April list of events

31 Mar

While we send out weekly mails with our events, some people like to have an overview of what’s up so they can plan ahead. Here’s a list of all the events that are confirmed for April. The list is by no means complete, as we are known to add something last minute if we think it’s worth it. More info about the events can be found on the Mezrab website.

Tuesday April 1st Improv Drop-in / Twice a month Ryan Millar hosts a drop in class for all levels of participants. Get your improv on between 20.00 and 22.00 for € 15,- . No need to register.

Friday April 4th Storytelling (Dutch) / Our monthly open stage to come and listen and/or tell a story. Mom makes soup! 20.00. Free entrance.

Saturday April 5th I AM STORY! @ Podium Mozaiek / Not a Mezrab event, but worth mentioning. Twice a year Sahand does a HUGE show at one of the nicest theaters in Amsterdam. This time he’ll do an epic storytelling show inspired by the journeys of Sinbad. For tickets go to the site of Podium Mozaiek. Event is in English.

Sunday April 6th Story Slam / On Sunday night we open our doors for some competetive storytelling. The Mezrab team is challenged to a duel by the Dutch Impro Society. Blood will flow! Doors open at 19.00, stories start at 20.00 (don’t be late!). Event’s in Dutch and free.

Monday April 7th Nude Model Drawing Session / You bring your own material, we provide the model and together we improve our skills. Sessions between 19.30 and 22.00. € 5,-

Tuesday April 8th Play Reading: Don’t Smoke In Bed (English) / Orange Tea brings you great new theater. Come and see what they have in store this month. For more info visit their site.

Friday April 11th My True Story (English) / The story night reserved for true stories only. Great fun if you can find a seat. Free entrance, mom makes soup.

Saturday April 12th Impro Jam / Music can’t be crazy enough? Once a month we host an experimental Jazz jam session. Doors open at 19.00, music starts at 20.00. € 3,-

Monday April 14th Nude Model Drawing Session / You bring your own material, we provide the model and together we improve our skills. Sessions between 19.30 and 22.00. € 5,-

Tuesday April 15th Improv Drop-in / Twice a month Ryan Millar hosts a drop in class for all levels of participants. Get your improv on between 20.00 and 22.00 for € 15,- . No need to register.April 18 april storytelling

Sunday April 20th Concert: Merope / World fusion music at its finest. For an idea of who they are and what they play, go to their site.

Monday April 21st Nude Model Drawing Session / You bring your own material, we provide the model and together we improve our skills. Sessions between 19.30 and 22.00. € 5,-

Friday April 25th Themeprov (English) / The fourth Friday of the month is reserved for some improv madness! Each month has a different theme and the food is prepared by the ladies of Coco Sauvage! Starts at 20.00 (don’t be late!), free entrance.

Monday April 28 Nude Model Drawing Session / You bring your own material, we provide the model and together we improve our skills. Sessions between 19.30 and 22.00. € 5,-

Dag 50 – Leaving, on a jet plane!

18 Mar

Wat is het vertelambassadeurschap toch heerlijk. Geen dag gaat voorbij zonder een vertelactiviteit. Hier de oogst van de afgelopen dagen:

Vrijdag avond, jurylid wedstrijd “De Grijze Kanarie”. Een wedstrijd om de beste verteller te vinden die 50+ is of grijs is. Of aannemelijk kan maken waarom deze verteller mee zou moeten doen aan een wedstrijd van vertellers die 50+ en/of grijs zijn. Aan de beschrijving merk je al dat het om een ludieke wedstrijd gaat, en dat werkt. Het was afgeladen in Galerie Kralingen met enthousiast publiek, niet in het minst met een cohort aan vertellers die uit de wedstrijd waren geloot maar toch aanwezig waren om als een schaduw publiek een prijs uit te reiken.

Nu is de Grijze Kanarie een wedstrijd om de grijze verteller in ieder van ons te laten spreken. Ik denk dat het omgekeerd is, de grijze vertellers zijn in zo’n context alles behalve stoffig. We zagen humor en joie de vivre, het was een stoet aan jonge hanen en lentekippetjes die we zagen.

