2015 Fools Log book

August Dirks 14 May , 2017

THE FOOL’S LOG BOOK 2015 

 Geestige en Vermaeckelicke Reys-beschryvinge Van den Zottenschuyt Naer Oost-Indiën gevaren, vervattende verscheyde kluchtige voorvallen, en koddige gedachten op de selve, geduerende sijn Reyse van Amsterdam tot Australien, 2016-2019

THE  FOOL’S LOG BOOK
11 March – 26 august 2015

Drawings by Elza Montlahuc
Text by August Dirks (and Jacob Nieuwenhuijsen)
Het Zwarte Logboek van de Kapitein
Diario de Abordo  por Lucía Roz Gonzáles
with drawings of Luz Arantza Crespo Dorrego

 Crew Spring 2015

Props and Corridor Front Deck

Corridor Front Deck

Star Board

Port Side

THE FOOL’S LOG
Summer 2015

From March 11 to August 26
From Pasaia (Spain) to Amsterdam
By August Dirks and Jakob Nieuwenhuizen

01 – March 11. 2015     The Fools Set Sail

The world trip that brings the Ship of Fools to the other end of the globe. is about to start. The ship still is moored in the Basque Country. The Spanish Angel is the cineast who records the performances, the preparations – and the Log Book. The Chilean/Hungarian Gaspar is the sound composer, working on themes of Grieg’s March of the Trolls. With Pablo we run the three motors in the motor room. With the German Clara we prepare the cabins to accommodate the crew that soon comes for rehearsals. There’s plenty of Murcian wine, liquors and toilet paper on board but yet no diesel. We got a van to bring about eight square meter of garbage to the containers. The persistent rains has stopped. There’s a challenge and there’s enthusiasm. We look for Fellinian dimensions. And The Ship She Sails.

02 – March 18. 2015  Operation Face-Lift

From Marseille arrived the new crew member Elza on board. She’s going to turn the Fool’s Log into a comic book! See yourself, she creates a fantastic realism, just like the whole history of the ship herself. In the meantime, in between the rains, we continue the painting in blues of the old lady. She’ll celebrate her centenary birthday in one or three years approximately, as nobody knows her real age. This painting we call “Operation Make-Up” and is meant to arrive in a decent way into a new port. Later on,  we go back to “Operation Face-Lift”, in which  surgical instruments like grinders and welding machines are employed. We had a children’s party on board, more terrific then a good storm , because they run in all directions and require all hands on all decks. Again, the Fools survived.

03 – March 25. 2015  Negotiations

Rain, rain and rains. On board no chance to apply to the decrepit lady some make-up. The captain takes his chance to run off to visit the ship’s old and new home-port. The old one is Scheveningen, a fishing village just off The Hague, where the ship was registered for more then fifty years as number 4. And just like 25 years ago we offer the ship, show and seating arena to the local community for a nostalgic meeting. This time though we have to mobilise all the old people’s residences around to find the veterans. A travel to the past. Amsterdam has become her new home-port and here the ship arrives in an exultant SAIL parade. Here we mobilise a lot of friends and artists and institutions to prepare her return as the floating Cultural Ambassador of the city. In the meantime another French nautical museum invited us to perform, which greatly helps to pay the diesel.

04 – April 1, 2015   Fool’s Day, First Day

Emilio, Lucia, Blanca, Arantxe, Pilar, Clara, Rincen, Lavinia,  from all over the fool’s came on board. Leonid and Bea as directors. The first ceremony is the baptism of the fools, with sea water of dubious quality. Already the public flocks together, the neighbours of the quarter, the Portuguese fishermen next ship, the pilgrims on their way to Santiago. They pay with their smiles. Soon the whole bay around will know the fools started their rehearsals and we can start selling the tickets for the premiere. The language on board is a curious mix of Spanish, English and Russian. The crew is young and fragile but enthusiast and motivated and the director is exacting. Another French nautical museum showed interest in the performances, which again greatly would help on our way to home port Amsterdam. And The Ship She Sails.

