Two flamingos share the same goal in life; bringing a baby chick into the world. They will do anything to succeed. Even if that means moving to the big city. Now they will surely succeed.
BRENDA is without words but with chirps, cries, squabbles, cheers and other sounds.
BRENDA is a physical comedy for the whole family.
BRENDA is suited for the international market.
A flamingo couple are living together in an apartment. An appartment with a door and a window to look outside. Outside is a busy street with many cars and even more people. It is definitely noisier than where they used to live. But the place is perfect to build a nest in. That’s all they need.
Background & residencies
We met during a workshop at AKDT in Wallonia (BE). The following year, we saw each other again in Paris studying Le jeu masqué and the dream of a theatre performance, regardless of the distance between us, was born. The corona pandemic seemed to throw a spanner in the works, but we persevered. And we planned three meetings to create BRENDA.
Residency #1 Beyond clichés (Madrid-Tomelloso)
Sharing clichés, historical facts, differences and similarities between Spanish and Dutch culture during their first residency
In October ‘21, Gwendalyne left for Madrid where Sonia organized their first residency in collaboration with the Lavapiés Cultural Center.
The focus was on ‘identity’. What constitutes your identity? What influences, strengthens, weakens your identity? Nature versus nurture.
Both are used to not living and working in their homeland. How does this affect your identity? They share the experience that it brought them closer to themselves and recognize in each other the feeling of being the odd duck.
S.- (...) Velázquez, Grapes, Flamenco, …
G.- Do you know the dance?
G.- Ah, you mean Flamenco I meant flamenco.
S.- The bird! It’s the same word.
G.- I love flamingos
Residency #2 Find your inner bird (Ferrol-Tomelloso)
Things are going badly for our planet. The world population continues to grow, animals are threatened with extinction, too many forests are being cut down or burned, food and water shortages are looming, and experts expect the world to become uninhabitable for one-third of the world’s population within a few decades.
The survival of the flamingo is also threatened. The lagoons where they lay and hatch their eggs are drying up. As a result, they have to move to other places. But where can they go?
In BRENDA, the flamingos enter our world. Because to whom or what can they adapt better than to those responsible for the suffering caused?
Through the flamingo, GwenySon feel more freedom to address major issues without coming across as moralists. They themselves have no solutions to turn climate change for the better. On the contrary. Like the Flamingo (and other animals), they have no clue what the future holds for them and how to turn the tide.
Thanks to their optimistic nature, their work ethic and experience in the physical comedy, GwenySon feel a responsibility to create performances for the newest generations, giving a way to create awareness about social topics.
Residency #3 The egg (Antwerpen-Belgium)
BRENDA’s creation took its first steps during their third residency this August ‘23. This time Gwendalyne organized accomodation and a rehearsal space in Antwerp at Rataplan vzw.
During their first week, collegue and streetartist Gordon Wilson (The Primitives) was coaching them and put many interesting questions on the table.
Also we showed a work in progress to a group of friends and collegues at the end of the second week. Thanks to the various feedback, they were reaffirmed in their research and will keep working in the direction they pointed. Thanks to this third residency, the code and the storyline became increasingly clear. The closer they get to realizing BRENDA, the more eager GwenySon are becoming to keep “hatching their egg”. In the fall of ‘23 and spring of ‘24, the creation of BRENDA will continue both in Belgium and the Czech Republic, where Sonia is currently working.
Performers: Gwendalyne Van Erp and Sonia Ruiz Parra
Coaches: Gordon Wilson, Sven Verelst and Deniz Polatoḡlu
Set design: Gwen&Son
Light design: Gwen&Son
Masks: Sonia Ruiz Parra
Design & video: Gwendalyne Van Erp
Production: ROESTgroep (Belgium) & Cía. Peninsular La sombra del oso (Spain)
Partners: Rataplan vzw, Alfarería Peño and Centro Cultural Lavapiés.
Gwendalyne graduated at the drama-school of Maastricht (NL) as a director and teacher of drama. After graduating in ‘10 she moved to Antwerp (BE) and co-founded the theatre company ROESTgroep. A collective with a core group of performers, musicians and a costume designer. The group focusses on location based theatre and tries to bring theatre to the people instead of the other way around. GWENDALYNE Complementing her love for socially-inspired projects, she focuses on children, performing in different productions and working as a clown in Belgian hospitals. In ’20/’21 she wrote and plays in her own production Struis, that is currently playing in cultural centra and at schools in Flanders. Last year Gwendalyne completed her degree in graphic design at Encora in Antwerp (BE) and alternates her work in theater with graphic commissions. In ‘16 she discovered the world of the clown, an incredibly fascinating craft in which her enthusiasm and love for physical comedy can thrive. The clown pushes her boundaries, puts things in perspective, comforts her and therefore others.
After studying Hispanic Philology at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the University of Granada, and obtaining the Diploma of Advanced Studies with a work on the theatre of exile, Sonia graduated from the International School of Theatre Mar Navarro & Andrés Hernández (Lecoq’s pedagogy) in Madrid in 2017. She and other partners of the same school founded the physical theatre company ‘La Sombra del Oso’. Their main focus is masks, play of the chorus and exchange processes around the world. Eversince she has been taking theatre courses in different countries, especially in the city of Moscow where she lived for two years and in Italy in the Scuola Conia directed by Claudia Castellucci. In addition to her own research as an actress she has taught different theatre workshops in Russia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Spain. For Sonia theatre is an artisanal art. She builds her own masks and gives great importance to silence and working with people. With Cía. Peninsular La sombra del oso she created her own solo Más de La más fuerte, with texts of Strindberg and Calasso. Now she is focused on different projects of the company like Another Theatre’s Moon, Cuando las cabras juegan a los dados and, of course, BRENDA.
CONTACT GWENDALYNE firstname.lastname@example.org
+32 (0)498 57 53 02
SPEAKS Dutch English French
THEATRE COMPANY ROESTgroep vzw www.roestgroep.be
CONTACT SONIA email@example.com
+34 659 05 84 18
SPEAKS Spanish French Italian English Portuguese
Cía. Peninsular La Sombra Del Oso www.lasombradeloso.com