The Street Scene

The Street Scene by Pia Maria Roll was a theatre performance springing out from the personal story of Pia Maria Roll and her relationship to her friend since youth, Cathrine Hasvi.

They studied acting together in Stockholm, and after graduation, started a theatre company together. A common thread in their work was the crusader spirit: they shared an intense involvement in and faith in political theatre. But in the middle of a production, Cathrine dropped out, travelled to India, changed her name to Chameli and became (said with a quote from Roll) consumed by the spiritual world. In the production Pia and Chameli meet again, and Pia tries to understand what happened.


(Objekt ID 3129)
Object type Production
Premiere September 10, 2008
Produced by
Coproducers Black Box Teater
Audience Adults
Language Norwegian
Expressions Documentary, Theatre, Performance, Biographical theatre, Storytelling theatre, Apprentice play, Metatheatre, Music, Conversation(s)
Running period September 10, 2008  

Requirements to venue

Blackout No

In the production The Street Scene Pia Maria Roll called on her first ideals; Bertolt Brecht and Terje Nordby from Tramteateret, to find out what went wrong. In the program text following the performance on could read the following (translated from Norwegian by Sceneweb’s Lillian Bikset): "Is the world going to hell in a mix of predatory capitalism and religious rhetoric’s, or are the people of this opinion archaic moralists refusing to buy a ticket for the train of history?"

Further one could read that Pia Maria Roll has been of the opinion that Chameli let her down, leaving humanism, political consciousness, art and the theatre for a sectarian self-development parade. In The Street Scene Roll asks the question if it was really so. While Chameli eventually has built a name as a spiritual councillor, travelling all around the world and talking to thousands of persons about important subjects such as seeing things as a whole and eco-consciousness, Pia often works in months and years for then to perform one single performance in closed down industrial buildings for humans she mostly know the names of. Is Pia herself the sect member, placing herself safely within an introvert group with minimal power to reach out to others?

Pia Maria Roll works with documentary hyperrealism. The people on stage are not actors, but invited by virtue of their respective lives, their knowledge and their passion. The respect for the different views of life here brought together in a room creates an unexpected revelation that no one lives independent of the others, and that the respective projects are all about a mutual need. Balanced between reality and manipulation, light is shed on the contrast between the impotence of political art and the increasing power of religiosity.

The Street Scene was supported by Arts Council Norway and The Audio Visual Fund.

At Avant Garden The Street Scene was part of the performance series Norsk Sandwich (literally: Norwegian Sandwich).

Sources: The spring program 2010, Avant Garden. 

BIT Teatergarasjen, Meteor 2009. 10.08.2010:

Performance dates
February 26, 2010Studioscenen – Show
February 25, 2010Studioscenen – Show
October 30, 2009 19:30 – Røkeriet USF , METEOR – Show
October 29, 2009 19:30 – Røkeriet USF , METEOR – Show
June 3, 2009Vaglebruket , Stamsund Teaterfestival – Show
September 14, 2008Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
September 13, 2008Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
September 12, 2008Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
September 11, 2008Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
September 10, 2008Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Worldwide premiere
METEOR October 29, 2009
Stamsund Teaterfestival June 3, 2009
Press coverage

”But then something we very well can call a wonder happens: The narrow experiment goes over to something generally valid and deeply moving, and the artistic need for exploration makes a direct hit in the intersection between science, religion, art and politics and their respective knowledge and wills.(…) Hallelujah”

Elin Høyland, Morgenbladet

"This kind of documentarism is paradoxically the greatest weakness of the production. Similar to the diversity of reality concepts we wade in, it sometimes balances on the edge of social pornography. Brecht says in Die Strassenszene (from which the title is gathered) that the demonstration of an event should not pretend to be the event. I don’t know how much of this confrontation is directed. But sometimes I experience having crashed into a personal confrontation which has not been able to convert the embarrassment into involvement."

Oppedal, Torbjørn (12.09.2008). Review titled Korstog for åpen scene* (Crusade for open stage). Morgenbladet,, 11.11.2010,

Source: Spring program 2010, Avant Garden. 

*Not yet translated into English. The title within parentheses is the Norwegian title's literal meaning.