Real-time acting: what it is

In real-time theater the actors are central: on stage they become the intermediary between the performance and the audience. As themselves they tell the story of the roles they are playing. If they don’t ‘act’, they watch as themselves. They do that in the ‘here and now,’ in the reality of the stage and the theater. In real-time theater everything on stage is real: the time on the clock, the stage itself, the acting, and the actors. Only ‘what’ they play is not real, an illusion. In real-time theater, the ‘illusion of the reality’ makes way for the ‘reality of the illusion.’

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  • Het Leugenlabyrint (Eng. Labyrinth of Lies), a novel, Prometheus, Amsterdam, 2021.


‘The Hague, May 9th 1940. Bert Meijer van Leer becomes the proud owner of a German motorbike. Little does he know that the motorbike, a Zündapp, will save his life and cause his downfall. On May 10th the German army invades Holland. On that day Emmeke, Bert’s sister, celebrates her birthday. Emmeke and Bert are Jewish, but not practicing. Bert has been baptized and marries Lien who is Protestant. Emmeke is married to Joost, who isn’t Jewish either and anti-religious out of principle. Ingredients for a fatal chain of events.

Their ‘mixed marriages’ can’t protect them against the measures the Germans take against the Jews: excluding them from the society they live in through registration and public humiliation by forcing them to wear the Star of David; and, if they don’t comply, arrest, imprisonment, and deportation to a concentration camp.

In Labyrinth of Lies author Paul Binnerts witnesses how the Germans slowly tighten the screws. His characters are facing decisions, of which only afterwards can be said they were the wrong decisions. The only thing he can do is keeping them company.’