Letter to W
a nightingale and a crow in a singing contest
a pig walks by
they engage the pig to be the jury of the contest
the pig says okay
the nightingale sings
the crow sings
squeaking and horrible
the pig says the crow wins and leaves
the nightingale cries
why are u crying the crow asks
are u crying because u didn’t win
I am not crying because I didn’t win the nightingale answers
I am crying because I got judged by a pig
Hello useless – for W and friends is a solo performance about stopping. The performance aims to offer a moment to breathe and take the time to look at things again with fresh eyes. It will attempt to be meaningless. Without words and without knowledge. Without structure, but also without an existing structure to fight against. Just to be seen and heard. An attempt to reconstruct a space where consensus exists. But then from an alien’s perspective.
Hello useless – for W and friends situates the futility of art alongside the futility of people and objects (according to white male heterosexual consensus), taking its well-deserved time to do so.
For this solo, Benny Claessens radically returns to the base. Both honest and intimate, exuberant and ecstatic, he takes things out of context, simply presents them to you, and proposes other options. Without criticizing, denouncing or making statements. He just returns your time. To watch, think, feel and see for yourself. Enjoy.
Benny Claessens has spent the last few years at the Münchner Kammerspiele with director Johan Simons, whom he followed back to NTGent in Belgium, to be part of the ensemble in 2015-2016. In the meanwhile, he created a solo at CAMPO.
I consider Hello Useless - For W and Friends as a celebration of uselessness. On an existential level, that is. It doesn’t matter whether art is necessary or not. Nothing is. But why shouldn’t it exist? Benny Claessens in VETO Magazine
Hello useless is the portrait of a headstrong artist, who shows himself to be radical without a role or message to hide behind. But is Claessens allowed to act deviously on stage for an hour and then call that a ‘performance’? Yes. Because in his hour you understand more about the soul of an artist than in many other hours of acted drama.
Evelyne Coussens, De Morgen, ****
Hello Useless - for W and friends is a heartfelt, lively, and affectionate performance, which celebrates the futility of ‘ordinary existence’ and thereby becomes meaningful. It is a surprising and intangible gem, which warms the heart and strengthens faith in joy. (…) He sings, dances, plays, tells jokes, and urges the audience onto the stage. In short, he combines genres in himself and embodies those combinations of genres superbly.
Els Van Steenberghe, Knack Focus, ****
LANGUAGE NO PROBLEM