— -Hi! Let’s introduce you a little to our readers: tell us a little about yourself, please.
⁃ Hi! Well, my name is Milan Van Waardenburg. I am originally from Holland. Born there, grew up there, studied there. In 2016 … yeah, in 2016, I think, I graduated from college. And earlier I already went to the casting of Tanz Der Vampire (note: the Ball of Vampire). I didn’t plan to go to Germany at all. I was planning to stay in Holland. Germany seemed to me not my country: not my language, not my culture, but I was definitely interested in the Ball of the Vampire. Particularly interested in the role of Herbert.
I got this role, and that’s why I settled here in Germany. In any case, this was my first job here, in the Ball of the Vampire. Then there was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame ” (a musical based on the Disney cartoon), and then there was “Anastasia” where I played the role of DimitriI. I also managed to play Dimitry in Holland. It was my first job in my home country, which was great. Of course, due to the pandemic, many theaters in Holland are now closed for lockdown, but we managed to hold a concert together with Judit Kaspari (German Anastasia) who is my friend. Together with her, we previously recorded our first CD. And at the moment I’m playing the role of Prince Hans in the production of Frozen.
— Why have you decided to become an actor?
⁃ That’s a Good question! You know, my grandmother was an actress. She was quite successful in her younger years. She always told me fascinating stories about theater and plays. She also shared various behind-the-scenes stories. I was a very impressionable child and I wanted to dive into it. We did our theater in the living room, played our plays. She really “infected” me with the theater, I think. When I was little, I even finished acting classes where I was taught to sing, because before that I was a terrible singer. I also learned to dance. You know, when a child’s parents ask him who he wants to be, many people answer “Oh, I want to be a singer,” “I want to be a superstar,” “I want to be a police officer.” I answered: “I want to play on stage.” Probably my parents thought the same as all parents think “Yes, it will pass”. But it didn’t work for me and my parents really supported me, saying that if I want to play on stage, then why not. So it was my childhood dream that came true.
— That is really cool! How was your pandemic?
⁃ I think everyone has different stories about how they got through this time! You know, my mom was very sick with coronavirus. It was really hard, she was ill for several months. There were also Ventilator. We weren’t sure if she would make it out at all, so my “pandemic time” was completely different from what happened for other Performers. I didn’t care if theaters were open because I needed to take care of my mom. And she got better! But I still stayed at home for a few months. The Dutch government paid for this time for about a year, so it was a little easier. After three or four months of lockdown, I wondered: “Will everything fall into place?”, “Will we go back to the stage?” Of course there was a lot of stress, because life stopped and you don’t know what will happen next. And you think: “Okay, so I will need to study again to get another profession, if everything does not return to its right place.” Yes, of course we did concerts in Germany and Holland when it became possible and we continued to work on the album, so I can say that my “pandemic time” was not that bad! I try to look at it all from a positive point of view.
⁃ Could you tell us a little about your first musical? About how you played Dmitry in the musical “Anastasia”
You know, the musical “Anastasia” has a special place in my heart, when I first heard the American cast I was delighted. The music was incredibly beautiful. I must say that before all this I had not watched the cartoon, but then I still watched it and was amazed at how the directors showed Russian culture, so when I plunged into the material, I decided for myself that I wanted to do it. I want to play Dmitry. I thought: “If this musical is ever done in Germany, then I want to play this role.” And when two years later we started casting, I did my best to get this role. I went in for sports, went to auditions, trained a lot and thank God that it worked!
It was something special for me because it was my first big role. And the directors looked at literally everything: am I good at acting, am I funny enough, can I dance – they appreciated literally everything! Of course, it was difficult in its own way, but I can confidently say that I love this character. He has a really beautiful line. Such a “street guy” who had no money, who spent his entire childhood on the street, and soon he became a handsome prince! And it was truly wonderful to play! It was a kind of challenge for me. I tried to convey something to him. I even tried to find some common features that Dmitry and I have. And you know. The Dmitry that we have in the show is very different from the one that we see in the cartoon, so this also gave me some freedom.
You see, when you play “Anastasia” you plunge into infinitely deep historical material, so you always want to understand what is happening. I really fell in love with the material and the story, even though it was quite difficult. Each show was a challenge. It was physically difficult, because I got up in the morning, checked my voice, my body (can I play today?). I tried not to waste my energy because on the show you need all your energy. And after many shows that we played in Germany and Holland, I was happy to finally let it go, give this role to someone else, let it float free.