Wel moet ik als vertelambassadeur een kritische noot plaatsen: Op dit heerlijke evenementen heb ik meerdere malen de organisatoren en presentatrice op het podium horen vertellen dat het om een simpele ludieke actie ging die een beetje uit de hand is gelopen en groter is geworden dan aanvankelijk bedacht. Zelfs wanneer je overrompeld bent door je eigen succes kan je dat achter de schermen aan je collega’s toegeven, maar laat het publiek maar denken dat het exact zo is gegaan zoals jullie voorspeld hadden, en dat het volgend jaar alleen maar groter zal zijn!


Ook de media blijft interesse tonen in het idee verteller van het jaar. Afgelopen zaterdag was ik te gast bij het radioprogramma Levensverhalen van Amterdam FM. Een gast praat een uur lang over zijn leven en tussendoor luistert het publiek naar een aantal nummers die voor hem belangrijk zijn. Maandagochtend zat ik in de studio in Hilversum tegenover Annemiek Schrijver om de Nachtzoen te verzorgen. Geen idee wat dat is? Op 1 april wordt het op het einde van de dag op Nederland 2 uitgezonden.

Vanaf gisteren zit ik in Groot Brittanie voor een reeks optredens met mijn show Kingdom of Fire and Clay. Vanavond spelen we in de Storytelling Hut in Emmerson, een actieve vertelschool, daarna in de rest van het land. Ik zal proberen tussendoor te berichten!

February in a single list

29 Jan

We’re goofing around a bit with the Mezrab event list. We’re doing so many things the events wont fit on the site or in the weekly mails. So we thought, let’s put a list on the blog, and for more info per item have a look on the Mezrab site. Anyway, here’s what’s happening in February. When we don’t mention a location it’s in the Mezrab:


Sunday 2 Feb  / Storytelling show: Jonge Honden play the Mahabharata (Dutch). 20.00 € 5,-

Monday 3 Feb / Nude Model Drawing Session. Bring your own material. 19.30 € 5,-

Tuesday 4 Feb / Improv Drop-in. All levels. 20.00 € 15,-

Tuesday 4 Feb / Dutch Tour Storytelling Show Iran vs. Israel. Podium Noorderlicht (Koedijk)

Wednesday 5 Feb / Dutch Tour Storytelling Show Iran vs. Israel. Filmtheater Hilversum.

Thursday 6 Feb / Dutch Tour Storytelling Show Iran vs. Israel. Melkweg (Amsterdam)

Friday 7 Feb / Storytelling Night (Dutch). 20.00, free entrance.

Friday 7 Feb / Dutch Tour Storytelling Show Iran vs. Israel. Branoul Theater (Den Haag)

Saturday 8 Feb / Dutch Tour Storytelling Show Iran vs. Israel. Branoul Theater (Den haag)

Sunday 9 Feb / Duo Musica ViNicola. Southern Italian folk madness. 20.00 € 5,-

Monday 10 Feb / Nude Model Drawing Session. Bring your own material. 19.30 € 5,-

Tuesday 11 Feb / Orange Tea play readings (English): The Frito Lay. 20.00 € 5,-

Friday 14 Feb / My True Story (English). 20.00, free entrance.

Saturday 15 Feb / Impro Jam – Experimental Jazz concert + jam. 20.00 € 3,-

Sunday 16 Feb / Impro Night – Veronica Bit Me. High quality improv theater (English). 20.00 € 5,-

Monday 17 Feb / Nude Model Drawing Session. Bring your own material. 19.30 € 5,-

Wednesday 19 Feb / The Bagdad – Tehran – Tel Aviv connection. Storytelling show in Rietveld Theater (Delft)

Thursday 20 Feb / The Bagdad – Tehran – Tel Aviv connection. Storytelling show in Meervaart (Amsterdam)

Friday 21 Feb / Storytelling Night (English) 20.00, free entrance.

Sunday 23 Feb / Intro Workshop Belly Dance / Performance (more info soon)

Sunday 24 Feb / Nude Model Drawing Session. Bring your own material. 19.30 € 5,-

Friday 28 Feb / Mezrab Impro (English). 20.00, free entrance.

