When was the last time you genuinely answered the question: how are you? Most of the time, a simple good is fine, right? So do we truly communicate with each other? Student and director Kelly Heijmans was wondering this exact thing. As a result, the play Hoe Gaat Het? (How are you) was created and performed by the Student Association for Theatre (STA).
In the play, we follow a group of friends who go to, what seems like, a festival. Awkward greetings open the piece as the infamous words ‘How are you’ are uttered. Silence follows after the main character responds with an expected ‘good’. ‘We always ask each other how we are (…) without actually asking what is going on, it becomes a formality’, Heijmans explains when asked what her inspiration for the play was.
As the play continues the audience becomes aware of Heijman’s intentions and it becomes clear that the friends don’t really communicate with each other. Instead, they get increasingly drunk during parties, worry about trivial things such as a broken tent and are unaware that the main character is far from ‘good’.
‘This play was a nice balance of everything (…) a bit more concrete as well as quite abstract, it fits nicely in between’, actor Adriaan Scholtens shares when asked about his view on the play. Abstract or not, the sudden quiz in the middle of the piece is quite surprising. The quiz ‘is in her head, it is about the perfect communication (…) she thinks oh finally people are figuring out how to communicate with me’, Heijmans explains.
Perfect communication remains only in her head as the play ends with a song by the main character. She sings how now one can, will and is allowed to understand her, while her friends frantically try to reach her in the background. ‘For me, the ending could be quite heavy and serious because I don’t think we always realize how impossible our communication is’, Heijmans shares.
Photo by Chiara Goldenstern