The abduction of Arjan Erkel in 2002 by rebels from Dagestan and his release twenty months later, were covered nationally in the news.
In his performance Freedom of thought and action, Erkel tells how he was held underground in a loft of two by one and a half meters, overwhelmed by fear and great uncertainty about a good outcome. He takes the audience to the desperate situation he was in, where change of habits and connection with the new reality were necessary to survive. Making contact and working with his abductors was a very important but difficult processes, but Erkel gradually succeeded in improving his situation, without losing his identity or ideals.
Not only does he tell us in a fascinating way about his grief, loneliness, resilience and fighting spirit during his brutal capture, but also humorous stories about having a boxing match with kidnappers, dealing with weapons and giving sex education to his assailants.
Erkel offered consolation and support during his capture. The singing and humming of songs that reminded him of cheerful but also unpleasant events from his life until then and gave him strength and energy: Green Green Grass or home, Folsom Prison Blues and San Quentin. In particular, Oerend Hard by the Dutch band Normaal, was one of the songs that kept Erkel grounded and in a way it connected him with his kidnappers: at one particular moment they phonetically sang along to this song. It’s therefore not surprise that Erkel is taking former guitarist Normaal, Jan Wilm Tolkamp on tour with him. It was obvious that Erkel wanted to continue to live to the max after his imprisonment.
Freedom of thinking and doing is the beautiful and inspiring story of Arjan Erkel about gaining power through increasing possibilities. A must-see show about how to get yourself moving again, to go after your dreams and say goodbye to your obstacles.
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
‘Arjan is not an actor and not a singer, but that is just the power: the audience realizes that it does not look at someone who plays it, but at someone who has really experienced and undergone it. The kidnapping, the fear, the sadness, but also the humor and the music that dragged him through those twenty months. The decor and the projections complete the picture with the added value of the sympathetic Jan Wilm Tolkamp playing the guitar, the last guitarist of the band Normaal. And after the performance comes the realization among the people; what a great good, your freedom of thinking and doing! A must to visit. ‘
I enjoyed your story. I really got carried away and occasionally had the idea that I could really feel where you were at certain times. As if I were reading a book. Really well done. You tell a fantastic narrative. “Debby H.
“Thanks for a beautiful performance. What a nice combination with the guitarist and also how your story for theater has been edited. That is very well done. “Hanny van de W.