Verk Produksjoner takes the future to the stage in a surprisingly traditional manner.
by Inger Marie Kjølstadmyr
By Verk produksjoner
With Fredrik Hannestad, Saila Hyttinen, Anders Mossling, Espen Klouman Høiner, Pernille Mogensen, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Jon Refsdal Moe and more
Black Box Teater
Hope is essential in people’s lives. How would life be without hope? How would we manage to go on with life without any positive prospects of the future? And what is the future anyway? We don’t know anything about it. Any conception we may have about the future, any hope and any fear tied into it, is fiction. In their new performance “Wishful Beginnings”, Verk Produksjoner tie the private together with the global and universal, and share stories about the future. With and without hope.
In many ways I experience this as quite an arbitrary performance. In theory, one can tell just any kind of story, when the future is one big black hole, that has to be filled with something we invent. And Verk make no new or groundbreaking stories in this performance. We get to hear about an expanding universe without life on other planets, different catastrophes that one day will lead to the end of the world, new opportunities for reproduction of humans , etc. The most original idea is about how there in the future will be a golf-court-robot that changes everything into golf-courts with holes that never will be filled. Weird and implausible, okay, but perhaps the golf-court is the metaphor best fitting for describing the future: holes and holes and holes that we never succeed to fill.
The performance is partly played in the auditorium, partly in front of a wall of ply board covering the entire stage, creating a shallow, shallow space all the way downstage. The wall is never moved or opened, and what may exist behind it, is a mystery both to the audience and performers. It gives associations to the closed door in Strindberg’s “Ett drömspel”, that hides the answer to the mystery of existence, but behind it is nothing at all. If the same is the case with this wall, and the future, we can only guess. But the fact that we don’t get to know the answer to it, at least creates a tension this performance almost would not manage without.
The characters telling the stories are part human, part animals, part clowns, and sometimes figures from a more oriental tradition. They morph constantly, are hard to grasp, and create a distance both to the audience, and to the material they convey. In such a way, the fables of the future are presented to us, but they don’t concern us as much as I would wish them to. When the stories are not as original as one could expect from a group like Verk either, this performance becomes more like a reproduction of old future-performances than a production of something new.
Future visions have in the last six months made a mark on stage in clear and idiosyncratic ways, i.e. in the Opera production “Elysium, and Det Norske Teatret’s “Solaris korrigert”. Verk Produksjoner should therefore have stretched the benchmark further this time, if they were to really make a difference.