Cruel times, only seven days after the death of Ken Campbell another somber bulletin echoes around a wet and miserable Sunday. The dismal tidings came, this morning, from Rose Fenton who called to tell me that Ritsaert Ten Cate has died. Ritsaert was the artist, inventor and director of the Mickery, an extraordinary centre of force in international theatre, he was a mild mannered man, who without question, was one of the most influential producers and presenters of contemporary theatre of the last 40 years.
This extract from a speech he made at a huge producers conference indicates something about his being. This paragraph is his thoughts about working in the field of contemporary performance.
“Those of us who’ve been speakers in this conference are the Rabbits out of the A.A. Milne’s story about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We’re the self-appointed guides who are leading you, while we all walk together in a thick fog. We say we’re taking you toward home, but in reality we’re walking around and around a pit, and we’re not getting you anywhere at all.
You must be the Winnie the Pooh of things. When Rabbit tells Pooh, “We’d better get on, I suppose, which way shall we try?” Pooh responds, “How would it be if as soon as we’re out of sight of this Pit, we try to find it again?” To which the Rabbits of our time will of course grumpily mutter, “What’s the good in that?” At which point Pooh — as befits a famous Bear of Little Brain — mildly tells Rabbit, “Well… we keep looking for Home and not finding it. I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we’d be sure not to find that, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren’t looking for, which just might be what we were looking for, really.” You’re the key. Be Pooh. Forget about the Rabbit questions.
Ritsaert’s will be sadly missed.