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29 juli 2020 | Nieuws

The Piket Art Prizes in times of corona (32): Tessa Jonge Poerink

Theatre makers, actors, visual artists, and dancers are much affected by government measures to keep the corona virus under control. What is the impact of these measures on the young (former) nominees and winners of the Piket Art Prizes? Part 32: Tessa Jonge Poerink.

Tessa kreeg een stortvloed aan reacties van vrienden, familie, collega’s en kennissen nadat haar nominatie voor de Piket Kunstprijzen bekend werd gemaakt. “Heel leuk! Ik kreeg ook appjes van mensen van wie ik het helemaal niet had verwacht.” De actrice, die in 2016 afstudeerde aan de ArtEZ Toneelschool in Arnhem, timmert hard aan de weg. Zo was zij al te zien in de voorstellingen Geluk, Vadertje en Moedertje en In mijn hoofd ben ik een dun meisje. Daarnaast speelde zij mee in series als Dokter Tinus en ADAM – E.V.A. “Mensen vinden het een exotisch beroep als ik vertel dat ik actrice ben. Ik speel in films, series en vooral in het theater”, vertelt Tessa. “Als ik moet kiezen tussen film en theater kies ik voor dat laatste. Daar is elke avond anders en dat is magisch. Tijdens de repetitieperiode van zes weken krijg je de kans om je personage helemaal uit te pluizen en echt te verdiepen. Bij film heb je minder controle over hoe jij in beeld wordt gebracht, bijvoorbeeld. En het is natuurlijk een stuk sneller.”

After the announcement of her Piket Art Prizes nomination, Tessa received a deluge of reactions from friends, relatives, colleagues and acquaintances. “It was great! I also got quite surprising and unexpected apps.” Tessa, who graduated from the ArtEZ theatre school in Arnhem in 2016, is really active. She took part in productions such as Geluk (Happiness), Vadertje en Moedertje (Playing House) en In mijn hoofd ben ik een dun meisje. (In my head I am a thin girl). In addition, she had parts in television series such as Dokter Tinus and ADAM – E.V.A. “When I tell people I’m an actress, they think it’s quite exotic. I perform in films, series, and especially on stage,” Tessa says. “If I had to choose between film and theatre, I would choose the latter. On stage, every evening is different and that’s magical. During the six-week rehearsal period you really get the chance to thoroughly explore the character you play. With film you have less control about how you will be shown. And of course things move a lot faster.”

Impact of the measures

The National Theatre’s marathon production Trojan Wars was postponed because of the corona measures. “Fortunately, Trojan Wars has now been scheduled for 2021, but it’s some eighteen months after the original opening night, quite bizarre,” says Tessa. September of next year will be devoted to rehearsals and, if all goes well, the tour will start in October. “We really need this whole month of rehearsals,” Tessa explains, “because we had only had one single try-out and hadn’t absorbed the performance yet.” The moment theatre director Cees Debets announced the bad news is still very much on Tessa’s mind. “Cees got us all together in the Royal Theatre’s main hall and said ‘we have to close’. Then all of a sudden it was real and everything changed. Some people cried, others laughed because they couldn’t believe it,” Tessa says. “During rehearsals you’re in a kind of bubble. At first I thought we would pick things up again within three weeks or so, but I was quickly disillusioned.” Tessa says she’s a little in two minds about the whole thing. “All theatres closed their doors. Strangely enough this produced a sense of calm. But on the other hand there was great sadness.”

So what now?

Tessa finds it all “quite tough.” “It’s a bit dull. I see friends and read magazines and books. It’s nice to be able to go out for a drink again, but I’m still thinking about taking on a volunteer job.” Luckily she has prospects: a part in a film and a Christmas production at Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam. “I’m a real fighter and don’t give up easily.”

Plans for the future

If corona permits the film Sisyphus at work will be premiered in December. “December 3rd at Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam,” Tessa says. The film’s main character is Boy Talma who after many years returns to Den Bosch, his native town, to record his new film. Just before shooting starts, he finds out he has only nine more months to live. He decides to tell no one. Tessa plays Boy’s assistant. “This is my very first part in a film. In the future I would very much like to do a major film role. That would be super cool!” Tessa says. “In addition, I hope to get the opportunity to perform in a play with colleagues who are also friends, people who have the same ambitions, the same attitude and expectations. Trojan Wars was like that. Actually it’s quite idiotic to perform a five-hour Greek tragedy for a young audience. This ‘we’ll just do it’ feeling, I thought it was wonderful. I hope we’ll keep doing projects of this kind in the future.” She also hopes to work with director Noël Fischer again. “And with director Eline Arbo!” Tessa is aware that the future of the performing arts sector doesn’t look bright. “But being on stage is what I want to do,” she concludes.

Photo: Hessel Waalewijn