The Duck Variations

Premiére date1 Oct. 2003
Produced byVerk Produksjoner
Based onThe Duck Variations by David Mamet
AudienceYouth, Adults (from 16)
LanguageNorwegian and Swedish
Running period1 Oct. 2003  
Duration1 hour

About The Duck Variations

The Duck Variations (2003) was a performance by Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions.

In this production Verk met the challenge of producing a modern cult classic; The Duck Variations (1972) by the American director and playwright David Mamet. This is among Mamet's first theatre texts.

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Press review

"Philosophical pearls, clichés and meaninglessness phrases are interwoven in a seamless, jolly change of words. Layer is put on layer as in a dream: From duck to human, from hunter to the destiny of the duck, from environmental policies to the bench in the park. (...) We laugh, wonder and try to construct a complete meaning from a musical melting pot of small talk. The experience of not understanding is absurd, serious and laughter-provoking. They strive, we laugh of their striving. Just like that is life."

Frida Holsten Gullestad

"In an understated, humorous manner the two by the pond seek for meaning and truth. And indeed, they try to defy gravity! (...) They give us a low-key, quiet and warm performance which is pretty trivial on the outside, but with a subtext feeding endless associations and after-thoughts."

Amund Grimstad. Klassekampen

More about The Duck Variations

In The Duck Variations by David Mamet/Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions two men are sitting on a bench in a park. The conversation appears to be about the sex lives of ducks, but soon they reveal their thoughts about laws of nature, friendship and death. The material is light and fragmented; the two voices as one.

Verk took Mamet's stage directions seriously and cultivated the simple and direct in The Duck Variations. Everything was cut down to the essential; the presence and the meeting between two persons, as between the actors, the audience and the text, accompanied by jazz music.

The venue was a white rectangle/a white floor, a ring of light circling large parts of the white surface. On each side of the ring of light stood two salon chairs from the 1970es, and back, to the left, was a screen with slides of ducks – later in the performance there is also a slide show at the backdrop in the middle, towards a half-dry branch and some green balloons. Lights in green, white, yellow, pink, blink calmly at the rear part of the stage.


Platou (sound) sits on the left side, outside of the white floor.

The men keep changing shirts, seemingly at the start of a new variation. The acting style was a mix of physical and epic style.


The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater),, 26.10.2010,

Verk Produksjoner,, 12.08.2010,