in the Category: art

It doesn't matter if our characters are human or animal

In Folks&Fools, Lobke Leirens and Maxim Storms guide us through a timeless world. They take on two guises inspired by the scapegoat mechanism. As a duo, they fulfil a fateful quest, one that seems never-ending and without a purpose. The two are condemned together and must follow each other through many turns. Folks&Fools is the fourth performance Leirens and Storms created together and is premiering in Nona Kunstencentrum on 13 and 14 October 2021.

Interview by Stefanie De Meerleer
Photos shot by Tiny Geeroms (Paule Josephe)

What is Folks&Fools about? 

Lobke: We started with the scapegoat mechanism. History has shown us that in a society, a minority group or a single person is often designated as a scapegoat. We wanted to turn this scapegoat figure into a fictional character. 

Maxim: In our show, the scapegoats are ‘expelled’, forced to leave their tribe. Folks&Fools begins after that moment. We asked ourselves: where are they going? Which way are they going? What happens when you end up with only one other person in a new world? In Folks&Fools the characters imitate each other and make their own rules.

Lobke: In our imagination, they are sent on a quest, but the performance itself is actually a quest without purpose. This conflicts with the concept of a quest, which we find interesting. It becomes a quest without a goal or a quest in search of a goal. The two characters are condemned to each other and together they undergo this nihilistic search for meaning. As a result, they find their own customs, rituals, society, their own tribe ...

Why the myth of the scapegoat? 

Lobke: Because it is still relevant. We continue to look for scapegoats. We’ve done it throughout history, and we are still doing it today. 

Maxim: The scapegoat is also related to the figure of a hero. By expelling or sacrificing the scapegoat, the tribe believes that order will be restored. So in a way, the scapegoat also performs a heroic act, though not a self-chosen heroic act.

In our performance, we try to show both ways. On the one hand, they are the misfortunates who are sent on a lonesome quest, and on the other hand, they are the heroes, the ones who think they will solve the universe. 

Lobke: (But they never actually perform a heroic deed...)

You like to create an absurd world in your performances. What attracts you to it? 

Maxim: I think it has to do with how we play together while creating our work. By improvising, absurd reality rises in an organic way. We don't begin intending to make something realistic, instead, we work more intuitively. It doesn't matter if our characters are human or animal. We have a penchant for going elsewhere in our story so that it almost becomes a myth in itself. 

Lobke: We believe we can show something about our own world by creating another imaginative world. We create grotesque characters, but they are still relatable. This could be in a profoundly human way or an existential question within themselves. 

Timelessness seems to be an important part of your plays as well? 

Maxim: It is not clear if they have just left in this quest or perhaps they were already on the road for thousands of years. Our characters are both friends and enemies, rivals and lovers, strangers and soulmates. 

Lobke: We play with being on the road. Not only literally, but also in terms of mentality. In Folks&Fools, we trigger the audience's imagination. The characters seem to be floating through time, one moment you feel like you’re in the middle-ages and the other you’re in a science fictional, mutating landscape. There might not be any physical obstacles on our quest, but our mind makes up for that by creating illusionary barriers.


13&14 Oct - kunstencentrum nona Mechelen