UDHAVN THEATER is the professional actor Knut Walle´s site for solo-drama and narrative performance. Localized in a quaint former school house in the seaport of Ny-Hellesund, the theatre has room for only forty guests. Each year the theatre season begins in early June and extends through September. All performances are in Norwegian.
Ny-Hellesund, in a scenic archipelago, is a historic maritime community 20 minutes west for southern Norway’s largest city, Kristiansand. The small islands that comprise Ny-Hellesund can only be reached by private boat or ferry. Visitors stream here each summer not only because of the natural beauty, but because of the well-preserved wooden buildings, ranging from the 1600s to more modern times, all regulated and protected as a national historic site. Among these is the school building from 1865 that houses Udhavn Theatre.
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«Hanjo – the Woman with the Fan» by Yukio Mishima is a modernized Noh play translated into Norwegian by Anne Lande Peters.
Udhavn Teater is faithful to Mishima’s intentions, bringing out the psychological aspects of the play, rather than the Noh Theatre’s emphasis on symbols and aesthetics.
In the Noh tradition the masks are dumb, covering the face completely, while the text is performed by singers in the background. The masks used by Uthavn Teater speak themselves and therefore they are half masks (free mouth). As this is a one-man performance the dialogue is presented through the use of puppets in addition to the mask characters.
The plot in the small play is simple enough: It is about our ungovernable love life that can let loose so much egoism and abuse of power.
If you ask what a theatre mask is, the answer could be: It is like a musical instrument, for instance a violin. It looks splendid lying in its case, but it is only when put to use that we see what is really ‘can do’.
The music has been specially composed for the performance by the percussionist Ole Hermansen Mofjell.
2014: Forestillingen (‘THE EVENT’) by John Clancy Is more of a stand-up show than ordinary theatre.
The theme is theatre. The question is what theatre consists of. What happens as it goes along? What does it feel like for the actor standing there – and what about the audience? So you mean meta-theatre then?? Oh no! – No, thank God it’s more than that…
By dissecting his own performance the writer casts a wry and searching glance at every type of performance we human beings more or less willingly end up taking part in.
‘All the world’s a stage’, said Shakespeare. ‘THE EVENT’ may be the proof of this.
The play was written by the American playwright John Clancy in 2009 and has since been triumphantly performed at Fringe festivals in the USA, Britain and Australia. It has also been translated into German and Greek.
‘The Event is understated, intelligent and profound in a way that no amount of polemic, sloganeering or bombast can ever achieve.’ (The Daily Mirror)
In its 14th season Uthavn Teater gave the first performance ever of ‘THE EVENT’ in Scandinavia.
2013: «Pider Ro’s Stories» by Gabriel Scott
Pider Ro must have lived rather a dismal life in his derelict fishing smack anchored in Kristiansand harbour at the beginning of the last century. He scraped a living by selling musssels for bait. And yet he had riches beyond those of many people. He was a superb teller of tales. He was southern Norways’s answer to the legendary Baron von Munchausen from eighteenth century Germany, the hero who supposedly once rode on a cannon ball and pulled both himself and his horse out of a ditch by his own pigtail.
Pider relates how he constructed a ‘maskifaul’, how he got rid of the lions in Sahara, how he nearly got engaged to Queen Petronelle of Spain, how he got the better of South Seas cannibals and how he survived many a disaster at sea.
The truth is that he never went to sea at all, other than maybe just pottering around the coast of southern Norway, but he picked up the yarns he heard from sailors in the harbour. By elaborating these he became a great storyteller. As a young man the writer Gabriel Scott was among his listeners. He appreciated Pider’s art and between the original Pider Ro and the poet Scott there emerged Pider Ro’s Tales as we know them today. The wit of southern Norway is known for being reticent and understated as opposed to the drama and exaggeration in the humour of northern Norway. But in these stories he pulls out all the stops! Even northerners have to admit that there is dynamite in southern humour too!
2012: SAMTALEN (The Conversation) by Christel Aas
is an existential drama. Following the death of his wife, a man examines his marriage of 45 years. Content with the quiet and hardly very talkative life they shared, he gradually comes to realize that the silence between them was not necessarily all so golden. One unresolved riddle in particular generates frustration and pain. Suddenly, a surprising answer to this riddle emerges. But new dilemma arises: he is now confronted with the opportunity to make peace with his past, and with that, re-direct his life in a new and exciting direction.
Will he seize the chance?
SAMTALEN” is having its world premier at Udhavn Theatre. The author is a Norwegian producer/writer of children’s theatre; she is also a professional midwife. “SAMTALEN” is her first theatrical work of adults – and also her first monologue drama.
2011: KAPPEN (The Overcoat) by Nikolai Gogol
is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Gogol , published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, thus spawning Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s famous quote: «We all come out from Gogol’s ‘Overcoat’.» The story centers on the life and death of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. He forces himself to live within a strict budget to save sufficient money to buy a new overcoat. Finally he can afford one, but en route home from a celebration of the achivement, two ruffians confront him, take his coat, kick him down, and leave him in the snow. Akaky finds no help from the authorities in recovering his lost overcoat. He falls deathly ill with fever. Akaky’s ghost (Gogol uses «corpse» to describe the ghost of Akaky) is reportedly haunting areas of St. Petersburg, taking overcoats from people.
2010: FORTELLINGEN OM MAARTEN OG SILIUS (The tales of Maarten and Silius ) by Vilhelm Krag.
