Polyphonia - Or born against better judgement - A Visual Radio Play

Premiére date8 Nov. 2007
Produced byTore Vagn Lid/Transiteatret Bergen
In collaboration withIbsen Theatre, Turnéorganisasjonen Kulturskatten Telemark
AudienceAdults, Youth (from 14)
ExpressionsMusical theatre, Theatre, Performance for youth
Running period19 Apr. 2007  
Duration60 minutter

About Polyphonia - Or born against better judgement

Polyphonia - Or born against better judgement - A visual radio play by Tore Vagn Lid/Transiteatret-Bergen: How can the theatre work as a critical medium for youth? This was one of the questions asked in Tore Vagn Lid/Transiteatret-Bergen’s first attempt at developing its idea of a visual radio play also for youth.

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Press review

Astrid Kolbjørnsen, 09.11.2007, Review titled 60 vulnerable minutes in the crossfire, bergenstidende.no, 01.08.2010, http://www.bt.no/bergenpuls/scen/article438222.ece:

"Transiteatret takes youth sufficiently seriously not to make a tame theatre performance. They have also given their audience a piece of elastic theatre and a demanding message to keep chewing on."

Nils Olav Sæverås (2007, 09.11). Bergensavisen:

"We have to relate to a polyphony of voices, this must be how to interpret the title. When it is at its most extreme, Polyphonia turns the life as a youth to a battle zone, a fistfight. At the same time the play eventually opens for hope and individuality, but that, too, is done with an ironic twist. It is experimental, but it is not so experimental it surpasses the youth the performance is made for. The interaction between the actors and pre-recorded sound is extraordinary well done, it feels more spontaneous than this kind of theatrical effect usually does."

Elin Høyland, 16.10.2007, Review titled In the classroom of double communication, Scenekunst, 01.08.2010, http://www2.scenekunst.no/artikkel_4125.nml:

"Polyphonia masters to tell us something true, at least in my opinion, by showing us what is not true, and that the dramatic not necessarily is, to paraphrase Vagn Lid's own words, related to cultural conditions and theatrical language. The strength of the performance lays in capturing such existential questions in all their bloody seriousness, on the youth’s premises, but with an openness in its form not excluding that this can be about a universal human wish: To try to live up to the demands raised in the game of self-improvement and what is the ruling societal culture at any time. The mystery of double standard of communication is not easy to solve, for children and adults alike."

Writer and date unknown, VG:

"Why are young people bored in the theatre, Tore Vagn Lid wondered. The question resulted in the production Polyphonia. An experiment, Lid says. Successful, we say."

More about Polyphonia - Or born against better judgement

Tore Vagn Lid about Polyphonia - Or born against better judgement - A visual radio play:

"Counter-voices, double communication and alienation: Polyphonia seeks a sharpened surface of tension between the society's and the schools' traditional humanist values and the stories or reality images presented through the media of the culture and youth industry. The suspicion is directed towards an increasing double communication, a silent, but nevertheless effectual, polyphony between opposing stories and images of reality, where community is posed against individualism, diversity against standardisation, inside (and self esteem) against outside (body image) and progress against lead.

Come to essential points, what one is told as a youth - what one hears - seems not to answer to what one observes or experience through the movie industry, the reality series or the glossy magazines. By virtue of the visual radio play I seek with Polyphonia to find a scenic expression form suitable for revealing critical reflection and experience.

The performance’s stage location or dramaturgic elements seek towards the places where reality (or, perhaps better, the realities) collide and turn into double communication. By searching for, fixating on and at the same time give life to such opposing voices in the stage room one asks for effect: What happens when the feelings a young person has – regarding body, friendship, trust and sexuality - do not answer to what one learns and thinks, or when what one hears is objected by what one sees? When the pop singer warns against body hysteria and eating disorders, the images, the camera lenses, the photo crops and the gestures sing about the opposite.

Thus, between the book page and the magazine, between the class room and the virtual world, a power of gravity is opposing another in a way to interfere, determinately, with our modern self understanding and self esteem. Through productions such as Maybe it’s too nice? (2004), Trio for Two Actors and a Spanish Guitar – a visual radio play for children (2003), Neither Victim nor Executioner (2005) and To Be Continued: Episode 1: Esse est Percipi (2006), the artistic and communicative potential within the audio visual intersection between visual theatre and audio plays has been visualised.

This goes not least for the opportunity for a flexible, hence mobile, stage design, in which the sound and the composed sound score - in interaction with the actors - turns into a dynamic revolving scene. Such is the fundament made for a mobile touring performance. The problem of space, light and the time required for setting up a stage rig is a problem which solution is sought in the very form of expression – the expanded audio visual play.

Seeking across the board of popular and youth culture's musical and verbal stories:

As inspiration for my work with the script as well as the direction lay a wide reaching material found in youth magazines, TV and radio concepts, movies, internet blogs and popular music. Thus I benefit from a methodology in which my book/script is built through sound as much as text and drama sequences.

The paradoxes, the opposing voices bombarding the youth culture in the range between learning and experiencing can be engaged in conversation by the different scenic effects mutually commenting on each other, by virtue of the visual audio play’s possibilities. With the ambition of being a critical field study for youth, the hope is that the visual audio play can be able to open for a polyphonic space in which the voices can be released from and seen as opposed to those speaking (double communication as a form).

The action onstage do not have to answer to the dialogue heard, and the dialogue can be put in more mouths than there are actors onstage."

Polyphonia was nominated for The Hedda Award 2008 in the category of best production for children and youth.


Transiteatret-Bergen, transiteatret.com, 01.08.2010, http://www.transiteatret.com/Polyfoniainfo.html

The Hedda Award