Title File type Publiseringsdato Download
Season program catalog Black Box Theater autumn 2009. pdf August 2009 Download

Animal Magnetism 2

In Animal Magnetism 2 by Henriette Pedersen the hysteric’s passion, aggression and sexuality is cheered when Henriette Pedersen discusses "the animal woman".


(Objekt ID 7005)
Object type Production
Premiere December 10, 2009
Produced by Nartmanstiftelsen
Coproducers Galleri Maria Veie, Black Box Teater
In collaboration with Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art
Audience Adults
Keywords Dance, Burlesque, Contemporary dance, Multidisciplinary
Running period December 10, 2009  
Website henriette pedersen, Animail Magnetism 2 (2009)

Requirements to venue

Blackout Yes

Henriette Pedersen’s production trilogy Animal Magnetism has reached part two. In the first part she visited the Golden Age of hysteria (1880–1915) and three hysterics in a mental hospital. The production dealt with hysteria in its pure form, and a large spectrum of symptoms, diagnoses and conducts were exhibited. In Animal Magnetism 2 time has come to dive deep into another phase of hysteria: The dangerous woman. Again Pedersen has moved in time, but now, closer to our own age.

Henriette Pedersen is educated as a choreographer, working with site-specific and performance oriented art. Her works range between performance art, fake vernissages and dance and theatre related performances. In the work with the Animal Magnetism trilogy she combines the different working methods in creating a full-length performance, which later is transformed to more site-specific and performance related performances.

Animal Magnetism 2 is an interactive work created in the meeting between the given room, the audience and the very moment.

According to the Norwegian encyclopaedia Store norske leksikon hysteria is an "older medical term used to describe dramatic conduct reactions or bodily troubles, often connected to strong, visible and seemingly uncontrollable emotions («hysterical»)." The condition was described on papyrus as early as 1900 B.C and in the Antic Age it was regarded as a condition only affecting women. The word hysteria stems from the Greek hysteria (womb) and is related to the original belief that the illness could be connected to disturbances in the womb. Hysteria ceased to exist as a diagnosis in 1926, to be replaced by diagnoses such as dissociative disorders and dramatising personal disorders.

In Animal Magnetism 1 Henriette Pedersen based her work on hysteria the way it was explained towards the end of the 1800es, in works by Freud among others. In Paris hysterical women were hospitalised in the mental hospital Salpêtriére, where the doctor Jean Martin Charcot worked. Charcot used his patients as objects for hysteria diagnostic research, something which included presenting hysteria for a male audience every Thursday. Ibsen, Bjørnson and Strindberg were all reported to witness these performances and to be inspired of what they got to see.

The term animal magnetism refers to one of the many cures to hysteria. Other recommended therapeutic measures were long walks in the woods, long baths, intimate physical contact, beer from Bayern, hashish, opium, morphine, speaking in tongues, arsenic, electro shock therapy and operations, the latter often done on the sex organs.

In Animal Magnetism 2 (2009) Henriette Pedersen sought to present the passion, the aggression and sexuality of the hysterics. Due to this, the production circles what Pedersen calls the animal woman, the woman the man fears, the dangerous, erotically charged female body out of control, who has left its intellect for the sake of carnal lust. This kind of woman is liberated from the romantic idea about love and sexuality and distances from her original role as a victim in a way enabling her to meet her surroundings in a confident manner.

In Animal Magnetism 3, in which male hysteria is the subject, Henriette Pedersen explores how the masculine role such as it eventually is regarded in 2010 matches the description of male hysteria. Including other things, this production is based on Sigmund Freud’s description of a patient he used to call the Wolf Man. About Wolf Man Pedersen writes the following in the Black Box playbill (translated from Norwegian by Sceneweb's Lillian Bikset): "Wolf Man was one of Freud's most famous patients and perhaps the best known male hysteric in the world. As a little boy Wolf Man showed his penis to several female relatives having problems with it. He was threatened with a knife and punished with massive religious education. In addition he had a dream in which several white wolves sat in a nut tree upon one of which lost his tail. Freud stated anxiety for castration in the patient, constructing a primal scene for his theories to fit. Freud's theory was that Wolf Man as a young boy had witnessed his parents copulate like dogs a heated summer day. Only this sexual position could explain the later symptoms of The Wolf Man." The question Henriette Pedersen asks is how hysteria developed in men and at which times. With Animal Magnetism 1 and 2 in the back of one’s mind and inspired by Freud's Wolf Man and the history of male hysteria, Animal Magnetism 3 becomes the production to round off the trilogy.

Animal Magnetism was supported by Arts Council Norway, Fund for Performing Artists, The Audio Visual Fund and the Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs/MFA (travel grant/performing arts).


Autumn program 2010, Avant Garden.

Black Box Teater Oslo, http://www.blackbox.no/, 07.10.2010, http://www.blackbox.no/katalog/pdf/Katalog_Host_2010.pdf

henriettepedersen, http://henriettepedersen.no, 07.10.2010, http://henriettepedersen.no/ny/

Store norske leksikon, http://snl.no/, 07.10.2010, http://snl.no/hysteri

Contributors (13)
Name Role
Henriette Pedersen – Choreography
Lars Petter Hagen – Composition
Sidsel Pape – Dramaturge
Henriette Pedersen – Stage design
Elinor Ström – Stage design
Elinor Ström – Costume
Tilo Hahn – Lighting design
Elisabeth Berger Breen – Dancer
Marianne Skjeldal – Dancer
Kristine Karåla Øren – Dancer
Pernille Nonås Mogensen – Producer
Anette Therese Pettersen – Producer
Lars Petter Hagen – Other
Performance dates
March 30, 2011 19:00 – Atalante Show
March 29, 2011 19:00 – Atalante Show
September 26, 2010 16:00 – Dreams Showbar : Trondheim Show
September 25, 2010 16:00 – Dreams Showbar : Trondheim Show
March 21, 2010 19:00 – Atalante Show
March 20, 2010 19:00 – Atalante Show
February 21, 2010ASPN Gallery Show
February 17, 2010 19:00 – Galleri Maria Veie Berlin Show
December 13, 2009Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
December 12, 2009Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
December 11, 2009Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Show
December 10, 2009Store scene Black Box Teater (Marstrandgata) Worldwide premiere