Thursday, February 26, 7:30 pm; Friday, February 27, 7:30 pm;
& Saturday, February 28, 5:30 pm
$20 ($15 ASF Members)
Written and directed by Einar Bjørge (Norway, 2013). A one-woman play that presents an intimate portrait of the world famous Norwegian soprano Kirsten Flagstad (1895-1962). Featuring Norwegian co-producer and actress Nina Bendiksen, Flagstad – Triumph and Tragedy utilizes rare live recordings and newly released source material, including personal correspondence, to portray the woman considered to be the voice of the century.
Highlighting key moments in Flagstad’s life and career, the play presents, in her own words, confessions and reflections that she never once shared in public during her lifetime.
The play first opened in June 2013 at The Flagstad Festival in Hamar – the soprano’s birth community – and has since been performed at numerous venues in Norway. This production, performed in Norwegian, has also been shown at Flagstad´s summer residence Amalienborg in southern Norway, as well as during the Oslo Opera Festival in 2013. Flagstad – Triumph and Tragedy also marked the 80th anniversary of Flagstad’s February 1935 debut at the Metropolitan Opera, which launched her into international stardom.
About the playwright and director
Einar Bjørge holds a Master of Arts degree with honors in Theater and Opera from the University of Oslo. He started his career as a theater director in 1986 with a production of The Little Prince based on the book by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry. In 1996 he founded Oslo Project Theatre – an experimental theatre company for young actors in Norway.
Since directing The Little Prince, Bjørge has directed more than 80 theater and opera-productions. His recent work includes the operas La Traviata (2009), Carmen (2010), and Hansel and Gretchen (2011); the operetta Csárdásfürstin (2012); and Lanford Wilson’s play Burn This (2013). As a playwright, his other plays include Nijinsky (1990), Alive (2001), and Waiting for James Dean (2005).
His close collaboration with Liv Ullmann as assistant director includes the 2009 theater production of Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett as Blanche, which traveled to Sydney, Washington, D.C., and New York; and Uncle Vanya in Oslo (2013).
From 2007-2012 Bjørge worked as repertoire advisor for Oslo Opera Festival; in 2009 he became a Member of the Board and an artistic representative of the Festival. He worked as artistic director for The International Ibsen Award from 2008-2011, advising the jury on candidates and nominees from all over the world.
Critically acclaimed for his work, Bjørge was awarded the Jury Special Prize in 1997 for the text and production of Callas – La Divina – a one-woman play about Maria Callas. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards for young artists from the Norwegian government (1999-2001) and later for established artists (2009).
In October 2014 Bjørge directed Bellini’s I Puritani for the 2014 Oslo Opera Festival, where he also serves as artistic adviser to the Board. In 2015-16 he will again collaborate with Liv Ullmann on the world premiere of a yet to-be-announced theater project at the National Theater in Oslo.
About the actress
Nina Bendiksen began her career as an actress in 1992 and has over the last 20 years been engaged at many major theaters in Norway, including Riksteatret, Hålogaland Teater, Hordaland Teater, and Oslo Nye Teater.
She has produced and performed in productions such as Auxocrom-Cromofor (1997; based on Mexican artist Frida Kahlo’s diary), in connection with the exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s work at Henie-Onstad Art Center near Oslo; and Southbound – a tango performance where she toured in Norway in 2011 and 2012 with an ensemble of six Argentine musicians and dancers. Bendiksen still tours all over Norway and Argentina as a singer and dancer based on excerpts from this production.
Her film work includes Pelle the Policecar/Pelle politibil (2002), where she played the mother Kristine and Away for the Occasion (2007). Bendiksen also appears in Blue Skies/Himmelblå (2008), the successful NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) TV drama based on the BBC production 2000 Acres of Sky (2001-2003). In August 2014 Bendiksen was invited to perform at the most important tango festival – Tango BA Festival y Mundial in Buenos Aires.
The exclusive New York City performances are made possible by contributions and funding from the Fritt Ord Foundation and Fund for Performing Artists in Norway.
Monday, February 9, 8 pm | Pre-reception 7:30 pm
Series continues spring 2015
Written by Vera Näsström (Bulgaria/Sweden, 2009) and translated by Tullan Holmqvist (Sweden). All is as it should be is about being a woman in society today and the demands imposed upon one. In a time when flawless appearance is of the utmost importance, the search for a beautiful surface has become a modern day disease. Every woman has a market price based on her looks, career, home, car, husband, children, and body. The most important thing for the women in this play is to be seen in the right context and to be someone in the eyes of the beholder. A growing inner emptiness is the price they pay.
About the playwright
Vera Näsström (b. 1970, Plovdiv) moved to Stockholm with her family at the age of eight. After receiving her degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Stockholm (she is also educated at Biskops-Arnö Folkhögskola). Näsström worked as a journalist for over 13 years, including as Editor-in-Chief for the monthly magazine Plaza Woman.
Näsström now works as a dramatist in Sweden and Bulgaria. In 2009 her first play All is as it should be won a drama competition in Bulgaria and was staged at Allmänna Galleriet in Stockholm. In 2011 her play A Day in His Life/En dag I deras liv was made into radio theater for the Bulgarian National Radio. Last year, Näsström finished her autobiographical play The Rabbit on the Wall about her childhood as a refugee.
About Scandinavian American Theater Company (SATC)
The Scandinavian American Theater Company (SATC) introduces a new generation of Nordic playwrights in a series of staged readings representing Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, and Denmark, including Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
SATC is a collective of theater artists founded to provide Scandinavian perspectives through the new generation of Scandinavian playwrights and theater artists. SATC presents contemporary plays and inventive takes on the classics from the Nordic region. SATC is committed to strengthening the relationship between Scandinavia and the United States through collaborations and interdisciplinary artistic exchange that examine and challenge the cultural status quo.