05 – April 8, 2015   The Fools in Action

The captain made a vain attempt to change the Mediterranean routine to eat twice a day. That would have meant to start the whole machine of food, pans and plates only once in the evening and so to save some prime time. His chance inevitably will come back in Northern countries. For one vegetarian the consumption of cheap meat sharply diminished. The morning starts with a collective greeting to the sun, even if she hides behind the clouds. That’s the warming up for the rehearsals which continue in high speed and high spirits. The director imposes a really Stanislavski styled theatre-play, of a very romantic content to which the fools hardly are used. In the weekend came a delegation of performers all the way down from Holland with the former tour bus of the Red Hot Chili Pepper Band. That night all enjoyed the remarkable meeting of the local Basques, the Dutch and the freshly arrived crew.

06 – April 15, 2015   Life is Theatre

The South-Spanish theatre that was about to perform last Saturday cancelled for having their star actriz crippled. So we improvised swiftly a Cabaret of Fools. That proved to be quite a success, since the comedians already are on board. Furthermore, from behind the mountains, appeared a super duo of puppeteers who happened to be in artist residence in the National Basque Puppet Centre. Six weeks to go. There’re so many groups that still want to perform on the ship that we start programming on Friday or two or three show on Saturday. Exiting times. The creation of a new show traditionally already is the most intensive time of the year. Besides, it’s good-by time. Uprooted again. About to leave a whole bunch of friends, performers and guests that forms a whole country and a way of living. The fate of a sailor boy.

07 – April 22, 2015   Life is Cabaret

Two things move pretty fast on board. First the artists performing there and the public showing up, con mucho gusto. But above all, there’s the sense of permanent crisis, that is provoked by a lack of rehearsal time, the escape of the protagonist and the clash of generation between the old foxes and young sheep. They all are learning very fast, sometimes in tears. A sense of urgency. After a quarter of century the Russian director finally is fulfilling his sacred passion: to direct. He knows exactly what he wants and what is possible. Sheer folly, interesting perspectives. In the meantime fifty-two adolescents descended from the Basque mountains to see the show and the ship. Everything in english, only to avoid the spanish language. On many hills around this proud language is spoken very little. The kids won’t easily forget..

08 – April 29, 2015    The Mare Spread

A full page article in the Basque press proved enough to provoke a chain reaction of four Basque national TV- and radio stations, asking for a reportage. The country realise the ship is about to “Weigh The Anchors”, as the article’s head line proclaimed. At the same time, a lot of artists are phoning, still vainly hoping to perform on board. Finita La Comedia. This indicates an abstinence  phenomenon we often observe upon leaving. The crowd wants much more. This syndrome does not affect so much the parting Fools who by that time are fully engaged in new challenges. For them the challenge is that the new protagonist doesn’t speak french. With him, the festive farewell from Basque country seems assured. With a Dutch protagonist the triumphant return to Holland. What about France? At least, the new protagonist is an Azart veteran, having participated in the 20013 Summer Show.

09 – May 6, 2015 Panic on Board!

Panic on board! By cleaning the toilet bowl she accidentally dropped on the steel deck and broke! This antique bowl model you won’t find far around! What to do with a public of ninety who witnessed the theatre show last saturday, all packed like herrings in the ship’s hull? Or with the odd two hundred who came afterwards to the party? They anyhow provoked the disaster with their silly papers in the bowl. Then it’s good to have a Russian director on board. He glued the thing! His Amsterdam neighbours declared him crazy when he went to repair his car with a soldering iron (soldeerbout). He soldered the thing! Only these keep a ship of fools sailing. The same creed as our Amsterdam mechanic. Meanwhile, rehearsals reached second gear. With eighth working days to go, High Time! Now the musicians of the local conservatory are going to be incorporated into the show. The conservatory is playing fare-well. Many, many more will …

10 – May 13, 2015 Last efforts

And now the ship’s bicycle is stolen. It was expressly imported from Holland. These outlandish models seldom have their damned gear or brakes properly working. In winter, at least, you still can brake with your clocks. The bicycle serves as a little truck bringing foodstuff and beverages to the ship. In Pasaia we were very lucky because the discount supermarket is at 500 meters and with the gentle slope down to the harbour the chariot goes by itself. It only needs one finger to be steered. But in France we don’t know where the supermarkets are. But rehearsals reached third gear. Only, there’re often interrupted by annoying TV interviews. The Russian director showed them their tongue and then starts fun. That’s exactly what they show to their TV-audiences. We’re proud of him. He brought to the ship the best of Russian theatre traditions.

