Play Alter Native

Play Alter Native by Finn Iunker was a production by Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions.

Play Alter Native by Finn Iunker was written as a naïve fairytale about a kingdom which water is poisoned, with the consequence that everybody goes crazy, with the sole exception of the king, who has his own river. When it is discovered that the people further up in the valley, the so-called "Idiots", who have poisoned the water with chemicals, the conflict starts. It leads to the war and eventually the reconciliation.


(Objekt ID 7587)
Object type Production
Premiere Navember 3, 2009
Produced by Verk Produksjoner
Coproducers Black Box Teater
Based on Play Alter Native by Finn Iunker
Audience Youth, Adults
Language Norwegian
Expressions Theatre, Fairytale, Multimedia, Storytelling theatre, Satire, Tragicomedy/Seriocomedy, Multidisciplinary, Video, Vaudeville, Apprentice play
Running period Navember 3, 2009  —  Navember 14, 2009
Website VERK Produksjoner

Requirements to venue

Blackout Yes

In Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions’ version of Play Alter Native youth interpreted all the roles, except the narrator, who was played by director Fredrik Hannestad.

In the program of Black Box Teater Play Alter Native was presented with the aid of the following text excerpt, the prologue of the play:

In a kingdom the people were all drinking from the same source,
The main river running through the state.
This river got polluted.
When the people drank from it, they got mad.
Since they were all mad, they thought they were normal.
Since they thought they were normal,
They thought the king was the one who was mad,
Because they understood that he was different from them.
They wanted to overthrow the king,
Because of the king´s madness.
In order to calm them down,
And to keep his job,
The king drank from the polluted river.
The king went insane,
And the people continued to worship him.

The text excerpt was followed by the following explanatory text:

"Play Alter Native is about the human battle for rare resources, about the logic of war and what happens when money is part of a conflict. The resource in question is water, and the water was by accident poisoned by the "Idiots" further up in the valley. When those who lived further down the valley drank this "poisoned" water they changed: They felt "stronger". When "the Idiots" discovered this and saw how happy they were, they made a dam and demanded money for the water. Here start the conflict, the war and eventually, the negotiation."

The production was, like former productions of Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions, characterised by a vaudeville-like acting style with satirical and political undertones. The critic of Aftenposten, Therese Bjørneboe, connected the choice of expression directly to the learning plays of Brecht’s, whereas the critic of Morgenbladet, Sigurd Ziegler, chose the title Allegorimitraljøse (literally: An Autocannon of Allegories) for his review.

The text, originally written for child actors, was according to IdaLou Larsen performed for the very first time in Amsterdam in 1999 by eleven 11-year olds. Later it has been performed both by children and adults, but until Verk Produksjoner AKA Verk Productions staged it, only outside of Norway. However Eirik Stubø produced a reading of the play with actors from The National Theatre of Norway as early as 2005, this, too, according to IdaLou Larsen.


Bjørneboe, Therese (06.11.2010), Brecht revisited, Aftenposten [Oslo].

Black Box Teater Oslo,, 21.10, 2010,

Larsen, IdaLou (06.11.2009) Et sivilisasjonskritisk eventyr, IdaLou Larsen,, 21.10.2010,

Ziegler, Sigurd (2009). Allegorimitraljøse. Morgenbladet [Oslo], 2009/35, 6. - 12. november,

Name Role
Finn Iunker – Playwright
Anders Mossling – Idea (Idé/utviklet i samarbeid med)
Fredrik Hannestad – Direction
Saila Hyttinen – Direction
Anders Paulin – Dramaturge (Dramaturgisk lesning)
Signe Becker – Stage design
Amanda Steggell – Video/Film
Per Platou – Sound design
Tilo Hahn – Lighting design
Anders Clausen – Actor
Ragna Hatland – Actor
Miranda Iyer – Actor
Isak Kristoffersen – Actor
Celia Vilde Tétu Lima – Actor
Åsmund Swensen – Actor
Maria Wyller – Actor
Performance dates
Navember 14, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 13, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 12, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 11, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 8, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 7, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 6, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 5, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 4, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Show
Navember 3, 2009Lille scene (Marstrandgata) – Opening night
Press coverage

"Over the for the occasion long stretched, narrow stage in Black Box Lille (the small venue of Black Box Teater) a series of strange plastic foam birds rock from long, visible threads, perhaps a sign we are in a sort of pre-human original world. Onstage is a man (Fredrik Hannestad) in full black suit with white stripes drawing his skeleton. It is a bit unclear what kind of role the directors Hyttinen and Hannestad has intended for him: The man’s outer appearance leads the thoughts to an evil demiurge, but most of the time he functions like a neutral storyteller, until he in the last stage is transformed into some kind of victim."

Larsen, IdaLou (06.11.2009) Review titled Et sivilisasjonskritisk eventyr (literally: A fairytale critical to civilisation), IdaLou Larsen,, 21.10.2010,

"organically shaped, precisely it follows the dramaturgy of the play, in pink tones of polluted sky and mint green poisoned water, but, with sugary sweet, child-friendly undertones. During the performance the stage design is entangled into an ambience of a child’s room, with a number of dream-catchers, via video projections of Marimekko-inspired trees and stencils. The Skype aesthetics devilish smiling faces show up, in relief with the eventually visibly half-slumped plastic foam figures in roof height, back to a room structure á la Giacometti in a spiral shaped dramaturgic course, ending with the children walking between bird shadows, as in an Ark of Noah. The eclectic by the characters Amanda Steggell and Saila Hyttinen’s constant presence in the room strengthens what could have been the take-off for a distinct, cool, Laurie Anderson sphere."

Herstad, Monica Emilie (06.11.2010), Review titled Overlevelsessamfunnets estetikk (literally: The Aesthetic of the Survival Society), Scenekunst,, 21.10.2010,

"Finn Iunker discusses normality and identity and refers us to the flexible world of perceptions of the child. (...) In this regard Iunker’s fiction is an inverted version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People. It is not alone one is the strongest, but with the others."

Røed, Kjetil (2009). Review titled Flere muligheter (literally: More opportunities). Norsk Shakespeare- og teatertidsskrift [Oslo], 2009/4

"By letting the roles of Oners and Idiots be played by children, the directors want to underline that "they are who remind us we are approaching a possible climate crisis". Onstage the children add a sense of fragility, but in tune with an aesthetic Verk has searched for in former productions by Iunker."

Bjørneboe, Therese (06.11.2010), Brecht revisited, Aftenposten [Oslo].

"The naïve fable expression makes it possible for the play to describe conflicts often discussed until the banally tired, without it being perceived as pretentious. The tone of the play leads away from a balanced "rational" line of seeing the conflicts, there is no room to think in the mindset of at one side so, another such, or to include conditions (Culture, Economy, Nation) which can legitimate, but often numb the involvement in regard to opposite interests and use of power. Left is only the essence: The tragedy. But because it is never clear who owns the tragedy, the play avoids moralising."

Ziegler, Sigurd (2009). Review titled Allegorimitraljøse (literally: An Autocannon of Allegories). Morgenbladet [Oslo], 2009/35, November 6. - 12.