Saturday, 27 March 2010

Daylight robbery / Grand Theft Auto

How I wish the final post of this rehearsal period could have been a joyful one, but alas, today has been a hideous day.

After we dropped everyone at Copenhagen airport, Liz and I headed off towards Oslo. We decided to stop in Malmø for lunch as we had a long drive ahead of us.
Drove around the main square/parking space in the old town three times before a space became available, found enough Swedish crowns to pay for half an hour of parking and headed to a Swedish fast food place. Came back half an hour later to find the van empty. (****)

There is no embellished version of this:
some fuckwits got into our car, stole three accordions, two suitcases, two bags with laptops, cameras etc, a projector, an espressomachine and a binbag full of white secondhand termal underwear.
The only things they left were a guitar, Kieran's glasses and Liz's plastic bag with three Kinder surprise eggs and some secondhand liquor glasses.

In broad daylight (between 12.30 and 1pm) on a very busy carpark in the middle of the most touristy area of Malmø.



And of course the things that are of no use to anyone else, feel like the biggest loss at the moment (notebooks, the earrings Elisabet got from her grandmother, the keyring Sasha gave me,... the list is endless). All of those things, probably still inside our suitcases, will most probably end up by the side of the road somewhere. My suitcase is made of orange tarpaulin, it should be easy to spot.

(**** - imagine all the swearwords I can think of in any language I can think of)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Danish birthday

Today we played the story of the flotilla of rubber ducks that went around the world...

The story of the Icelandic family who were on a boat that couldn't stop...

And the story of captain Ivarssen...

Kjell bought a great new jacket in the local secondhand shop.

After lunch, when the announcements were made, it was someone's birthday and everyone sang a Danish birthday song, which was very interactive and much longer than any birthday song I know.
It ended with clapping our thighs, then clapping our neighbour's thighs, followed by banging the table. Then everyone headed over to the birthday girl whilst blowing into the palm of their hand.
It was quite an event, so I decided that I would like to be in Denmark on my next birthday.

The headmaster also announced that as the students had all been doing some great work, they'd be treated to the first ice cream of the year. We were invited to take part.

Since they opened their show on Sunday, lunch and dinner times have shifted. We now have lunch at 2pm and dinner at 5pm, and today we had ice cream in between. A lot of eating.

Still, we had some time left to work with some new text Sjon had written for us.

Tomorrow is our last day here, so we invited the students to come and see our work in progress. In the evening we'll head over to Haderslev to see Margit in The Three Sisters.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Blackboard presentations

Today we tried to use the blackboard to tell some of the stories we heard on the boat.

This is a chart of the stories we have filtered out and how they could be used in a sequence.

Alex told his story outside, lest we forget spring is in the air...

In the afternoon we played around with some of the text Sjon wrote for us.

After work we went to the pub. It was one of the few days Margits was with us in the evenings (she is performing The Three Sisters at the moment), so we headed for our local (the only pub in Toftlund) and had the local beer.

Liz and Marie armwrestled each other.

Marie won righthanded, and is telling me she'll accept challenges from anyone who would like to try her strength.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Powerpoint injury

We all made presentations of our journey with the pictures we took on the boat.
Some people used powerpoint, some used iPhoto slideshows, and some made an iMovie film. 
Elisabet worked on her presentation for hours and hours, until very late at night, and in the morning she woke up with a trapped nerved.
Damaged by Powerpoint.

Kieran talked about his secret agent parents and his career at MI12.

One of the stories Kjell told on the boat was the story of the Norwegian fisher girl Ella Mathisen. It is a heartbreaking and devastating story, and we tried to find a way to tell it.

We also played some of our old favourite games.

In the evening we went to see Dreams of Alice and Kate, the performance the students of the Musik og Teater Hoyskole made.
Liz went to bed early to try and cure her muscles.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Fun and games

Last night we borrowed a board game from the school. Liz and Kieran went to choose one and came back with Pictionary. We all agreed that was a great idea, until we opened the box and realised you do actually need to know Danish to play it. It has cards with words on them. In Danish.

So we played with Google Translate alongside to understand the words we were supposed to draw.

Liz was the first to draw, and I was meant to guess what she was drawing.
She picked a card, Alex set the timer on his iPhone (the hourglass was no longer in the box), Liz picked up the pencil and started drawing. After about 2 seconds she started laughing hysterically whilst drawing.
She laughed and laughed (and drew) for a whole minute, and I couldn't guess what she was drawing (mainly being distracted by her howls of laughter.

It was the Pink Panther.

