When we started to talk about making a book for Verk’s 20 years celebration, my immediate reaction was; it is only has-beens or people who are finished who make books about a lived life. Thus, these books are not a recapitulation or an encyclopedia of Verk’s productions, but rather an attempt to create a book series to talk about the skills, methods and practice we share in Verk.
We want the books to mirror some of the ontological issues we are questioning in our work, often dealing with a fundamental doubt; a doubt in the theatre as form, and a doubt in our own knowledge. This has led to long and still ongoing discussions about what the theatre can do, how it can be justified, and whether or not the work is strong enough. This sort of ontological, fundamental doubt may have some of its origin in how the theatre landscape was laid out when we first started making scenic productions in 1997, when the power of definition to a greater extent was laid the hands of the large institutions of theatre and theatre education. Verk Produksjoner swiftly became a minority in the Norwegian field, both financially and aesthetically. Our ideas of the theatre were thought of as different, at best as a curiosity. Within this context we built our artistic identity, concurrently having the awareness that we were part of a larger movement with Grotowski, Odin Teatret, and adding Pina Bausch, Jan Fabre, Wooster Group, Richard Foreman and Forced Entertainment.
With this book series, we have wanted the books to mirror or echo the works of Verk. A large part of our work is about trusting and accepting not knowing our next step, or whether or not we have found the right tools. It is also important to stress that this book series consists of autonomous works, which can be read separately or as a series.
We have been interested in a spiraling movement starting in the innermost circle and working its way out when working on the book series. It has been essential to present different voices and viewpoints in a book series which invites for conversations and discussions about conditions of production, about Verk, and about art.
Fredrik Hannestad and Verk Produksjoner
First book, the role of the performer in Verk Produksjoner, and book 2, text and dramaturgy, will be released April 2018. Texts in Norwegian and English.
Concept: Verk Produksjoner
Publisher: Uten Tittel
Editors: Anette Therese Pettersen, Runa Skolseg.
Writers and Contributors: Finn Iunker, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Staffan Boije af Gennäs, Øystein Stene, Victoria Kielland, Jon Refsdal Moe.
Supported by Art Council Norway.