— Dimitry is such a thief who soon realizes that he saved the princess. I mean,That is…a real princess. Was it such a shock to him?
⁃ You know, probably it is in his character. Certainly. he grew up on the street like I said. I don’t think he cares about titles. For him, people are equal. Of course, he saw the princess when he was a child, but even then everything changed, even the power in the country. The best trait of his character is precisely the fact that for him all people are the same. Of course, he should have talked to her, but he did what he did only because he does not see the difference in people. For him, everyone is equal: men and women, black and white. Everyone. And I really like that about him.
— And what about Hans, he‘s a different character?
—* laughs * This is a completely different character. I didn’t watch the cartoon before I found out that I was going to play Hans, but as you know, we all watch a bootleg before getting into the role and I also watched the cartoon. Nobody gave me any spoilers and when I saw what Hans was like I was discouraged. I sat and was like, “WHAT?” It was quite a normal reaction and I think that now everyone who comes to our show reacts about the same. And I thought, “Oh, this is really cool, I’ve never played the“ bad ”guy before.” I really wanted to play the “bad” guy. And if I want to play someone, then I focus on him and do not let go until this role is mine.
There is one interesting thing about Hans. I took him for a “bad” guy, as I said, but one day our director came up to me and said, “Let’s talk about the character.” He asked what I think of him and then I replied that: “Yes, this is such a bad guy, two-faced and evil.” And then he answered me: “What if he was not a bad guy? Let’s think about why he does this? What is the reason for his bad deeds?”
— He had twelve brothers!
⁃ Yes! And that’s why I decided to dig a little into his history. I wondered how he grew up. Why did he do what he did. And after digging through the material, I discovered that Hans is not really a bad guy, because he grew up among twelve brothers and was thirteenth in the line of succession. This meant that he would never take the throne and he would never have attention, never have power. And I’m more than sure that the other twelve brothers were just fighting for the throne. He was also not needed by his parents, they ignored him. Because when you are thirteenth in the line, then in principle you are not particularly important to anyone and not needed. And I think Hans just wanted attention, wanted a connection with someone. And initially he came to Arendelle to marry Elsa, because she was preparing to become queen. He saw this as an opportunity. Therefore, he wanted to come and get to know her, but on the pier he suddenly ran into Anna. And they fell in love. I think they really fell in love with each other. And I really think that until the last moment Hans really wanted the best for Anna, because in those days marriage was far from about love, marriage was a means to take a high position in society.
For me it is absolutely logical that a couple of hours after they met, they said to each other: “Okay, let’s get married”. Because for Hans, this is not love, but a way to make friends with another kingdom. And when Anna says to him: “You have to save me, you have to give me“The true love’s kiss! ”. He answers quite logically: “The true love’s kiss“? But then you need to find someone who really loves you, because I don’t. I wanted to marry you for the kingdom. “ Of course, this was a huge prospect for Hans. And he especially did not wish anyone harm, he only wanted good for himself.
And such a character… such a character is really interesting to play. After all, if you play Hans, as if he was a villain, then it will be completely uninteresting to watch. And if you play Hans as a living person, then you can make the audience fall in love with him. I think that many viewers fell in love with Hans when they watched the cartoon (of course, until he showed himself on the other side).
— Sure, but how do you explain that he wanted to kill the princess?
— You know, I don’t think killing the princess was his plan. Honestly. It’s just that everything turned out in such a way that he thought: “So, well, if Elsa dies, then I will marry Anna and that’s all – I’m the king.” And for him – if he needs to go over his head, he will do it. And if you need to do something not very good in order to make a name for himself, then he will do it. I think a lot of people would do something dishonest to get theirs. No, maybe he wanted to kill her, but it was such a fit of rage when he realized that his plan could collapse, because Elsa was back. But … Elsa still saved Anna, so everything ended well!
— Is there something that you give of yourself to your characters?
— Yes, that’s a good question! I always try. Because it conveys some part, gives some connection, makes the character closer to you. Sometimes you have to give a little more of yourself if you understand that this character is close to you. You cannot give all of yourself, because someone else will already be able to do it.
For example, with Hans. I had to give him something of myself, because no one knew how he felt as a child. As I said, this child grew up without love, because his family could not give it to him. And he had no support, not even friendship. I’ve never felt like this. I never fought with anyone because I had loving parents. But I had to give most of myself in order to get some kind of connection with the character
It all depends on who you play. A human or, for example, a vampire. But I often try to give something of myself, yes.
