British winning contemporary theatre comes to Norway’s Ibsen Festival / Entertainment / The Foreigner

British winning contemporary theatre comes to Norway’s Ibsen Festival. A UK theatre company is staging a production of a new type of genre basis for them in Oslo in connection with having won the International Ibsen Award for 2016. Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment brings two performances of The Notebook by Hungarian author Ágota Kristóf to the stage of the National Theatre of Norway (Nationaltheateret) on 22nd and 23rd September. Set during WWII, it tells the story of twin brothers evacuated to their impoverished grandmother’s farm in order to shelter from the conflict.

ibsen, oslo, theatre, uk, wwii, secondworldwar, paywall



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British winning contemporary theatre comes to Norway’s Ibsen Festival

Published on Tuesday, 20th September, 2016 at 15:02 under the entertainment category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 20th September 2016 at 15:57.

A UK theatre company is staging a production of a new type of genre basis for them in Oslo in connection with having won the International Ibsen Award for 2016.

From 'The Notebook'
"It forces you into an encounter where you have to do the judging instead of them," says Artistic Director Tim Etchells.From 'The Notebook'
Photo: Hugo Glendenning


Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment brings two performances of The Notebook by Hungarian author Ágota Kristóf to the stage of the National Theatre of Norway (Nationaltheateret) on 22nd and 23rd September.

Set during WWII, it tells the story of twin brothers evacuated to their impoverished grandmother’s farm in order to shelter from the conflict.

Speaking with The Foreigner, Artistic Director Tim Etchells, one of the group’s founder members, says that putting it on “is unusual for us, as it’s based on a novel.”

“We normally devise everything from scratch as a group. It’s a collaborative process with a lot of improvising. We were drawn to The Notebook by the Hungarian writer, and have always thought that it would be nice to stage a production of this at some point.

According to Mr Etchells, it is a very evocative yet and very minimal work which does something interesting and powerful on stage.

“It’s narrated by two twins, both boys, who describe what they have seen and what happened to them but in a very neutral way without judgement. It forces you into an encounter where you have to do the judging instead of them,” he says.

Multiple influences

“The work is close to way that we think about performance itself. It’s an event that happens in a room, but one that the audience has to deal with without explanation and deviation. It presents a very immediate and direct use of what performance can do.”

Scene from 'And on the Thousandth Night'
Scene from 'And on the Thousandth Night'
Hugo Glendenning
Forced Entertainment was founded in by six students who had studied Theatre. Originally from Derby in the East Midlands, Tim Etchell read Drama at southern England’s Exeter University in the 1980s.

“We began making projects as students together with different combos of people. We wanted to make performances that informed and influenced at time, drawing influences from film, television, stand-up, performance art, and what the theatre wanted to be an reinvent itself in the 20th Century. It was about how to relate and speak to an audience in a language they’d understand,” he explains.

As part of their current tour in Norway, the group is also performing And on the Thousandth Night on Saturday. The six-hour performance, which draws on one section from their twenty-four-hour one work called Who Can Sing a Song to Unfrighten Me? (1999), explores the live relationship between a story and its public, a story and its tellers. It is staged at Nationaltheateret.

The story is told, made up live and dragged from memory by a line of eight performers dressed as Kings and Queens, wearing cheap red cloaks and cardboard crowns, according to the description on Forced Entertainment’s website.

“The audience is free to come and go at any point and the piece is entirely improvised within a set of rules. It's made up of the many different stories that are told but the energy of it also comes from the performers who compete and work together to shift the atmosphere on stage” remarks Mr Etchells. “It’s anarchic and playful; capable of taking the audience to many different places.”

“A story within a story”

Influences of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), a 20th German poet, playwright, and theatre director, are very strong in Forced Entertainment’s work – exposing the mechanics of what is happening in the theatre and reminding the audience that what is happening is being created in front of them.

Forced Entertainment
Forced Entertainment
Hugo Glendenning
“We keep the stage relationship with audience quite straightforward in one sense, and the work is good at opening imaginative space for the audience. They make it happen with us, as they are joining dots and processing what happened,” Mr Etchells comments.

The International Ibsen Award 2015-16 Committee says that Forced Entertainment was awarded this year’s prize as “recognition of theatre as a collective art form, and the theatre’s importance within society.”

“The committee has chosen to honour this continually surprising and not least entertaining theatre group, because Forced Entertainment revive and challenge the theatre, and recognise and utilise the power inherent in the art form.”

Awarded biannually, it is named after famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) and handed out during the Ibsen Festival.

Seven people make up the current international jury: Swedish director Sofia Jupither, Australian scholar Julie Holledge, French director Stephan Braunschweig, Germany’s Dr. Thomas Oberender, current managing director of the Berliner Festspiele, as well as Russian theatre critic and NET Festival Art Director.  

The two Norwegians on the Committee are theatre instructor and director Hanne Tømta, and incumbent head of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, Per Boye Hansen – also an opera director.

Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells says that they are “really thrilled” about the Award.

“It partly because it recognises the company’s work and influence that it has had over the years. But it’s also due to that they [the jury] gave the award to a group of artists like ourselves on this occasion, rather than and individual writer or director as in previous years.”

“I also think it’s a nod to a whole history of different ways of making theatre and performance; a story within a story,” he concludes.



Published on Tuesday, 20th September, 2016 at 15:02 under the entertainment category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 20th September 2016 at 15:57.

This post has the following tags: ibsen, oslo, theatre, uk, wwii, secondworldwar, paywall.





  
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