Vilhelm Krag was the second leader of Norway’s National Theatre (1908-1911) as well as a stage-director and playwright. He is also considered one of the founders of the neo-romantic revival in Norwegian poetry; his are among the Norwegian poems most often set to music.
later in life he settled in Ny-Hellesund. Inspired by the inhabitants there, he wrote his humorous escapades of the two elderly retired seamen, Maarten and Silius.
These two characters are indelibly marked by the fact that the seaport’s heydays are over; that is, an era of motorized mechanization has taken over from the vibrant days of sailing ships. The two old salts are of course extremely sceptical about everything connected to modern times, which comes crashing in over them and their little society. They resist and protest with a colourful, earthy mode of expression full of explosive exaggeration.
2009: KNALLHØRSEL (Earshot) by Morris Panych
Is a monologue that balances along the sloping path into madness, swinging between riotous comedy and deep tragedy. The main character is a lonely man living in an apartment building, who struggles to keep out all the many noises that pester his hyper-sensitive hearing. He hears, indeed, absolutely everything: when a key turns in one of the mailboxes downstairs, when an aspiring author crumples up his many letters of refusal, when the senile next-door neighbour’s dentures rattle in a glass on top of the refrigerator, and not the least, when the sensual Valerie, living next door, takes off her nylon stockings. He hatches a plan how to put an end to this nightmare. The result however is something very different from that which he had planned.
2008: «HEISNEKTEREN»(English title unknown. Swedish: Hissvägraren) by Bengt Ahlfors
focuses on an old, single city-dweller’s loneliness. With humour, sadness, and warmth, the play comically explores how this resident of Helsinki seeks an imaginative way out from his predicament. His strategy involves his dog Kafka, the elevator which he calls Enok, a stipper named Diana, memories of film-star and later princess Grace Kelly, and in the end, a true-to-life coincidence…
2007: «POMMES FRITES I SUKKERET» ( A Chip in the Sugar) by Alan Bennet
is a comedy from the Talking Heads monologue series written in 1987 for the BBC. It is about poor ol’ Graham, who as an adult is living quietly and peacefully with his 72 year-old, senile mother. She is a widow; and one day begins to flirt with an old flame from her youth. Graham’s world, so safe and secure, is now threatened, gravely threatened….
2005: LÆREREN – ER OGSÅ MENNESKE (Le Prof ) by Jean-Pierre Dopagne
«Students are animals: They do nothing based on intelligence. They act from instinct!» So declares the teacher about his students in this burlesque comedy. His career began with the students’ animosity, his colleagues’ indifference, and the school-leaders’ distrust. One day he decides to do that which all teachers on occasion fantasize over, but which, thank goodness, none actually carry out….
The result is catastrophic. But he is held up as a model for emulation and a national hero under a radical school reform in 2003: the so-called Reform of all Reforms. The play is, against all expectations, both warm and thought-provoking.
2004: FORSVARSADVOKAT CLARENCE DARROW (Clarence Darrow for the Defence) by David W Rintels / Irving Stone is biographical, without «fiction» or literary license. The theatrical drama is based verbatim on Darrow’s own trial speeches. His most well-known case is undoubtedly the so-called Monkey-trial from 1925 in which he defended a Tennessee teacher who had taught Darwin’s theory of evolution in the classroom.
Darrow began as a corporate lawyer for The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company, but changed sides after the government in 1897 sent soldiers to Chicago to a break strike by railroad workers.
He fought for freedom of expression and freedom for workers to organize themselves; he struggled against government and capitalists’ harassment of labour unions. He battled against the American laws against conspiracy and the repeated state-sponsored miscarriages of justice against political dissenters. He played a critical role in establishing the eight-hour work-day. Darrow was in principle against the death-sentence. Through his work as defence lawyer, he managed to keep ca. 100 person who were threatened with a possible death-sentence, off of death-row. Also always ready to battle against race-discrimination, Darrow was one of America’s greatest humanists and champion of progressive values.
2003: «BEDRE UTEN HUND» by Franz Kafka
is based on the incomplete short-story «Blumfeld – an old Bachelor» which entails the very meticulous worker in a bed-sheet factory. He comes home from work and as usual ruminates over whether he should get a dog to break his daily monotony. In weighing the pros and cons, he sees the negative clearly dominating. Still he is lonely and focuses his attention on the door, hoping that maybe somebody might knock. Lo and behold, one day, at last, he hears a knock on the door. But the company that now greets him, he desperately needs to get rid of, alas….
2002: PANTELÅNEREN (KROTKAJA – the Mild) by Fjodor M. Dostojevskij.
is a short-story about a 40 year-old decommissioned officer in 1860s St. Petersburg. He inherits some money, which he then invests in a pawnshop. A 16 year-old orphaned girl comes in to pawn some beggarly objects. He manipulates her into marriage with him. And after a short period of marriage in which the pawnbroker attempts to overcome his own lack of confidence through a strategy of silence, she commits suicide by throwing herself out a window while clasping a religious icon in her hands. The action of the staged drama starts just after her death.
2001 og 2006: «DOKTOR GLAS» (Doctor Glas) by Hjalmar Söderberg
is based on extracts from the 1905 novel written as diary. The characters in this triangle-drama are the doctor with his cyanide pills, an old pastor and his beautiful young wife. With irony and melancholy, Söderberg imbues us with a sense of intimacy with the doctor as he gradually circles in on an act of mercy killing. Söderberg’s beautifully written tale is a portrait of Stockholm at the end of the 19th century as well as a reflection over moral philosophy.
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