For their upcoming new play, The Only Way is UP, Boris Van Severen and Jonas Vermeulen created an ode to normality, highlighting the casual and relatable things of life in a filmic way. As we follow the ups and downs of the characters’ lives, electronic music pops in, acting as a vital element of this dreamy and most certainly aspiring production.
Interview by Blanche Didier
Photos shot by Tiny Geeroms
How did you guys came to work together, was it love at first sight?
Boris: You could say that. We met each other in school. When we started talking about music and our favourite artists, we ended up mentioning the exact same bands. It clicked immediately.
Jonas: The first performance we did together was our graduation project. After that, we felt the necessity to keep working with the mixture of theatre and music because it was something we both wanted to explore more thoroughly. It’s also what we’re still doing today: investigating how theatre crosses over with music, without entering the fields of musical or opera. Creating an art form that is nor music nor theatre, that’s the goal.
It’s very important the play is about very ordinary people
Let’s say I have no idea what your play is about. How would you describe it to me
Jonas: The play questions the fun we have in growing up and getting older — an idea that sprouted from the lives we’re leading at this very moment. We follow four characters growing up from being a child, teenager, young adult, to the final three adult versions of him/herself. The play is about what changes in their lives, what they achieve and don’t achieve, how they look at certain things, subjects, and which choices they ultimately make.
It’s very important that it’s about very ordinary people. We didn’t want to depict a hero, we wanted to stage normal experience to then transfer them into a filmic atmosphere. We want to look for and make people see the beauty and poetry of daily life.
How do you relate personally?
Boris: I think there are zillions of things I’ve changed my point of view on over the years. It’s the biggest part about growing up. We once took the example of seeing a setting sun: when you’re seven it doesn’t mean anything to you, you just think it’s a waste of time to stare at it. Yet when you get older, even for myself now…I’m 28 and at times I’m still like ‘Shit, this is beautiful!’. Maybe in twenty years I’ll be saying ‘Fuck this, I’m gonna put my sunglasses on!’. It’s something you can’t foresee.
Boris Van Severen and Jonas Vermeulen play The only way is UP, 25 May, at Campo, Ghent. The concert is free for members. Become one here.