11 – May 23 2015 The Fools Are Not Us

The head line of the full page article in the sunday newspaper stated “In The End The Fools Were Not Them”. This refers to all the problems the fools had in sailing in Basque Country and so promoting Sebastian Cultural Capital of Europe. The fools did their best. The world première of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt provoked a standing ovation. So many friends! We overhear the old ladies in the bar commenting about the departure of the ship. The last show produced full house. At the good-bye party participated 300 friends which did incline pretty much the ship over steer board. The end of an epic epoch. A void on the quay. Another victory was achieved after a heroic fight that took five weeks without quarter. Five plumbers were engaged. To unclog the toilet pipe. The ship mechanic finally employed the 20 odd bar air pressure with which to start the motor. Relief for all crew and 300 guests.

12 – Sunday, May 31 2015   Good-Bye!

This summer the Ship of Fools confronts five huge challenges: first to tear loose of the city that hosted us for 33 month’s. Tomorrow is the day. After so long, this is a very dramatic moment, albeit much more for those left behind then for the crew who’s about to find new playgrounds. Another challenge is to organise a decent tour along a handful French harbour towns. The French charity organisation Emmaüs, who designed our proposition as ‘genial’, could provide an interesting collaboration. One of the ideas is a set of performances in the harbour of Calais exclusively for the illegal immigrants trying eternally crossing the Channel. Then, a most interesting task is overcoming the time lapse by returning to home port Amsterdam. Suddenly everybody is ten years older. The ship is going to reconnect herself to her home port, for further exploits. Then there must be the ship yard, in autumn or spring. But the most important task is to produce the new show. We did. Standing ovation. The Russian director Leonid Vlassov employed all his knowledge and experience of the century old Russian theatre traditions to put on stage the most theatrical performance the Ship of Fools ever produced. Bravo! Proud to come back to Amsterdam. But first translate the piece to French.

13 – Sunday, June 7 2015   La Douce France

Other horizons. Another culture. The ship came back to France, after a rough 2-days sailing. Of all European countries, la France is the most open to the street arts. We should have come here 20 years ago but then, the French customs confounded us. They’re now our friends. Except, by now, French budgets are depleted. But then, we don’t come for the budgets. We’re gonna make a show. First translating the piece to french. Thanks to the Marseille-based designer Elza already the language on board switched to french. New home port is the proud maritime city of La Rochelle. The ship will be two weeks on anchor, close by, to translate, to produce the French tour, to start the rehearsals. We pretend it”s the Caribe. except, the water is mud coloured. The fools ascended to Paradise, to be better prepared for the coming exploits.

14 – Sunday, June 14 2015   On Anchor

All week on anchor. Negotiations continue thanks to a freshly acquired smart-phone. The price of progress. It took four days to find out how to respond to incoming phone-calls. The Fools became the Heroes of the Bay, provoking quite some rumours and visits. The whole island payed a visit, included all twenty kids living there. And all week translating the show in French. This seems a foolish enterprise, for the show is going to be presented in only a few French cities. But poetry has no price, nor limits. La France deserves it. Our seaman’s paradise sees a lot of rain and winds which forces us to postpone the blue make-up of the vessel. We fear the day to leave but the show must go on.

