Club Guy & Roni Invites.. Lunatics and Poets. Anna Jacobs and Hanna van der Meer met at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London, after studying at the Nationale Balletacademie and ArtEZ respectively.
Back in the Netherlands, they expanded their horizons with a master’s in critical fashion practices at ArtEZ and a course in fashion design at Academie Artemis in Amsterdam. Since 2017, they have worked together under the name Lunatics and Poets. Their oeuvre consists of crossovers combining movement, materiality, and image. Apart from theatre, they also make short films and installations. Their production for Club Invites, Postcards from a better place, explores the darker side of life.
Tell us about your way of working together. What makes you strong as a duo?
We both want to express the zeitgeist and are fascinated by how people relate to it. Our work seeks to bring viewers into a world that’s both recognizable and alienating, and we’re looking for vulnerabilities that most of us suppress in our daily lives. We choreograph theatrical images on themes such as angst, alienation, identity, love, transience, and human powerlessness.
How did you come into contact with Club Guy & Roni?
We entered the 2018 Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition with a piece called I am a poem, there is no way out. We won Club Guy & Roni’s production prize, which involved doing two weeks’ research with their junior company, the Poetic Disasters Club.
Then, during lockdown, we made The people look like flowers at last for the digital NITE Hotel. Our interdisciplinary approach is a good fit with the Club’s, and it’s great to work in such a professional organization. It’s like a warm bath! We’re used to always doing everything ourselves, from production to marketing, but now we’re not under pressure from all these obligations and can concentrate wholly on the artistic process.
“We’re looking for vulnerabilities that most of us suppress in our daily lives.”
Postcards from a better place is about the dark side of life. Where does this fascination come from, and how do you give form to something so abstract?
Everyone has dark thoughts and emotions. Our inner darkness is a large part of who we are, but we don’t often talk about it: it’s always a bit hidden, in the shadows. We examine the darker side of life both on an intimate individual level, and a world level. Where do dark thoughts and emotions come from, and under what circumstances do they surface?
The set refers to rooms in which emotionally charged moments occur in an almost filmic way, and in which the inner and outer worlds begin darkly overlapping. We need light to do a performance about darkness. Light and dark can’t exist without each other: no dark without light, and vice versa.
Do you have much contact with the other maker, Mohamed Yusuf Boss?
Sure! It’s actually a really special project. Our performances differ in terms of form and content, but there’s also a lot of overlap. For example, we work with the same cast of five great dancers: Tanya, Tatiana, William, Ada, and Lin. They’re all ex-PDC people, except Lin, who’s from Norway.
We also share the crew: we have the same composer, lighting artist, and set designer. We alternate rehearsals, sometimes one week, sometimes two on one piece, on the same floor. We’re always in contact during the changes: we discuss progress, and see bits of each other’s processes. We hope to turn this into an interesting diptych.