After about an hour we were joined by Marie, Margit and Sjon, who'd just come back from Copenhagen. They were assigned to our existing teams and the game became louder and louder.
As we don't have any neighbours, we could be as loud as we wanted.

Our team (Liz, Margit, Sjon and I) won twice.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Tales of Toftlund City

We've reached the end of the first week and explored some of our stories and experiences, and discovered most of Toftlund.

Work first:
On Thursday we worked in pairs or threes to present our journey to the rest of the group in a format of choice.


On Friday we formed two groups and made short scenes including at least two of the stories and one song we brought on board and using some sort of contemporary media, using some photos we'd made on board the Fort St. Louis.

On Saturday we went through all the music. Well, most of it - we ran out of time, as David was going home, Sjon was off to Copenhagen (the big city), Kjell was going to Asker for a birthday party and Tomas was flying to Prague to shoot an advert.

So on Sunday there were only 4 of us left in Toftlund.
Alex, Kieran and I went to check out the Ostsee at the east coast of Jutland.
It looks like this.

You might say this sea looks very similar to the one we visited last Wednesday, but the beach was a lot smaller for one, and it wasn't as cold here as it was at the North Sea.

Today the students of the Theatre and Music Hoyskole opened their show: Dreams of Alice and Kate. We're planning to go and see it later this week. They seemed in very good form when they showed up at the dinner table, and apparently all had gone well.
They're playing again at 10am tomorrow morning, but that didn't seem to hold them back from having a bit of an opening night party. Good for them.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

See the sea

We've settled into the routines of Toftlund's Theatre and Music School and our closed down hotel has reopened its golf course, so we are no longer alone. No one stays there apart from us, but some people arrive in the morning to play golf.
Yesterday afternoon, after Margit sped off to Copenhagen to be one of the Three Sisters, we headed west to see the sea. So we went to Rømø.


We drove onto the beach

And parked the car

David and Alex tested the water

I found Kjell's glasses, which he had lost in Asker

And then, after 10 minutes of the beach, we were cold and tired

In the evening, Kjell, Sjon and I drove to Fredericia to see a Brecht concert. The band was Laila and Symfobia, and they were fantastic.

Today we are working on a set of miniperformances we will play when Margit gets back at 4pm. (She's doing a matinee today, I think).

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


After a long drive from Asker, we have now landed in Toftlund (you might have to check a map for this one). It's a very small Danish town that is home to a theatre and music school.
Kjell, Elisabet and I drove down from Asker and picked up Sjon, Alex, Kieran, Tomas and Marie at Copenhagen airport. Marie didn't fly in, but she lives in Copenhagen, so she met us with the others at the airport.
Then we picked up David in Kolding (he had taken a train from Hamburg).

We arrived in Toftlund and headed for the dining room, were dinner was being served. We got some instructions about the school, dinner/lunch/breakfast times, kitchen policies and so on.

Then we went to the hotel, which is just around the corner. It is a closed down Golf Resort hotel, and we have a series of two bed flats we share. There is no one else there (since it's closed down).

Margit would be arriving at 1pm, after having played The Three Sisters in Copenhagen. Initially she wouldn't be with us for the first 3 days because of her touring schedule, but she changed her mind and now she is driving down after the show to arrive in Toftlund after midnight, work with us in the morning and then head back to Copenhagen after lunch.
I might find all of the back and forth driving in between playing and rehearsing quite taxing, but Margit seems to possess an endless source of energy.

We watched some video we made on the boat, and it was fantastic to go back in time a little bit. And as Marie and Sjon weren't with us on the boat, there was a lot to be shared.

I started a website which will hold a collection of photographs and bits and pieces we are working with throughout the process. The site will remain a work in progress, as I will gradually replace and add material.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Pimping the van

Yesterday (and today) we are having some time off prior to starting rehearsals for the Sea Journey.
So Kjell and I decided to do some work on the van.
We found out that someone had tried to break into the back of the van, which really disappointed me. I had always thought of Norway as an incredibly safe place, where you could leave the door unlocked without having to worry about anything.
That fairy-tale belief has gone now.

They didn't manage to get into the van, but they did manage to completely destroy the lock.

Still, we decorated some more anyway.

Kjell started with replacing the radio. I thought the speakers were completely rubbish and without bass, but we tested various combinations and it became clear that it was the radio itself that had no bass.

I went to get the extra bits Spleen had given to Iva and hung them over the rearview mirror (for which I'm planning to make something special later, seeing as there is no rear view in the van).

Kjell also bought me a coffee cup holder (I'd been complaining a lot about the lack thereof) - it's a Lacoste.

And last but not least I stuck on the sticker Lenka gave me.