Monday Mixtape # 14 – Introducing Tato Martirossian

27 Jan

Every once in a while we ask someone we admire to send us a list of their five favorite songs. It’s a sure-fire way to get to know someone better and at the same time discover new music.

This week we’re posting the list of Tato Martirossian, award winning Armenian-Dutch belly dancer. A while ago Tato started teaching dance at the Mezrab to a dedicated group of ladies. Though she cursed us a few times for asking her to make this list (what, only five songs? How can I choose between all these beauties?) we’re grateful for the glimps in her musical taste. Enjoy!

Sari Siroon Yar – Loosig Kochian

If you haven’t heard this song been played by the Mezrab collective, you sure missed out on something. But don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll play it again (right Sahand?). This is the original Armenian version, composed by a 19th century troubadour, who tried to enchant his mountain sweetheart, a “girl with a thousand charms”, through the magic of his music. The melody of this old love ballad was used for a beautiful Iranian song in the seventies, which was popularized during the 1979 revolution. How cool is that? And I only found out a couple of months ago.

Agua de Beber – Astrud Gilberto

When I was a little girl I used to live in a tiny house in Armenia with my parents and my little sister. One of my most vivid memories is of my dad waking us up every morning by playing one of his many vinyl records in the living room. I remember it was glorious waking up on summer mornings with the sun rays peeking in through the window, the wonderful smell of breakfast and the sweet voice of Astrud Gilberto.

Batwannis Bik – Warda

The very first time I saw a belly dance performance, I was blown away by the elegance and the skills of the dancer. I couldn’t believe the way she was translating the melodies and the rhythms through her body. I immediately knew that I had found my passion. The belly dancer was dancing to this song of Warda. Does it sound vaguely familiar even though you hadn’t heard it before? Timbaland has used a sample of this song for Aaliyah’s “Don’t know what to tell ya”.

Antika – West El Balad

This Egyptian band now tours all over the world and plays in huge sold-out concert halls. When I used to live in Cairo though, they used to perform on Fridays in a tiny, smoky, crowded bar in a downtown alley. Everyone used to sing along happily to this song, but the lyrics are quite sad actually. It’s about a loving heart who becomes an antique (antika) in the house of its beloved, after she’s done playing with it.

Love is Blindness – Jack White

I spend a lot of time in the train. A lot. Sometimes I see super funny people and overhear super interesting convesations. But sometimes the train atmosphere gets polluted by super boring banalities. In these cases I like to put on my headphones, play dramatic music and pretend I’m in a movie scene. This awesome song never fails to transform a lifeless train morning into a Tarantino movie scene. Enjoy!

Monday Mixtape # 14 – Introducing Sam Morris

20 Jan

Every once in a while we ask someone we admire to send us a list of their five favorite songs. It’s a sure-fire way to get to know someone better and at the same time discover new music.

This week we’re posting the list of Sam Morris. Director, Actor and Storyteller (the last of which he does in the Storytelling group Spindlevine. Together with Lora Mander Sam has started the Orange Tea Theatre Company, with which he does monthly play readings at the Mezrab. When we asked him to send us his list this is what he wrote us:

I think mixtapes are a great art form, long may they live! Here’s my selections. Only the women’s choir isn’t on youtube, so I’ve attached it. If you need me to pick another, I can, but I’d like it if this one made it in!

The Cat Empire – The Chariot

This band is special to me in lots of ways, and this song in particular. It’s a manifesto, a rallying cry, an entreatment, a promise, and a vision of a better world, all wrapped up in a party that makes you jump until it feels like it’s really possible, surrounded by thousands of others feeling the same. A tribute to the power of (live) music.  Play it loud!

Women’s Choir of Sofia – Don’t Hurry Sun

(as Sam wrote this is not the link to the piece he was listening to, so we’ve included an entire album by the Bulgarian State Women’s Choir)

I can’t claim to know what the words are within these lovely sounds, and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter to me. My closest guess is a lovers’ prayer for a longer night before the sun brings new tasks for a new day to drag their beloved from their arms, not dissimilar to Act III Scene V of Romeo and Juliet – still my favourite Shakespeare piece.

Romeo – It was the lark, the herald of the morn,

No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks

Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:

Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day

Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

I must be gone and live, or stay and die.


