The Society

The Society (2008) is a production by Jo Strømgren Kompani (Norway): A society of sworn coffee drinkers in Europe gather for their daily ritual. However, the harmony is broken by an horrific incident - the discovery of a used teabag.

As the investigations into a possible Asian infiltration unfold, disturbing questions become inevitable: How far are they willing to go in order to track the unpatriotic traitor down and bring this evil act to justice? And how strict should the punishment be?

The list of performances is incomplete.


(Objekt ID 3327)
Object type Production
Premiere April 29, 2008
Produced by Jo Strømgren Kompani
Coproducers The National Theatre, Bergen International Festival, BIT Teatergarasjen, The Norwegian Touring Theatre (Riksteatret), Bærum Kulturhus
Audience Youth, Adults
Language Gibberish
Keywords Theatre, Dance, Physical theatre, Comedy, Satire, Dance theatre
Running period April 29, 2008  
Duration 65 minutes, no interval
Website Jo Strømgren Kompani

Requirements to venue

Minimum stage width 10m
Minimum stage depth 9m
Blackout Yes
Rigging time 600 minutes
Downrigging time 45 minutes

In The Society, Jo Strømgren Kompani scrutinised the little everyday actions and routines a typical humorous manner, and one discovered that the isolated conflict between drinkers of coffee and tea in a micro world of course was open for interpretation by audiences. JSK always tries to mirror the macro world by scrutinising basic elements of contemporary phenomena.

In our turbulent times the average citizen is, for example, ever more tempted to accept torture, the suppression of minorities, and other violent means in order to restore order and avoid a clash of civilizations. These are potentially difficult themes, not only to discuss, but particularly to reflect in theatre. Much respect, cultural knowledge, and political insight is needed to provide credible standpoints in international conflicts. But then again, one is also free to harass the seeds of such problems that are to be found universally.

The Society followed the familiar style of Jo Strømgren Kompani, with a gibberish language, theatre, dance and live music. The focal point of the stage was a coffeemaker. Secondary props were a chair, a telephone, a huge amount of coffee cups and a creative assortment of interrogative means.

Touring: Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Norway, Lithuania, USA, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Poland, Russia.

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


Jo Strømgren Kompani,, 08.08.2010,

Contributors (20)
Name Role
Jo Strømgren – Script
Jo Strømgren – Direction
Jo Strømgren – Choreography
Jo Strømgren – Stage design
Peter Løchstøer – Costume design
Lars Årdal – Sound design
Stephen Rolfe – Lighting design
Trond Fausa Aurvåg (from April 29, 2008) – Actor
John Brungot (from April 29, 2008 to 2009) – Actor
Hallvard Holmen (from 2010 to 2011) – Actor
Stian Isaksen (from 2010 to 2011) – Actor
Bartek Kaminski (from April 29, 2008 to 2009) – Actor
Christina Peios – Props
Knut Bry – Photo
Hans Jaran Skogen – Sound technician
Leila Sunniva Berg – Lighting technician
Solfrid Glesnes – Producer
Tine Rude – Producer
Inger Margrethe Stoveland – Producer
Ann-Christin Danhammar – Administration
Press coverage

Writer and date unknown, New York Times [New York, USA]:
"The Society expertly straddles the fragile line between humor and horror."

Deborah Jowitt, date unknown, Village Voice [USA]:
"It eats into your conscience, makes you laugh while you're horrified, and edges the everyday world so far into fantasy that you doubt it can return. Nightmare has become the new reality. (...) I wish I could convey the many excruciatingly funny moments that also send off alarms in our heads. And how to explain how marvelous these performers are?"

Writer and date unknown, Bergens Tidende [Bergen]:
"An excellent team of performing artists weave the physical into the verbal, the serious into the silly" 

Writer and date unknown, Aftenposten [Oslo]:
"The flexible shifts, the leaps from violence to absurd comedy are not least owed to the good performers."