Go Deeper

A Closer Look at Verdensteatret’s louder

Posted July 23rd, 2008

Experimental Norwegian theater company Verdensteatret will make their first Live Arts Festival appearance with louder. Based in Oslo, Verdensteatret was formed in 1986 by Lisbeth J. Bodd and Asle Nilsen. Their unique approach is based on the idea that art is constantly being recycled. Video artists, computer animators, sound engineers, musicians, and painters work together to form this “rusty shadow theater,” seeking to show us that the way we choose to look at something is not the only light in which it can be seen.

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Instead of beginning with an all-encompassing idea, Verdensteatret takes inspiration from the ashes of something that once was: a story, a dream, a journey, and then recreates it. Audiences witness the creation of an expression, a fluid and ever-moving concept that they call flotsam, or things that come floating by that long ago served their original purpose and are now ready to shed that layer of themselves and emerge reincarnated. <%image(20080723-louder_09 blog.jpg|350|166|)%>

louder began with Verdensteatret’s journey to Vietnam in the winter of 2007. The Mekong Delta, made mythical in contemporary history through news and film, serves as the backdrop in this chaotic voyage through history that is also an eerie glimpse into the future.

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The performance begins and immediately, an explosion of sound and pictures is hurled at us by the machines onstage. Scattered old Soviet-era megaphones spin in circles and howl like sirens as images of the Mekong flash in the background. A row of impish metallic puppets dances by like specters of the Delta’s past. A large mechanical spider creature looms over the chaos. The scene seems to hang by a fragile thread, constantly on the verge of destruction.

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And yet, amidst the bedlam, there are people who are trying to interact with the landscape. Meticulously plucking at strings, every act carefully planned, they stand in stark contrast to the disorder that surrounds them. In the harsh and frenzied landscape, their actions are calm and systematic. Using the cacophony that surrounds them, they develop their own new noise. This is Verdensteatret’s mission, which louder dutifully accomplishes; to seek beauty in the disarray, to create rebirth from the tangible ruins of the past.

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“ louder is a storytelling orchestra that narrates a multitude of tails through sound and images. Tales from a distant past, tales from our time, about wars, river, the theatre, the nation, music nature, technology, the journey, and about exile. In the midst of this throng, we find a heart of darkness- a long black barge on the open sea, radiating coldness and stories.” – Company member Elizabeth Leinslie

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Photos by Asle Nilsen

Posted by Kira Loretto