It would appear to be a theatre present making enjoyable of EU politics, however beneath the floor it’s also a mission to bolster European democracy.
The Schuman Present, a political satire and dwell comedy present concerning the EU has been making waves in Brussels within the final 12 months with sold-out exhibits.
It was born out of an concept to reform the storytelling concerning the EU, and struggle misinformation and apathy.
Co-founders Greek American improv instructor, performer and coach Kelly Agathos and Dutch investigative journalist Lise Witteman bonded in the course of the pandemic over easy methods to higher talk concerning the EU, and make it extra accessible.
“We have now rather a lot in widespread by way of the best way we noticed the EU, the best way we discovered it a disgrace that there’s such apathy in terms of European politics amongst non-Brussels individuals,” Agathos informed EUobserver.
“We bonded over this concept that there’s a lot euroscepticism as a result of individuals do not know what the EU does,” Agathos stated.
In addition they shared the mutual perception that “Brexit occurred due to misinformation, manipulated by the British media, but in addition a blindspot by UK nationwide governments when it got here to speaking again dwelling what they do in Brussels”.
“To not say that all the things the EU does is ideal, however let’s not less than have the tales out as they’re, and talk it as they’re,” Witteman stated, who wrote a guide concerning the lack of transparency within the council of member states.
For Agathos, a number of inspiration got here from US late-night exhibits, together with Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, who clarify advanced, tough points utilizing comedy. “Humour is an efficient approach to entertain and educate,” Agathos stated.
‘Everybody takes it severely’
Witteman and Agathos began severely desirous about a present after Agathos made a video making enjoyable of Brexit arguments in a rap sketch. By way of pals, and pals of pals they recruited a forged, and began gathering each Sunday to brainstorm.
The title is a play on the title of the movie ‘The Truman Present’ and one of many EU’s founding fathers, Robert Schuman. Confessedly, it was coined to keep away from having to make use of the ‘EU’ within the headline which might doubtless flip off individuals.
The forged is made up of journalists, improvisers, actors, consultants, and former EU officers who imagine that humour is the important thing to brining the EU nearer to the individuals, and in addition to carry it to account.
“Everybody takes it very severely,” Agathos stated, including that writers have been taking courses, and there was “blood, sweat and tears” poured into the present.
It premiered in September 2021, and has had a rising success on the town, with two exhibits per 30 days since September this 12 months.
It struck a twine with the EU bubble who present up within the a whole lot to snort on the hypocrisy, and at instances, the surrealism of the EU.
“They need to have the ability to snort at themselves, and have pop-culture second of their very own,” Agathos stated.
“It’s a misunderstanding that individuals aren’t , you simply should know easy methods to attain them,” Witteman added.
All this was simply step one, aiming now for an even bigger viewers and funding from organisations who care about democracy. In addition they plan to create investigative items achieved in a studio.
Agathos and Witteman should not nervous that what works in an EU bubble context is not going to work at a nationwide degree.
“Everybody perceive paperwork, everybody understands the jokes in ‘Sure, minister!’. We decide matters which are pan-European,” Witteman stated referring to their first investigative sketch concerning the meat foyer’s affect on farmers’ lives and EU coverage.
They hope their sketches (subtitled sooner or later) may go viral on social media and attain a wider viewers.
“The reality is humorous, life is humorous, information is humorous,” Agathos provides, “the ridiculousness is already within the story, we’re simply placing a highlight on it.”