Timon Krause: a philosopher in showbiz
Philosophy master's student Timon Krause is 24, but it feels as if he’s already fully lived at least two lives. His show MINDGAMES is currently booked in 57 theatres, including Leiden’s Schouwburg on 18 January. ‘Philosophy is what my show’s all about.’
What kind of show is MINDGAMES? The way Timon describes it, ‘It’s a mix of cabaret, music, hypnosis, mentalism and humour, and we also welcome the participation of the people in the hall. The audience has two slots of 50 minutes to be amazed and inspired. It’s an interactive show with – I hope – a lot of surprises.’
‘With MINDGAMES, and actually in every performance,’ Timon adds, ‘I want to give people a magical experience in a world in which everything has to have a logical explanation. Everything has to be rational, we have to understand everything. It’s almost taboo to say: I don’t know. Mentalism and magic speak to each person’s inherent desire for the unexplainable. We aim to create a mysterious experience within the safety of the theatre. We make it possible for both children and adults to see the world through child-like eyes.’
Where does the philosophy come in? ‘The topic of my undergraduate dissertation was Philosophy of Magic,’ Timon explains. ‘And my master’s thesis will also be on a topic related to magic. Philosophy really underpins my theatre shows. We aim to find a fun way to deal with topics that a lot of people think about, such as faith, love and a desire for reality. What is real?’
Timon has brought in two musicians for MINDGAMES. ‘Henning Neidhardt started his career as a jazz and reggae pianist. We developed the MINDGAMES concept together, and he wrote the soundtrack for the show. And house drummer Kevin Wolf sets the beat! He’s in great demand as a band coach.’
Timon has a Dutch father, was born in Germany and lived in New Zealand from the age of four until he was 17. Now he’s based in Amsterdam. In 2014 he became the youngest-ever Dutch Mentalism Champion, and in 2016 he was named Best European Mentalist, again the youngest ever. That same year, Timon won the American TV contest Penn & Teller Fool Us!, and in 2017 he reached the final of Holland's Got Talent. The young mentalist speaks Dutch, German and English and is currently learning Spanish and Norwegian. He’s performed on every continent.
When he was 12 years old, Timon saw a mentalist perform in New Zealand, hypnotising people and reading their minds. Timon knew then and there that this was what he wanted to do. Because he was so young he couldn’t find anyone willing to teach him the basics of the technique, so he taught himself, and progressed through trial and error. When he was 16 he found a coach in Richard Webster, just as hard-working as Timon would be, who helped him develop his first theatre shows and publish his first book. Although he still has many other interests, mentalism has been the common thread throughout Timon’s life: it is his greatest passion. That said, he takes pleasure in everything he does: ‘Otherwise I’d never be able to fit it all in.’ Timon’s parents thought mentalism was a fun idea, but they insisted that he have a Plan B; hence the philosophy degree.
Timon also has a feel for music and rhythm: he plays the saxophone, ukulele and handpan. He can also sing, and over the years he’s even entered dance competitions in Germany. When he moved to the Netherlands after finishing high school, he attended the Paul van Vliet Academy for cabaret in Scheveningen – the inspiration for the music and cabaret in his show – and completed a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in Amsterdam. Timon has published three books; one of them, intended for fellow mentalists, was published when he was just 16. A second book covered mentalism for the general public, and the third, on the same topic, has just come out in Germany. Timon earns a living with his shows and by giving seminars around the world about the practical applications of mentalism in day-to-day life or in a business context: how to read people, recognise a lie and influence people. Not satisfied with all that, when time allows, Timon also helps people facing challenges like getting over a phobia or stopping smoking.
Graduate in the summer
Is there more? Absolutely. Timon also likes to travel, exercise, write and read. He loves fiction and books about philosophy, the human mind and developments in neurology and psychology. ‘When I travel, most of the weight in my luggage is made up of books.’
Timon has had to put his master’s degree programme in Philosophy at Leiden on hold for now: ‘I thought I’d be able to do it all – the shows and studying – but that turned out not to be the case. Five people are financially dependent on me now, so it really had to work out. But I want to go back to my studies in February, and graduate in the summer.’
Banner photo: Henning Neidhardt (l), Timon Krause and Kevin Wolf
Text: Corine Hendriks
Mail the editors