Maas theater en dans presents a new production at Oerol Festival 2024

voorstellingsbeeld van de theatervoorstelling Waste Me van theatergroep Maas Theater en Dans, spelend op Oerol 2024.
© Jaap Scheeren

Next year, the dance performance Waste Me by Maas theater en dans will premiere during Oerol Festival 2024. The set design will depict the exact amount of waste that a European discards in a year. But why the interest in… rubbish? We speak to Cecilia Moisio, the choreographer and theater maker behind the production.

Let us guess: your closets are surely neatly organized according to the Marie Kondo method?

‘Oh no, not at all. I’m actually quite bad at throwing things away myself and often keep items, thinking they might come in handy someday in the future. Honestly, I’m even a bit of a collector myself. I love dishes, Finnish design. The performance might also be a plea directed at myself to let go of things.’

So, how did you come up with the idea to create this performance?

‘I had this idea five years ago when I had to come up with a new concept for the Dutch Dance Days prize. It goes like this: all my performances are about the psychology of people. I’m fascinated by why we often turn a blind eye to our own consumption behavior. When I started exploring this theme, I discovered how PR and marketing were developed and how they play into people’s craving to be someone else, different from who we really are. It started in America, with the cigarette industry of the 1920s. At that time, only men smoked, so they missed out on half of the population. They decided to start a campaign featuring strong, independent women. This led to women starting to smoke too, wanting to be like those women in the campaign.

Waste Me is about our mass consumption but also about our throwaway culture. And that’s not just about stuff; it also affects how we handle our relationships. If something or someone doesn’t suit us, we discard it and replace it.’

You’re planning to use the amount of waste we annually produce as the set design. How much is that actually?

‘Each person produces 500 kg of trash. And that’s just our household waste. When you include our share of mine and construction waste, it’s ten times as much.’


‘Yes, exactly! It should also have a shock effect, making people think, ‘Wow, so that’s how much crap I produce.’

We understood that the performers will have to work in and with this amount of waste. That will undoubtedly be physically demanding. Can you tell us about the rehearsal process and the challenges you expect?

‘Oh yes, we realize that in the process, we need to carefully consider what materials we can use. It’s important that the dancers can fall into and disappear within them. The set designer [red: Marlies Schot] and I are brainstorming about the materials together. We’re having many conversations with each other.’

How is the creative process progressing?

‘Currently, I’m still doing a lot of psychological research and considering how I want to incorporate that into the scenes. Besides that, I’m working with the set designer, and the composer has started writing the music. We brainstorm a lot together. In a later stage, we’ll go into the studio, probably in April or May. But the biggest puzzle will happen on location; there’s no other way.’

Will this be the first time you’ve created a location-specific performance?

‘No, but it will be the first time outdoors! As a performer, I have experience with outdoor locations, but not as a creator, so it will be exciting.’

Can you say anything about the locations you’ve visited?

‘In September, the team visited Oerol and viewed a total of six locations. One of them was the old landfill of Terschelling, which is interesting conceptually but perhaps visually less so. So, we weigh the pros and cons at each location and consider what they are. What the final location will be is still a secret – even to ourselves, haha.’

How do you think the location will influence the creative processes?

‘It has a huge impact on the design. Can we integrate part of the landscape into the set, or do we have to detach them from each other?’

Finally, if you had to choose: do you want the audience, after seeing Waste Me, to reflect on their own consumption behavior or to feel something?

‘I can’t choose. I hope the audience feels the effects of the behavior of constant consumption and disposal and feels the physical exhaustion of the dancers. But of course, I also hope they then start reflecting on their own consumption behavior.’

Waste Me will be a mix of dance, theater, trash art, and live music, and will premiere in June 2024 at (undoubtedly) a special location at Oerol Festival on Terschelling. Visit Maas theater en dans’s website for more information.