15 – Sunday, June 21, 2015   La Rochelle

The Fools returned to the old harbour of La Rochelle. Back to civilisation. The ship functions like a magnet, attracting hundreds who get addicted to the rehearsals which are, unavoidably, public. That changes once we set up the seating arena. The city prepared us a nice welcome, providing all the necessary permissions within a few days. The twenty-two pages questionnaire starts with the announcement you need at least two months. That’s La France on it’s best. We give back the honour by presenting the show in the most poetic French version we can think of.

16 – Wednesday July 1, 2015   Rehearsals

Première of the French version of the show. The protagonist managed in five days to master his French text. Now he has to play freely. But already, the public loved it. The theme, the setting of the show and ship and the passion of the actors, they know how to seduce. A promise has been born. Except, very little public showed up. Pearls before the swines. Another French historic town lost to the bewilderment of mass turism. What the hell we’re playing for? Much more interesting is to play for small communities like the Greek islands. I guess the Fools are fed up trying to reanimate a ailing what’s-upped European public. New horizons are luring. We escaped La Rochelle and sailed to Douarnenez, Britanny. A proud maritime country, like Basque country, except they virtually lost their language. Glad to be here, sailors in between sailors.

16 – Wednesday July 8, 2015  Britanny

The new destination is Breton Country, as proud as Basque County, except they’ve lost their language. Warm reception in Douarnenez, a former fishermen harbour that had the first communist mayor of France. This associative spirit is still alive. At that time the fishermen of former home-port Schevenigen kept working on Saturday when laws had freed them. Sunday was God’s Rest Day. The theatre gets form. It’s about love and poetry. The public starts to like it. Without understanding any word., some English spectators loved it Kds keep hooked to the endless dialogues. A few cried. Lured by reputation, the public kept growing.. This French tour, like the Spanish première, is an intensive rehearsal session for the final tour in Holland. The director doesn’t know these languages and plays in Russian how the tone should be set. In Douarnenez the local Fanfare played on the deck, in a jolly welcome and good-bye party. CINE SEARCUS played on the deck. This is a seafaring Breton theatre and cinema sailboat that especially sailed to meet us and that wants to grow bigger and sail farther. Next stop the Flemish France, just under Duinkerken.

17 – Wednesday, July 15, 2015

After a five-day stormy trip from Brittany we left the ocean behind. The English Channel. On the way we passed the harbour town Boulogne-sur-Mer where our ship type has been born in 1857. A ship owner from our former home port Scheveningen came down here looking for a faster haring ship. He bought a wooden ‘lougre’ that over the years transformed itself in an iron ‘logger’. Now there happened to be a maritime festival. By pure change, we passed just in time to participate at the Saturday afternoon Big Parade of Historical Ships. The festival manager called us the Secret Pearl of the Festival. We made deals with him to come back next June, to Calais and Dunkerque. Then we arrived in Grand Fort Philippe, a very little town just under Dunkerque, a village that is rather a big family. How much nicer are little towns. They stuff us with food and drinks. This country is Carnival Paradise.. It smells Belgium. Except, with low tide there’s no water left, so the ship is stuck in a repelling mud. The Lord Mayor invited us to the festive dinner in the town’s Feast Hall. National Holiday. We danced with the locals.

18- Wednesday, July 15, 2015    Stuck In The Mud

After a five-day stormy trip from Brittany we left the ocean behind. The English Channel. On the way we passed the harbour town Boulogne-sur-Mer where our ship type has been born in 1857. A ship owner from our former home port Scheveningen came down here looking for a faster haring ship. He bought a wooden ‘lougre’ that over the years transformed itself in an iron ‘logger’. Now there happened to be a maritime festival. By pure change, we passed just in time to participate at the Saturday afternoon Big Parade of Historical Ships. The festival manager called us the Secret Pearl of the Festival. We made deals with him to come back next June, to Calais and Dunkerque. Then we arrived in Grand Fort Philippe, a very little town just under Dunkerque, a village that is rather a big family. How much nicer are little towns. They stuff us with food and drinks. This country is Carnival Paradise.. It smells Belgium. Except, with low tide there’s no water left, so the ship is stuck in a repelling mud. The Lord Mayor invited us to the festive dinner in the town’s Feast Hall. National Holiday. We danced with the locals.

