Erosion (1995) was a theatre production by De Utvalgte. Erosion was based on texts by Jon Fosse.

Themes of the production:

1 - Who loses his/her life will find it.

2 - If one, as a human being, is not capable of transforming one's true feelings into action and communication, emotions become fake, actions become fatal, life demonic, for so to die and succumb.


(Objekt ID 17702)
Object type Production
Premiere Navember 3, 1995
Produced by De Utvalgte
Based on Closed Guitar by Jon Fosse; The Bottle Collector by Jon Fosse; Lead and Water by Jon Fosse; Og så kan hunden komme* (And then the dog may come) by Jon Fosse
Audience Adults
Number of events 5
Language Norwegian
Keywords Theatre, Physical theatre, Tragedy
Running period Navember 3, 1995  —  Navember 7, 1995
Website De Utvalgte

On the webpage of De Utvalgte the following is written about Erosion (the same text was in the performance program):

"The silent voice

"The literary writing the way I write it cannot be understood as some kind of 'idealist' measure, nor is it 'abstract', 'pure' nor 'spiritual', it is barely 'beautiful', on the other hand it is 'materialist', 'tangible', 'impure', 'bodily', 'spastic' and 'uneasy' and if it is beautiful, it is what can be called 'beautiful in an ugly manner'. Still in my opinion this writing attempts (no less than) finding some kind of access to what I in lack of a better word will call 'the sacred', perhaps it should be modified to the 'human sacred', alternatively the 'secularly sacred', if one should feel the need for that kind of 'limit clarifications', (which I personally do not).

Such a view at literary writing may be reminiscent of what one has learned to understand as 'negative theology', only that there is no theology at all in question, but rather perhaps something similar to 'mysticism', I have also in many contexts talked about my own writing as some kind of negative mysticism, in 'analogy' (of course) to the term of negative theology... and when I began writing for the theatre, I also began to consider the term change of scene, and I was struck by how close my literary writing, with its 'gestures', and its 'dialogical conveying of people's voices and actions', stood the theatre, and the same way 'an inaudible voice' needs to follow the literary writing, a similar voice has to follow a theatre performance, and become what binds it together and give it its 'distinct character', its real 'approach'. And this silent voice establishes exactly along and out of 'the negative outline' made possible by the drawing by 'the spoken', whether it is spoken through more or less 'meaningful' thought and spoken language, or whether it is through what 'happens' between people, or through 'image intensities'.

I have now written some plays, and if you ask me, they are all a kind of 'transference' of my literary writing to some kind of change of scene the writing, for now to be really speculative, probably already was. When Thorkil Evan Nielsen read my novels, he saw, I imagine, something like that. In either case he meant that bits from my novels could very well be put together to a theatre production he would like to work forth.

And I have to admit I am delighted by a Dane being who bravely was to defy the New Norwegian language barrier and see 'the scenic' or the 'theatrical' about my writing, and besides have the resources and the initiative to also put it 'to work', as a theatre production.

Most of the 'terms' in this text I have put in inverted commas. And I have increasing problems using terms, so serious I perceive these problems, that I at the time allow myself the unique luxury of putting not just the terms in inverted commas, but the whole text."

Høgda, October 1995

Jon Fosse

The director on Erosion:

"Who loses his life, shall find it.

'If one as a human being is not capable of transferring one's true feelings to action and communication, emotions become fake, actions fatal, life demonic, for so to die and succumb.'

Erosion's prime dramatic action takes place in the undetermined 24 hours of five exposed persons' lives. In an extreme condition, much characterised by a tormenting lack of memory and context, of anchoring in time and place, each and every one carries his or her own fragmented story. A grotesque world. A psychotic world. A time outside time. The characters' actions are filled with revenge or characterised by compulsions. An endless mourning process.

Erosion takes place in a theatrical expression reminiscent of the opera's form and expressiveness come to emotions, but at the same time it uses the intimate spaces and development of film, in a collected expression. Expressive realism.

The script consists of excerpts from Closed Guitar, The Bottle Collector, Two Tales and Lead and Water, merged to a new whole, a new story, by the director.

The texts have been put together by the director with permit from Jon Fosse, and in continuous contact with him. Erosion has chosen to penetrate through this writing to the point where the disasters and consequences already have taken place, and new await.

Comments by others:

ERIK M. MØRSTAD, assistant professor in religion, Oslo College University:

"The play is upsetting, the performance from everyone real. Here with these poor creatures onstage the brutal conditions of human loneliness is presented with touching sensitivity and force. The play has been created as an effort nearing the classic Greek tragedy's purity and clarity in presenting the human, as a new Greek tragedy of destiny, an attempt to tear away any superficial comfort and present the humans stripped of all idealism in their nudity each of their own, confronted with and among the others; this is masterly realised in and by the actors, brave revelations of weariness"


"Bjørn Skjelbred's music provides the production Erosion with humanity and warmth, necessary for such a heated theatre experience. The music opens for sorely needed time for contemplation, to absorb and reflect over what one sees. The instrumentation, consisting of two cellos and two drum sets, binds the performance together with highly varied musical expressions. The composition is rich in tonal imagination."

For the director from JON FOSSE:

"As the time has passed and the images from the performance have cleared and stuck, it seems simple, clear and moving. I know it has become important to many."

Supported by: The Norwegian Ministry of Culture, The Fund for Performing Artists, the publishing house Det Norske Samlaget, The Audio Visual Fund, Arts Council Norway, the visual arts fund called Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, the municipality of Aarhus.


De Utvalgte,, 12.09.2011, / 24.09.2021,

Performance dates
Navember 7, 1995Hallen, The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) Show
Navember 6, 1995Hallen, The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) Show
Navember 5, 1995Hallen, The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) Show
Navember 4, 1995Hallen, The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) Show
Navember 3, 1995Hallen, The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) Worldwide premiere
Press coverage

Guri Pahle Glad, date unknown, VG [Oslo]:
"The five young actors who are all educated at the Nordic theatre school in Aarhus are very skilled in mastering the physical movement expression (which this school emphasises) and they convince strongly each in their way with their tragic human descriptions. Here is without doubt a lot of talent it will be exciting to follow. Perhaps a bit more humour the next time would be a good idea? I recommend further support to De Utvalgte, because they have something to say in addition to an interesting theatre expression."

Liv Riiser, date unknown, Vårt Land:
"De Utvalgte has chosen a bundle of texts by Jon Fosse, inviting to five quarters of an hour in hell. To an inferno without hope, and a reality which is twisted, crippled, bloody and infected. It is a conscious choice and it is consequent in its performance. Five forceful actors and four on-the-spot musicians onstage create an experience one can barely stand, and when we eventually want to go far and away, they have reached their aim."