Book of Songs

Book of Songs (2002) by Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt: A man tries to convince a woman that they met last year at Marienbad and that she promised him then that she would leave her husband and run away with him. However, she doesn’t seem to recall anything about either him or the promise and tells him that it must have been someone else. At first the seducer’s advances manifest themselves as a somewhat novel and interesting way of approaching a woman, as he entices her to 'go into character' according to his prearranged story-line and create an actual story, in which everything she does, even her refusal of him, takes on meaning in relation to what might have happened at Marienbad.


(Objekt ID 5326)
Object type Production
Premiere 2002
Produced by Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt
Coproducers Dansens Hus - Stockholm, BIT Teatergarasjen, tanzhaus nrw
Audience Adults
Keywords Chamber play, Dance, Contemporary dance, Classical ballet
Running period 2002  
Website Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt

At first, this 'game' of going in and out of character seemed to be reminiscent of the focal point of Alain Resnais’ film from 1960, Last Year at Marienbad. This 'game' was also the main underlying theme of Ingun Bjørnsgaard’s Book of Songs. But the film and the ballet had even more in common: a deeper investigation of Alain Resnais’ film as a whole revealed that the seduction strategy mentioned above constituted a too simplistic explanation.

The literary reference employed in the development of Book of Songs stemmed from an entirely different source: When We Dead Awaken by Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen allowed the different characters in the play to assume different sides of his personality and fight out the internal traumas of his life amongst themselves against a backdrop of the Norwegian mountains. In Book of Songs by Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt, this partitioning of Ibsen’s personality into a spectrum of different roles was turned upside down.


Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt,, 15.08.2010,

Contributors (11)
Name Role
Ingun Bjørnsgaard – Choreography
Henrik Hellstenius – Music
Thomas Björk – Stage design
Morten Pettersen – Sound design
Jean Vincent Kerebel – Lighting design
Marianne Albers – Dancer
Christopher Arouni – Dancer
Torunn Robstad – Dancer
Halldis Ólafsdóttir – Dancer
Emery Cardas – Musician (Cello)
Frode Larsen – Musician (Fiolin)
Performance dates
February 3, 2002BIT Teatergarasjen, Norsk Dramatikk Show
February 2, 2002BIT Teatergarasjen, Norsk Dramatikk Show
2002 Worldwide premiere