Nina Simone – Sinner Man


When people talk of ‘movements’ in music, it’s almost always in reference to classical. If this doesn’t also qualify, then there aren’t the right type of scholars in music. Like many spirituals, it’s made up of some very simple parts (the hand-clapping section especially). It’s the movements of these sections, coming together to produce a ‘Big Rock Finish’ better than any rock song, that I’ve chosen this song for. In theatre, we are often limited by our finances to simplicity. I’ve never for a moment doubted, however, that this means we can create anything less powerful if we set our minds to it.


Levellers – Battle Of The Beanfield


In Mezrab, it’s not uncommon to hear stories from people who have escaped brutal violence or repression in their home state. Thankfully, in Britain, incidents of mass police brutality are not as common, but when it happens, it’s worth remembering. The Battle of the Beanfield in 1985 was one such incident. There’s too much of a story to go into here, but the Levellers commemorated it in this song. Around the 25th anniversary of the event, I was part of a theatre production also serving as a reminder. Sometimes it is the job of the arts to hold up a mirror, and remind ourselves of things we’d sometimes rather forget.


faceOmeter (Will Tattersdill) – Stuffed Animals

Music is nothing if not personal, and what something means for one person can be entirely different for the next. With that in mind, here is one of my favourite people, playing one of my favourite songs of his, in one of my favourite pubs in the world. A good combination, no? Will wrote the music for my stage adaptation of The Princess Bride too, which we later toured round England. I watched Will reduce the rowdiest of crowds to deafening silence with this song, and then raise them again to boisterous mayhem with the next. Apart from an appreciation of stagecraft, which (although he would say otherwise) Will has in spades, I think the lyrics in this are beautifully poetic. More of Will here: http://faceometer.bandcamp.com/

Are you gonna film me the whole time?

10 Jan

Ran Li, a Mezrab regular and aspiring filmmaker shares her first video with us. It’s a great short in which she ambushes Mezrab storyteller <GONE> and gets him to appear in her video. It’s doesn’t just show the vibe of the storytelling nights, but also the vulnerability of a storyteller off stage:


With kind permission of Daniel we’re posting the entire story that features in the video:


Edit 18-02-2014: We’ve been requested to remove the name and the link to the videos. Hopefully we can link to the future work of Ran on this blog soon.

Stories in the form of short films

6 Jan

At the Mezrab we’re mad about stories. In all its shapes and forms. That’s why we get so incredibly excited when we find something that shows us a completely new way to pack a narrative. Here’s a variety of interesting finds. The last of the bunch we’ve posted before, but there’s no harm in watching them again or sharing them with friends. Enjoy!

Noah is probably the best 17 minutes you can spend behind your computer right now. A film that completely takes place on the computer screen (with the occasional phone screen added) showing the protagonist Noah interacting with friends and strangers over the internet.

(for some reason I can’t seem to embed the video on our blog, but seriously, do yourself a favor and press on this link: http://www.fastcocreate.com/3017108/you-need-to-see-this-17-minute-film-set-entirely-on-a-teens-computer-screen )

Death Ray from Space is probably the best 5 second film out there, but don’t let that stop you from watching a bunch of the others. It’s this type of material the internet is made for really, where else could such a short film have a home? Well, in the early edgy days maybe on MTV between some of the video clips. Remember when MTV had video clips?

For more 5 second films go here: http://5secondfilms.com/

This film we linked to on the blog just a few posts again, but it’s so great we’ll do it again here. It’s a combination of three disciplines. Part one is the Finnish epic Kalevala that existed as poetry for many centuries before being written down sometime in the 19th century. Part two is the brilliant performance poet Scott Sandwich who recaps the entire thing in ten minutes. Part three is simpel but inspired cinematography. Enjoy:

Armenia (Yerevan City) in 8 minutes

Here’s an example of a completely wordless narrative. Of the Mezrab visitors 99.9 % has probably never seen Yerevan, but it’s a short like this that makes you want to breath the air, wake up with its people. The last minute is quite bizarre, not sure why it’s edited like that.

Well, that’s the ones we wanted to share today. If you’ve got favorites for the blog, send us a link and we’ll include it in the next update!


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