by Petra Zanki
Verdensteatret Bridge over Mud is a perfect theater, the one that reminds of theater Edward Gordon Craig’s evokes in his essay “The Actor and the Ubermarionette.” “If you can find in nature a new material, one which has never been used by man to give form to his thoughts,” writes Craig, “then you can say that you are on the high road towards creating a new art. For you have found that by which you can create it.” (EGC, “The Actor and the Ubermarionette”, The Mask, Vol. 1. p. 8.) Verdensteatret has one such content and form material, and they call it flotsam: a driftwood of recollections past, present, and yet to be.
Bridge over Mud it is not easily rationally interpreted, as it sources from voiced intuitions, talking to us from places reminding of those we inhibit just before waking up. Those bardo like in-betweens keep their work open to us, allowing for...
by Elissa Favero
There’s a 1929 painting by the American artist Arthur Dove that I’ve loved for a long time, though I’ve only ever seen it in reproduction. It’s called Fog Horns, and though you can read in it landscape and layers of atmosphere and distance, it is as much about sound as it is space, as Dove’s title signals. Concentric ovals suggest the way sound travels, starting loud and concentrated at a center and then softening as it moves out from its source, waves of sound over and overlapping waves of water.
I thought of Dove and his painting last night in the middle of Verdensteatret’s Bridge Over Mud at On the Boards as a tuba sounded off, stage left, the rim of its circular brass bell catching and reflecting the spotlight as projected black-and-white circles grew and shrank and morphed. Sound, here, distorting, transforming, ...
The Stranger previews Verdensteatret's Bridge Over Mud:
Right now the stage at On the Boards looks like a landfill. A miniature train track snakes around glass plates, bones, crystal balls, angular sculptures, and piles of crepe paper fringe. Bullhorn speakers line the floor and ceiling. It's a mess.
When it's showtime, the lights go out.
Then stuff starts to move.
It turns out all the junk on the ground is a complex, room-...
by Koushik Ghosh
Verdensteatret’s Bridge Over Mud begins with the same intention as the Annunciation but is different from the Latin version of Gabriel’s announcement to Virgin Mary. It begins, however, with the announcement of the arrival of glorious life.
The screen on the left wakes up to light, light reflected by a primordial mud, somewhat mercurial in texture and color, moving in protoplasmic gestures, towards a unity of some sort.
While one can sense something akin to life taking shape on a small corner of the stage, leaving everything else to the mercy of ancient darkness, it does not mimic biology, mitosis, and cell division, but begins with a delicate addition that enables us to recognize shapes such as a mouth or eyes, which slowly form a recognizable face. A sudden rupture begins to deconstruct the shape that is familiar to new shapes that exist more singularly, more independently than a mammalian face, such as the kidney...
The Seattle Times on Verdensteatret's Bridge Over Mud:
Verdensteatret is the kind of theater company that baffles critics.
Reviews about the Norway-based collective — whose name roughly translates to “World Theater” — can be very specific about what Verdensteatret isn’t, but tend to get a little vague when they try to describe what Verdensteatret is.
The company’s latest...
photo courtesy Verdensteatret
Program Note from the artists of Verdensteatret:
…the great span between the work’s deafening noise and fragile, unsteady space seems to mirror the many extremes of human existence. It evokes a quote from Andrej Tarkovsky’s science fiction movie Stalker: “Weakness is something fantastic, strength is nothing.” (review in Klassekampen)
"You go as far as the shoes of reason will carry...then you jump..."
Bridge Over Mud marks our final move into a fully audiovisual practice – a distinctive form that changes character and direction all the time. One can experience the work as a kinetic installation, an inter-media orchestra or as abstract object-theatre. This creates a challenging complexity where opposing forces collide with "impossible paradoxes" on...
photo courtesy Verdensteatret
The company describes the work Broen over Gjørme (Bridge Over Mud):
"A hybrid between concert, performance and installation,where the whole
space is played as one polyphonic audiovisual instrument."
We try to “play the whole room” like one big instrument. In this room everything is connected and can be played on from any thinkable angle. During the long working process in our studio in Oslo we have, step bay step, entered a total audiovisual laboratorium, a state of deep integration between musicians and performers, kinetic sculptures, video, sound, robotics, etc.
Broen over Gjørme can be seen...