NO 19    July 8,  2015                                       THE SHOW MUST GO ON

The new destination is Breton Country, as proud as Basque County, except they’ve lost their language. Warm reception in Douarnenez, a former fishermen harbour that had the first communist mayor of France. This associative spirit is still alive. At that time the fishermen of former home-port Schevenigen kept working on Saturday when laws had freed them. Sunday was God’s Rest Day. The theatre gets form. It’s about love and poetry. The public starts to like it. Without understanding any word., some English spectators loved it Kds keep hooked to the endless dialogues. A few cried. Lured by reputation, the public kept growing.. This French tour, like the Spanish première, is an intensive rehearsal session for the final tour in Holland. The director doesn’t know these languages and plays in Russian how the tone should be set. In Douarnenez the local Fanfare played on the deck, in a jolly welcome and good-bye party. CINE SEACRCUS played on the deck. This is a seafaring Breton cinema and theatre sailboat that especially sailed to meet us and that wants to grow bigger and sail farther. Next stop the Flemish France, just under Duinkerken.

NO 20 July 15,  2015  (video, 5.30 min)       STUCK IN THE MUD

After a five-day stormy trip from Brittany we left the ocean behind. The English Channel. On the way we passed the harbour town Boulogne-sur-Mer where our ship type has been born in 1857. A ship owner from our former home port Scheveningen came down here looking for a faster haring ship. He bought a wooden ‘louvre’ that over the years transformed itself in an iron ‘logger’. Now there happened to be a maritime festival. By pure change, we passed just in time to participate at the Saturday afternoon Big Parade of Historical Ships. The festival manager called us the Secret Pearl of the Festival. We made deals with him to come back next June, to Calais and Dunkerque. Then we arrived in Grand Fort Philippe, a very little town just under Dunkerque, a village that is rather a big family. How much nicer are little towns. They stuff us with food and drinks. This country is Carnival Paradise.. It smells Belgium. Except, with low tide there’s no water left, so the ship is stuck in a repelling mud. The Lord Mayor invited us to the festive dinner in the town’s Feast Hall. National Holiday. We danced with the locals.

NO 21 July 22,  2015  (video 5 min)      FULL BUNKERS  (Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen)

Hello my name is Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen, I am a Dutch actor and I play Peer Gynt. I will be writing the logbook for the up coming weeks!. Let me tell you a little bit more about my stories and adventures on the Ship of Fools. I headed at the ship on the 14th of June 2015, where I took over the role of a Spanish actor who was playing Peer Gynt before me. So far, Professionally speaking, this has been an amazing journey! Living, working and travelling together with great people, on this magical ship, has enriched me enormously. And this has been one of the most challenging things I have done so far in my actor career. Playing Peer Gynt in French with only a week and a half to learn and to rehears the play was mad! But we did it and it went well! Last week we were up north, in Grand Foth Phillipe,  France, a little dodgy village just under Dounquerque. It was a travel of four days through the Atlantic sea. During a a stop-over in Boulogne we joined a incredible ship parade, before arriving in Grand Fort Phillipe. Entering the harbour was not easy because of strong winds and a strong current, so it took us a while. When we finally arrived there was a whole comity waiting for us, including the mayor, the press and a lot of locals. All sort of curious of this fascinating ship entering their harbour. Unfortunately we could only play during the day time as the harbour runs dry at night because of the tyde, Which meant that the water totally disappeared and the ship was on its belly at the bottom of the harbour. It was quite a remarkable sight to see the ship lying dry. The people of the village were very friendly. Every day they brought us free meals and every evening we where invited by Michelle, a most generous woman, for dinner in her Bar, where she made traditional smoked fish served with a fresh Picon beer! We celebrated 14th July, national day, with the locals on invitation of the mayor. In the weekend we where joined by a delegation of Dutch friends and a reporter from the Amsterdam local news paper, who will write a story on our travel and the return off the ship to Amsterdam. After the shows were finished we had a couple days left before we would leave so we all started to paint the ship and we fixed up the garden. It looks really nice and is almost ready to come back to Holland! The casts and crew of Azart is really is getting into the ‘Amsterdam feeling’, after 10 years no return. But first…. Brugge!!!

