Opening night in Oslo

I’m a bit late in posting about this (the past few weeks have been very busy indeed), but better late than never: Two weeks ago, on September 24, Fravær (as Absence is known in Norwegian) had its opening night at the Oslo Nye Trikkestallen. (This version was translated from the English by Cecilie Enersen. She was in touch with me as she made her translation, so it is faithful in both content and spirit to the original.)

And I was there! I’d made the trip to Oslo (this was my first time in Norway) to see the play’s European debut. The Trikkestallen is a small but lively theater that is generally used by the Oslo Nye Teater for children’s shows. In fact, Fravær is the first play for adults to be performed there.

It was, I have to say (and with the understanding that I might be a wee bit biased) a beautiful production. The director, Birgitte Victoria Svednsen, had assembled a first-rate cast, anchored by Marit Østbye is a lovely, nuanced performance as the aging matriarch Helen. The simple set, simultaneously austere and lovely, was designed by Milja Salovaara.

As the playwright, I was welcomed to the theater with warmth and enthusiasm. Several people expressed astonishment that I’d come so far to see the show. As if I’d miss it! I would recommend to any playwright that s/he should see his or her work in a foreign language. When you are divorced with the words of the play, you become connected with its essence, with the emotional ties that connect the characters to one another. (Also, you don’t find yourself constantly thinking, “Wow, that line’s a clinker. Why didn’t I rewrite that?”)

After the performance, there was a reception with Champagne and merriment. Below are a few pictures of me (feeling rather giddy) with the Oslo Nye Teater folks. (For pictures from the production itself, check out the show’s gallery.)

The play runs through October 23rd. Tickets are available here.

Here are some local reviews (in Norwegian, of course):

Aftenposten (rating 5/6)

Dagbladet (rating 5/6)

VG (rating 5/6)

Fravær Party Photo 1
With Cecilie Enersen (translator)
Fravær Party Photo 2
With Marit Østbye (who plays Helen)
Fravær Party Photo 3
With Siri Løkholm Ramberg (dramaturg)
Fravær Party Photo 4
With Birgitte Victoria Svendsen (director)
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