Singing and acting at the same time, according to the text of the introduction to the observational film by Paul Cohen Local 205 (54 minutes), “Solving a mathematical problem such as playing football.” These are two completely different skills and musical actors must combine them flawlessly. At the Fontes Arts School in Tilburg, director and former actor Mark Krohn teaches students the intricacies of the difficult music profession. He started his final year as a teacher.
Cohen watches Krohn make his students sing in front of their fellow students. And now they have thrown it upon themselves. On that mostly empty stage, covered at the back only by a black curtain. He observes, invades, and corrects—physically, too—so that they really get to know the character and, preferably, themselves. By unleashing what is hidden within them, Mark Cron prepares young people for what the profession requires of them, but also makes them, here and now, vulnerable and intelligible.
Lokaal 205, also called the Marc Krone Hall, has proven to be the gateway to an international music career for many. This is where eighty percent of this documentary takes place. This is a bit much. Even though the budding talent is at their most vulnerable and their mentor is clearly in his element, all those intense training sessions, embedded in long observational scenes, quickly begin to look the same to an outsider.
In the middle, Krohn retraces his training as an actor with American theater expert Stella Adler and Florte van den Acker, a student who is allowed to look deeply into her soul in front of the camera, is given the opportunity to reflect. On what excites her and how that helps her as a music star. For students like Floertje, Krohn perhaps embodies the ideal teacher: a strict teacher, a professional goofball, an inspiration, a comedian, and, yes, a fatherly figure.
After nearly an hour of performance, in which the teacher also made his position a topic of discussion in the group due to the ongoing #metoo discussion in the outside world, they together take a look at the names of their predecessors, who were performing at Mark Krohn Hall. They have been helped on the right track and are now on stage. Theater halfway around the world. This could also be their destination. Each of them kicks the ball in his own way and solves a mathematical problem in the meantime.
“Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Freelance organizer. Avid analyst. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon junkie.”