NO 22 August 5,  2015  (video 4.31 min)      BRUGES (Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen)

Playing in the church in Brugge was more difficult then expected. The ambiance is great but the acoustic is terrible for a good show. The echo of your own voice drives you mad after a while and every sentence seems to want to stay forever! But because the theme of our show fits really well in the ambiance of the church the people really loved it! Brugge is a really wonderful city. In the summer she hosts great outdoor music events for free. There was a great tango band from Buenos Aires performing and after their show we talked to the musicians and they joined us to the ship where they gave a special private mini concert for us! After our shows in the old church of Brugge it was time to relax a little. We had beautiful summer evenings with wine, good food and nice new Belgium friends! We started preparing for our return to Amsterdam! After ten years the Ship off Fools is returning to its roots! During the Baby Burn Festival the ship will enter the harbour of Amsterdam at the North side of Amsterdam. We expect a big crowd waiting for us, so we can’t let them down!

N0 23 12 August (Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen)

The trip from Brugge to Amsterdam was really special! Coming from so far and sailing into your own country again by sea was magical. Sailing, the not always so beautiful dutch coast, seeing Scheveningen, Zandvoort from the sea at a summer day was great. Eventually after 19 hours of sailing we turned to the right and sailed towards the Dutch coast and entered the harbour of Ijmuiden. The next day was the day that we where waiting for! The day of the big entrance and the return of the Fools in Amsterdam. We prepared an entrance show, which was called ‘The failed entrance in the harbour’. When the harbour was in sight we blew our horns and bells. When we turned to the left we saw a huge crowd of people standing on the shore waiting for us! We had a big fake cannon with fireworks and a big wooden anchor which floods. Everything went “wrong” ! Panic on the boot! Fire! “Get the hose!” Hoses where coming, but they didn’t work….” Get buckets!” Everybody started to pass down buckets of water. Eventually we got of board in small ships and with the small boats we dragged our ship into the harbour! Theatrical and organised ship panic! The crowd loved it! The days after the performance we had still some time to perfect the show for our Dutch premiere!

N0 24   19 August (Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen)

The dutch premiere was a big success! Full house with a lovely crowd! Unfortunately the good weather disappears and we get two days of rain! Because of that we had to cancel two shows on Saturday and Sunday. Then on Wednesday the big SAIL event starts in Amsterdam. A big parade of old ships rolls in. Hundereds of people are standing on the shore and even more are coming in small boats, all there to join the parade. We have the best view of the city! During SAIL our friends from NECPO do theatrical visits on the ship. In beautifully handmade costumes they perform everywhere on the ship. At night we play our show again. The rain is gone but the House music and the fireworks came instead! Playing shows outdoor is not always easy! But the audience doesn’t seem to matter, they like it a lot! Tonight we play our last show in Amsterdam and go to Scheveningen! Where the ship was build almost a hundered years ago!

N0 26    26 August  (Jakob Nieuwenhuijsen)

On our last days in Amsterdam we had a great going away party which was a great success! We met a lot of great people during our stay in Amsterdam. A new young crowd which where to young to remember the ship from its stay in Amsterdam, but who are really interested in the creativity of the ship. This promises great things for the future! The good news is also that the ship probably can stay in Amsterdam North for a year. Next to cafe Noorderlicht. A great place and we are happy to have them as our new neighbours. Together we wil organize a program all year long with cabaret, live music and parties. Our trip to Scheveningen is delayed because off bad weather. When we entered the Northsea from IJmuiden, we hade to turn around after an hour because the waves where to big and the tide was against us. We are thankful to our friends and of ADM to let us stay with them for a couple of nights. ADM is an old shipyard, which is now used by artist who live and work there. Tomorrow we will leave to Scheveningen at 5 in the morning and we will play shows on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully the weather will be good this time!

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