|From 1970 till 1975 I worked at Mickery|
From 1970 till 1975 I worked at Mickery, with Ritsaert. In Loenersloot at first, later in Amsterdam.
Coming from a job in Youth Care, I found this a strange world, and Ritsaert a very special boss.
Zealous, boundless and monomaniac - but above all very kind. The perfect host, always present at the center of discussions with actors, directors, audiences and the critics.
A rare combination of qualities that I’ve not often meet in other people since.
I’ll spare you the details, but in the beginning I did not really want to work at Mickery, and Ritsaert did not really want to have me.
It was the board of directors that had high hopes of our cooperation. They were right: we became a strong team.
Ritsaert was always Ritsaert, just himself. And I wanted to learn. He generously gave me that opportunity.
The Mickery building was also quite special: always work in progress
I think I managed to win the battle against the chaos a to some degree, particularly in Loenersloot.
Many half decayed works of art which absolutely should stay intact quietly disappeared.
But not without discussion. I’d hear, ‘You idiot, what are you throwing out now, this is a real …..’ (you can fill in a famous artist’s name here.)
All this about a scrap of wood or rope, left from a once exciting work.
And the participants in the Mickery Workshops, who more or less occupied the place, were sometimes a problem. Rits loved them, but also passionately wanted them to leave.
In such situations I acted as his soft ‘strong arm’.
I have mentioned only some minor details from the daily life at Mickery.
Ritsaert’s valuable contributions to the theater have been discussed by many.
He introduced the fringe and brought far-reaching changes to theatrical life in the Netherlands.
He has also really changed my life.
He taught me to look at a situation without prejudice, to judge and to accept all the consequences of the judgements I made.
After five years Ritsaert and I went our own ways. We each needed more space.
But I could not give up on the world of ‘fringe’, and Ritsaert had given me the views and tools to find new ways to present non-Western theatre and music at the Tropical Institute.
There too he followed me critically for quite a while, as a strict tutor.
Just as you have - I have loved him a lot and - just like you - I shall miss him dearly.