Are there people who know everything?
The man who knows it all professes it to be so.
But behind every word hides yet another new question
The actors René van ‘t Hof and Tjebbe Roelofs go together on a quest in search of all encompassing knowledge. Along the way it becomes evident that “question” and “answer” hit it off well together. While sharing a sandwich they clear themselves a path through an ever-changing world. Knowing everything is apparently more difficult than they had imagined, because…what if one thing can suddenly change into something else? And how do you fit something like “gloominess” into a bright PowerPoint presentation?
The Man Who Knows it All is the fourth and final part of a series of performances for young audiences that Jetse Batelaan has made for what is now Maas Theater and Dance (he began this work for Max., one of the forerunners of Maas). His point of departure up until now for these pieces was “what the target group interests the least.” He confronted children of 8 and up with a fun version of boredom in “Performance in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens” (2005, Gold Cricket Award). For kids from 10 up het explained how everything should be in The Wagging Finger (2008, Silver Cricket Award and nomination for the VSCD Mime Award). In PLAY he threatened the 14 and older crowd with the worst of the worst: Art itself. And now comes the last part, for those starting at age 4: no harassing the kids this time, but rather an ode to the elementary power of theatrical imagination. Jetse is since March 1, 2013 the artistic director of Theater Artemis.
Jury report Zilveren Krekel
“An uncommonly original show for pre-schoolers! With De man die alles weet director Jetse Batelaan has managed to rouse his audience, ranging from the very young to grownups, and make them roar with laughter. The show kicks off with a catchy song by Keimpe de Jong: ‘Here’s the man who knows it all, he’s unforgettable’. Until the arrogant man-who-knows-it-all starts to make mistakes, and his young viewers are compelled to call out suggestions to help him, creating a sense of chaos and anarchy that is rarely evoked or allowed in theatres. An accomplished entertainer, René van ’t Hof keeps his fired-up audience on a string; sometimes thanking a child, sometimes responding with vexation. His helpful side-kick, performed with great humour and timing by Tjebbe Roelofs, brings some wonderfully wacky creations and asides. Together they form an irresistibly funny Batelaan-duo, with disorderly help from the mood-boosting multi-musician De Jong.” VSCD-jury
Brechtje Zwaneveld, NRC (*****)
“Van ‘t Hof plays with his young audience like a seasoned entertainer while adults recognize existential questions. Outlandish.”
Annette Embrechts, Volkskrant (****)
“Without shortchanging the other two performers in any way, René van ‘t Hof, with his poker faces, pleading eyes, crazy dances and a cocky juggling act with a xylophone and sticks, is so downright good, and beyond that unmistakably Keaton & Chaplin & Laurel & Hardy in one body, that you don’t know where you have to look, while you at the same time have to control your bladder.”
Loek Zonneveld, Theaterkrant (*****)
“René van ’t Hof is the kind of actor for whom, no matter what he is playing in, you want to buy a ticket. With his inimitable mimicry and that wonderfully odd body of his, he immediately captivates the entire audience. The Man who Knows Everything is an ode to not knowing. It is masterful theater.
Jos Schuring, Scènes (*****)
“I saw children around me moving along with the action on the edge of their seats, in a way that would turn most circus performers green with envy.”
Loek Zonneveld, De Groene Amsterdammer
“I liked the performance the show a lot. It was very funny. (…) I give it a 10!”
Cultuurbarbaartje Hannah, age 5.
“This man (René van ‘t Hof), who by lifting an eyebrow knows how to open the door to whole worlds, is by himself reason enough to make the show a must. But complemented with the fine music of Keimpe de Jong and the Tjebbe Roelofs supplying the introductions and cues for his treatise, the piece becomes a celebration for both kids and their (grand)parents.”
Esther Kleuver, De Telegraaf
“Sometimes you are pleasantly surprised and have as much fun as your screeching child. If not more. That was the case with Maas’s performance The Man Who Knows Everything. It was a long time ago that I laughed so hard in the theater.
Ernest van der Kwast, AD Rotterdams Dagblad
“Batelaan has proven with his first performance for the very young to be a consummate director for the target group. And the incomparable Van ‘t Hof comes across so awkward, helpless and finally wantonly merry to handle any audience.”
Joukje Akveld, Parool (****)
“The Man Who Knows Everything is the ultimate anti-performance. To screw up your mind. Batelaan has the unheard of guts to wipe his feet on all the rules of professional youth theater. Respect, Mr. Batelaan!”
Filip Tielens, Cutting Edge
Direction: Jetse Bateleaan
Performance: René van ‘t Hof, Keimpe de Jong (muziek), Tjebbe Roelofs
Set design: Hester Jolink
Costumes: Liesbet Swings
Light: Gé Wegman
Photography: Noa Verhofstad , Phile Deprez
Video: JKTV Producties
The Man Who Knows It All is a production of Maas Theater & Dance, in coproduction with Theater Artemis