The Convent

The Convent (2006) by Jo Strømgren Kompani: In a remote valley far away from urban society, three nuns are serving time in a small convent. The divine harmony is long gone and the friendly atmosphere is about to reach rock bottom. A complete lack of signs from above is not making it any easier. Nor is the lack of bread and water. As religious ceremonies and rituals are known to be confusing even to professional believers, their doubts and fears blend with misinterpretations and reach diabolic dimensions within the thick walls of stone. Keeping track of the holy truth is always a hard assignment - and even harder when you are hungry.

Information

(Objekt ID 1452)
Object type Production
Premiere May 10, 2006
Produced by Jo Strømgren Kompani
Coproducers BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen International Festival, The National Theatre, Rogaland Theatre, The Norwegian Touring Theatre (Riksteatret), Teatret Vårt (Our Theatre)
Audience Youth, Adults (from 12)
Language Gibberish
Expressions Dance, Theatre, Dance theatre
Running period May 10, 2006  
Duration 65 minutes, no interval
Website Jo Strømgren Kompani

Requirements to venue

Minimum stage width 8m
Maximum stage width 10m
Minimum stage depth 8m
Maximum stage depth 9m
Blackout Yes
Rigging time 620 minutes
Downrigging time 60 minutes
More

The language in The Convent was nonsensical. Jo Strømgren Kompani has for many years been developing the technique of communicating with verbal abstraction and creating its own international niche. Each production involves a completely new linguistic alias, inspired by a specific culture or region. This time the pseudo-language was like Swiss German or even more specific: the Bern dialect.

The company philosophy is to present potentially controversial themes with deliberate abstraction in order to maintain an associative point of view and under no circumstance force any specific opinion upon the audience. Worldwide success in more than 40 countries has proven that this hardcore nonsense manifesto is a valuable contribution to general theatre, being a reminder that theatre still has this somewhat forgotten direction to explore textually. For all audiences the performers did not even know themselves what was being said on stage so please do not panic.

Touring: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Scotland, England, Czech Republic,USA, South Korea, Poland, Spain

The Convent by Jo Strømgren Kompani wassupported by Arts Council Norway, the municipality of Bergen and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/MFA (travel grant/performing arts).

The Convent was awarded the Golden Review Award, Kontrapunkt Festival, Poland, 2009.

Source:

Jo Strømgren Kompani, jskompani.no, 08.08.2010, http://jskompani.no/productions/12

Contributors
Name Role
Jo Strømgren – Direction
Jo Strømgren – Choreography
Cathrine Gudmestad – Costume design
Lars Årdal – Sound design
Stephen Rolfe – Lighting design
Ulla Marie Broch (from January 1, 2006 to NIL) – Actor
Ulla Marie Broch (from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010) – Actor
Lena Kristin Ellingsen (from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010) – Actor
Hanne Gjerstad Henrichsen (from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010) – Actor
Guri Glans (from January 1, 2006 to NIL) – Actor
Gunhild Aubert Opdal (from 2006 to NIL) – Actor
Marte Stolp (from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010) – Actor
Knut Bry – Photo
Ingrid Enger Damon – Director’s assistant
Hans Jaran Skogen – Sound technician
Leila Sunniva Berg – Lighting technician
Lise Risom Olsen – Lighting technician
Festivals
Press coverage

Writer and dato unknown, New York Times [New York, USA]:
"Strømgren managed to create a small, whole universe of steadily escalating madness that was chilling but also hilarious and oddly affectionate."

Writer and date unknown, Ballet-Dance Magazine [USA]:
"These performers, under Jo Strømgren’s direction, project comedy, cruelty, pathos, and puzzlement so explicitly and with such punch through intonation, expression, and physical evocation, that the nonsense language they speak sounds clear as a bell, and you could almost fool yourself into thinking, afterwards, that they were speaking your mother tongue."

Writer and date unknown, The Herald [UK]:
"Ridiculously funny, genuinely brutal and hugely entertaining."

Elisabeth Leinslie, Fantisme i teatret (literally: Fanaticism in the theatre), 08.06.2006, Dagsavisen [Oslo]:
"The madness, in the humour as well as the nuns, too early and too often overtake the rest. Like that, this production overruns the dramaturgy it is based on. But even though the performers are in too high a degree enthralled by their own humour, they master the form. They switch between dance, song and acting with the greatest of ease. Rhythm, timing and interaction is as if cast in the same mould - and their outré expressivity is a wonder to behold."