Secondteatret

Secondteatret was established by the married couple Ludovica Levy and Dore Lavik in Christiania (later Oslo) in 1899. Secondteatret opened August 25 1899. It was located in the facilities formerly housing Tivoli Teater.

Among the actor were Ludovica's daughter Clary Levy (1874–1908), who also managed the economics of the theatre. The theatre was also connected to a school teaching plastics, song, history of literature and history of art, plus Norwegian, New Norwegian and other languages.

Despite of a varied repertoire with several good productions, Secondteatret soon experienced economic troubles and had to shut for good the spring of 1901. Shortly after the couple split.

Information

(Objekt ID 29875)
Object type Organization
Organization type Private theatre
Main focus Theatre
Established August 25, 1899 (closed March 1901)
Website Store Norske Leksikon, Kuiper

Contact information

Address Kristiania (Oslo), Norway

Other information

Legal entity Other
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Jens Harald Eilertsen writes the following, among other things, about Secondteatret at Kuiper.no:

"The opening performance was Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller with Agnes Mowinckel in the title part and Levy herself as Queen Elizabeth. The rehearsals had only lasted for some two weeks, but the production got nice reviews in the capital press, from Sigurd Bødker in Verdens Gang, among others: 'Of instruction and staging Mrs. Levy-Lavik has great honour: One can see in the quality of the interaction and in the shape of each role the strong, leading will. […] her role as Queen Elizabeth has been well planned in all its singular parts and is carried with much intelligence.'

In Secondteatret Levy emphasised more than acting. She also started a school, an international academy for youth aiming to work for theatres, founded in the best international ideas. Levy's idea was that the talents had to be schooled to be able to develop. She hired Thora Lund, an experienced pedagogue within the study of roles and use of voice, as the dean. The pupils were selected after auditions. Later they were trained in all the assignments of the theatre. Education was given in topics such as developing roles, Norwegian speech (New Norwegian as well as Norwegian Bokmal), French, German, English, use of voice, history of literature and art, dance and plastics, fencing and gymnastics.

But first and foremost, the aim of Secondteatret was to perform theatre. The productions came tight during the autumn of 1899 and the spring of 1900. Many of the productions have later been described as having great significance for the growth of Norwegian theatre. They were characterised as innovative and important, and it was remarked that the school was a significant contributing factor to the rapid development at the theatre. Hauk Aabel made his breakthrough in an excellent production of Erotic by Gustav Wied the autumn of 1899, King Midas by Gunnar Heiberg became the mark of a proper breakthrough for Agnes Mowinckel, whereas the couple Ludovica Levy and Dore Lavik delivered excellent direction and acting, plus an innovative stage design in Ludvig Holberg's The Happy Capsize. The production was described as merry, luscious and innovative, a revenge for the many eventually boring productions of Holberg in the capital.

But the economy was and should remain a problem for independent theatres, then as it is now. After a failure the spring of 1900 with Axel Maurer's play Lykkens Pamfilius* (The Triumphant of Happiness) Secondteatret went bankrupt in May 1900, with a debt of NOK 20 000. The audience and the media were all sorry for this, and campaigns were started to get the theatre back on its feet.

The same autumn Secondteatret reopened, now as a limited liability company. Anew there were great audience and critic successes, even though the repertoire now was oriented more towards comedies than it had been. But the economy was unable to keep up this time around too. In March 1901 it was definitively over, after a benefit for the couple Levy-Lavik with med Emile Zola's Gervaise. Ludovica Levy performed the leading role of Gervaise, and the reviewer Vilhelm Tvedt in the journal Urd wrote the following about the farewell performance: '...when the Madam so soulfully and moving interpreted this woman's grief in being betrayed by everyone in a cold, careless world, there was, I found, something so personal in the words and the character it became something else and more than the art of acting - it became like a deeply serious art confession'."

Sources:

Kuiper, kuiper.no, 16,08,2012, http://www.kuiper.no/tekster/ludovica-levy-primadonna-og-teaterforkjemper.html

Store Norske Leksikon, snl.no, 16.08.2012, http://snl.no/.nbl_biografi/Ludovica_Levy/utdypning, http://snl.no/.nbl_biografi/Dore_Lavik/utdypning

*Not yet translated into English. The title within parentheses is the Norwegian title's literal meaning.

Own productions
Title Premiere
Smiths Hvedebrødsdage – Navember 25, 1900
Charleys tante – May 19, 1900
Teja – March 1900
Faldgruben – 1900
Maria Magdalena – 1899
Lykkens Pamfilius – 1899
Maria Stuart – 1898
Erotik – 1898
Kong Midas – 1898
Det lykkelige skibbrud – 1898
Contributors
Torborg Schønberg – Actor (fra August 1899 til June 1900)
Dore Lavik – Artistic director (fra 1899 til 1901)
Ludovica Levy – Artistic director (fra 1899 til 1901)