new and written for the play and will be performed by Madame,” says Visser.
The play is entirely in English, which makes it perfect for the expat community in town. “Be brave. It’s different, but once you are here, it’s nice. It’s first class treatment throughout, and Madame will serve everyone delicious cake.”
The theatre is an old warehouse, which Visser has carefully converted into a three-storey fantasy land. The ground floor has three salons with Queen Anne chairs, love seats, a wrought iron winding staircase, coloured lighting, shaded lamps, walls lined with books and quirky (sometimes scary) dolls lying about. The theatre is on the first floor and has 27 chairs surrounding an old piano, paintings, LCD screens and several other props. To create the feel of a flight-cum-spaceship, Visser has had technicians work on ways to simulate take off and landing too.
Published in The Hague Online. To read the complete story, click here
To enter the fascinating world of Madame De Berry, click here
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