Go Deeper

Sweet By-and-By Preview comes to The Arts Bank

Posted June 24th, 2008

Pig Iron Theater Company is joining forces with Swedish music-spectacle company Teater Sláva to bring an American premiere performance to this year’s Festival: Sweet By-and-By. At last week’s Meet the Artist event, a host of eager Festival friends, staff, sponsors, and artists got a sneak peek at the new show.

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Photo by William HebertIn addition to the mini preview, Daniel Rudholm, artistic director of Teater Sláva and Dan Rothenberg, director of the project and co-Artistic Director of Pig Iron discussed the creative process behind Sweet By-and-By, which has been in the works for two years. Dan and Daniel have been working in installments at a performing arts commune in upstate New York and touring around Europe with the piece, evaluating audience responses and tweaking it for its American premiere.

Sweet By-and-By features Rudholm as he re-invents the songs of Joe Hill, a Swedish-American labor organizer and songwriter, while embodying the personas of both Hill and his own great-grandfather, Georg Rudholm. The preview gave the audience a taste of Daniel’s effusive performing style. He appears on the stage with a chair, a banjo, a small accordion, and a large screen hanging behind him. When he steps in front of the screen, his face lights up as he breaks into song. His movements engage the audience and his charismatic and robust voice silences the room with Hill’s biting and brilliant lyrics. Teater Sláva bases much of its work on the physical body, as does Pig Iron, and one can see this training come through in Rudholm’s performance. Besides Rothenberg and Rudholm’s humor and good-naturedness, a highlight of the event was the projection screen composed solely of any and all sized envelopes, which as Dan explained, tied the show to its roots. Joe Hill wanted to send himself in envelopes to the workers of the world, and the pair decided to incorporate this detail into their show. The result is both effective and eye-catching.


Photo by William Hebert

The event ended with a series of audience questions, moderated by our own producing director, Nick Stuccio, and afterwards everyone enjoyed food, wine, and beer. Keep your eyes open for more about Sweet By-and-By, a fusion of old songs with new ideas that re-invent them.

Posted by Kira Loretto