Next stop Denmark. Let's see what there is to find in Toftlund...

Exit Sweden, enter Denmark

We finished our shows in Stockholm and said extensive goodbyes to the technicians who'd helped us during the past few days. We all really enjoyed Stockholm and the C/O stage in the Stadsteatern, and are keen to go back there.

This is all of us on our stage.
We wanted our helping hands in the picture too, so we called them over.

The two extra people in the following picture are Ole and Robert, two of the technicians.
Daniel (the man who focused our lights, somehow didn't make it into this picture, but he is in the one below).

What I didn't realise until I loaded these pictures into my computer, is that Kjell tried to dismantle the space (presumably to take it with him). That's how much we liked it there...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Winter in Stockholm

We are in Stockholm. It is sunny but cold.
This year winter seems to last a very long time. We saw the snow arrive in Tromso at the end of September, and it is now mid March and we are still surrounded by snow.

But anyway.
Our flight from Oslo to Stockholm was very smooth, and when we arrived we were greeted by two taxi drivers, one of which was eating an ice cream.
We piled all of our stuff into two cars and managed to make it fit (it was tight), and drove to the theatre. The driver of the car I was in didn't seem to know where he was going and consulted a map that looked at least 20 years old.

He got us close to the theatre and made us walk the rest of the way. The Stadsteatern in Stockholm is so enormous a street runs through the middle of it, making it even harder for us to find out where to go. So we ended up in three small groups: me, Iva, the kids and Lenka were in the main hall, and couldn't see any signs for the C/O Lilla Scena where we were supposed to be. We'd left Kjell by the car awaiting further instructions of where to go - and assistance with the rest of the stuff. We had no idea how far away the others in the other car where and whether they'd also get dropped off somewhere quite random.

In the end we all found each other and found our stage.

We were given some tea and rehearsed the music for the show.

The next day (Tuesday) I went in to set up the lights and we did a run through in the afternoon. Then Alex and Cat arrived and we played to a nearly full house. It was great fun and after the show we were taken out for dinner by the theatre.

Yesterday I went for a wander through Stockholm while Kjell, Anna and Aude did a workshop with some actors from the ensemble.

I watched a bit of the changing of the guards at the royal palace.

Later in the afternoon we met some of them for a chat about how we worked and how they worked. This theatre employs 150 actors. We didn't meet them all.

After the show last night, Tom, Anna and I went into the old town to see a bluegrass band called Le Chat Mort. They were great.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ready for Sweden

We finished rehearsals and played a show to a very small audience of friends yesterday afternoon. It was a slightly ominous start as the fire alarm went off about 15 minutes before we started.
Initially there was a voice that kept repeating: 'this is a fire warning, the alarm has been set off and we are locating the fire'. Or something like that (it was in Norwegian). The voice went on for what felt like an eternity, and then there was some kind of alarm.
We briefly thought Iva had set off the alarm with the iron, but that was very unlikely. She unplugged it anyway.

Then a man came into our space (of which we had carefully blocked the fire escape, so he had some issues coming in), asking if we'd been cooking. The alarm system pointed at the bar outside the space we were working in. Only we hadn't been cooking, unless you'd call making tea cooking.

He said it would all be ok, but then the voice said we had to leave the building.
So we did.
Our audience arrived and we had a chat with them outside and waited.

And then, at 2.58pm, we were allowed back in. Apparently they'd been making too much popcorn in the cinema downstairs.

The show was fun, the audience seemed to enjoy it, and then we packed up and headed back to Kjell's house to celebrate his birthday. It turned out to be quite a party, and it was a fantastic end to a great week.

Today we have a day off and we're all going to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D.
And tomorrow we all fly to Stockholm.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Walking on water

't Is the snowy season. 't Is also the birthday season.
Last night we celebrated Anna Moberg's 8th birthday. She got presents, cards and cakes. We screamed the devil out of both cakes, and ate them.

Afterwards we all felt quite full and decided to go for a walk to the fjord. Over dinner we had discussed walking on the frozen sea, and even though Kjell's brother didn't seem too convinced about the safety of the ice in Holmen (where we were), we gave it a go anyway.

We walked on water.

A snowfight followed, and Tom stopped to get the snow out of his shoes.
To me it seemed as if his method would get even more snow into his collar and possibly into his pants, but I guess his shoes would be ok.

We found our way back home, everyone was refreshed and the cakes had been digested, and we had an early night.

Today we did two run throughs and celebrated Kjell Moberg's 40th. With delicious fish and more cake.

Tomorrow we will play for an audience of friends and then we'll have a day off on Sunday before we all fly to Stockholm.