— Thank you for such a detailed answer! Now tell us about the musical “Ludwig”?
— Yes! Oh god, I forgot about him, thanks for reminding me! This show also happened during the pandemic. Some theaters were open and we could play with a small number of spectators. This was great.
Here is how it was. They called me and asked: “Would you like to play Ludwig?” I answered: “Yes, of course.” And they said, “Okay, but if you say yes now. then your premiere will take place in three weeks. “ I said, “Okay.” That being said, I have never seen the show, I have never heard the music. And when they sent me the script, I saw that this is a huge role. Probably the biggest one I’ve ever played. I started reading his biography in order to have at least some historical material.
The play took place at the Neuschwanstein Theater, and within two weeks I was supposed to have four shows. I was a little amazed because the show lasted four hours, with a break. You are on stage all the time and the material itself is written as for an operetta. That is, all the shows are arias. This is actually difficult. Because if you study the material for a month, then it is stored in your memory and it becomes easier for you. I only had three days! Of course, I had a DVD to study the show for a couple of days, then I flew to Füssen where we were to play the show. It was just crazy! Every show literally exhausted me, but I was in love with the material! I’m in love with the show!
The character itself is very handsome. You know, this is a very tragic story. During the entire show, you go through the entire life of Ludwig and even die on stage. You literally go through his whole life. Here he is young, then he falls in love, loses his head and loses himself, screams, then he is arrested and in the end he gets a fatal shot. You go through every emotion he felt. But I absolutely fell in love with it. I really hope to come back and play a couple more shows.
— Well, after such a story, you definitely have to come to Russia to play it!
– * laughs * I hope! No, actually, I really would love to play it there. You know, I have never been to Russia and to be here is my big dream, since the days of “Anastasia”. I would very much like to come and see St. Petersburg. Visit all the places we talk about in the musical. I really hope that one day I can come to Russia.
– What do you know about Russia and maybe about people?
– Honestly? Nothing. Well, maybe not really anything, rather a little. The fact is that when we played “Anastasia” in Stuttgart, I had a colleague (we also played with him in “Vampire Ball”), his name is Kirill, he was just from Russia. We began to communicate and he told me about almost all the moments that happened in the musical, talked about the Romanovs, about how it really was. This really helped me further. And the fact that he was telling it was very interesting.
But you know, when I come to some unfamiliar country, I always want to get some experience of my own and see everything myself. I do not want to take tours, because I want to meet people myself, to explore the sights myself. So honestly, I don’t know much either about Russia or about people, but I would really like to come and discover something new for myself.
— Now is the time of Christmas coming, holiday, fairy tales. Tell me, please,do you have any traditions in celebrating this holiday?
— Nothing really special. I usually visit my parents at Christmas. We prepare dinner and exchange gifts. But this year I decided to celebrate Christmas with my couple, so I will go to my parents after Christmas. For me, Christmas is great food. * laughs *
—What would you wish for on Christmas night?
– What I would really wish for on this holy night is that all the people I love that I know (friends, parents and just people I have met over the past few years) get together for a big dinner and we can talk ( we would talk for hours). Just… you see, all the people are at the same time and in the one place. That is really the thing I would wish for the most. Because now many of my friends have left for countries, cities and we do not have enough time just to talk. Due to the fact that I am currently participating in various shows, I just don’t have time for social life and I really miss it.
— So, do you have a dream role?
— A dream role? That’s a Difficult question because I actually love a lot of different things. For example, my favorite musical is Les Miserables and, of course, I would really like to play in this musical first of Anjolras or Marius, but maybe I could play Valjean when I get a little bit older. This is probably my biggest dream.
Also, I would very much like to return to the musical “Ball of the Vampire” to play Krolok. After I played Herbert I would really like to play Krolock, yes.
—You know, in our magazine there is a small tradition of wishes, where our guests wish something to our readers. Tell me, what would you wish for our readers?
– Oh, very nice tradition! I would like to wish you health, because it does not matter what time we live (pandemic or not) health is very important for everyone. The audience always makes theaters alive and, of course, I wish them all good luck and happiness. Once again, health, because it really matters. Another thing I would like to say is: “Enjoy the culture as much as possible.”
–Thank you for the conversation! It was very nice to meet you and talk to you!
– Thank you!
Autor of intw: CARNOT ANASTASIA