What a Glorious Day!

Premiére date18 Mar. 2011
Produced byThe Theatre of Cruelty
AudienceAdults
LanguageNorwegian
ExpressionsTheatre, Physical theatre, Post-dramatic theatre, Tableau
Running period18 Mar. 2011  
WebsiteGrusomhetens Teater

About What a Glorious Day!

What a Glorious Day! (2011) is a theatre production by The Theatre of Cruelty , the company's 20th production. The production had its world premiere at The Theatre of Cruelty.

Lars Øyno directed it.

What a Glorious Day! is inspired by the life and work of the painter Bendik Riis, and it was first produced on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary for his birth. It also marked the ten year anniversary for the company's activity in its own venue, located in Hausmannsgate in Oslo. What a Glorious Day! was produced with means from Ibsen International Scholarship 2010, granted The Theatre of Cruelty in 2010. 

The production was revised and revived in 2016. At the time, it was invited to Ashirwad International Theater Festival in India.

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Press review

Therese Bjørneboe, Hyllest til Bendik Riis (literally: Tribute to Bendik Riis), 20.03.2011, Oslopuls Aftenposten [Oslo], http://oslopuls.aftenposten.no/kunst_scene/article516404.ece:

"The birds create a leitmotif, processed in the different sequences, or the scenes the performance is composed of. The finest is one in which the performers symbolises a flock of tiny birds, using finger puppetry. This refers to a newspaper photo of a «bird woman» from the scrapbook of Bendik Riis'. But Hanne Dieserud's floating hair also brings the thought to Riis' main work Bendik og Aarolilja (Bendik and Aarolilja). This painting, inspired by a medieval ballad, may be the most important impulse behind the production? Aarolilja's slightly too stiff movie star smile seems to have inspired the allusions to the safe and conform of the 1940es and 50es, while the forced mimicry of the actors creates dissonance in relation to the magazine-slick glamour. The performance culminates in an incredibly funny, weird cowboy and Indian scene, in which the pop cultural stereotypes are presented as surreal correctives to Norway of the 1950es."

Ida Lou Larsen, Hommage til Bendik Riis (literally: Homage to Bendik Riis), 20.03.2011, Klassekampen [Oslo], and at idalou.no 22.03.2011 http://idalou.no/pub/idalou/kritikker/?aid=1643:

"What a glorious day! is inspired by the lifelong work of the painter and poet Bendik Riis (1911-1988). What a glorious day! is even more minimalist than Øyno's previous productions. Here is no set, the stage is empty and dark, except for, to the left, a table and a chair, and a rack with a lot of clothes. The four actors - perhaps a kind of incarnation of Bendik Riis, his father, mother and sister Valgerd - first stand upright, and one of them utters some words where the syllables are so separated it is almost hard to put them together to catch the meaning. But they are about feeding birds, probably a hint to Bendik Riis and the care he is supposed to have shown birds when he was a young boy. After this the four lie down, and for a long time they dance a kind of battle with their own bodies, elegantly, in tune, a scene bringing the thoughts to the embryo fighting its way into the light, out of the womb."

More about What a Glorious Day!

The Theatre of Cruelty finds inspiration in the theatre theorist Antonin Artaud, who dedicated his life to the ritual theatre and who sought to reach beyond the frame of the production. Through traversing its own boundaries, theatre was to speak for itself rather than convey content. In line with this philosophy, What a Glorious Day! is a nonlinear, physical performance.

The Theatre of Cruelty's productions are results of a dynamic process between director and actors, a process the audience eventually becomes part of. In the production What a Glorious Day! text, images, poetry and music became parts of a totality. The same could be said about the company's other productions: The Mountain Bird, based on Ibsen's incomplete libretto, H.C Andersen's The Ugly Duckling and The Gospel According to Thomas.

For What a Glorious Day!, inspiration was found in Ibsen and in the painting artist Bendik Riis. Here Ibsen's admonition to bring one's affairs in order is flanked by Bendik Riis' longing for the home, the family, the close relations.

Sources:

The Theatre of Cruelty, grusomhetenteater.no, 11.08.2011, http://www.grusomhetensteater.no/2011/11/what-a-glorius-day-2011/

The National Library of Norway, digitised performance prorgam imparted to Sceneweb 13.08.2015

Press release sent out by The Theatre of Cruelty on the occasion of the opening of the production.

Press release sent out by The Theatre of Cruelty on the occasion of the revival of the production.