Ibsen International Short Text Challenge 2006

With Ibsen International Short Text Challenge 2006 at The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) wanted to pay homage to Ibsen as well as put focus on contemporary playwrights in the official Ibsen year of 2006. 19 writers in 10 countries were challenged to write a short plays inspired by Ibsen’s thoughts on freedom. The texts reflect a spectrum of cultural and political contexts as well as artistic characters. In addition Signe Marie Andersen was challenged to create a photograph inspired by the same Ibsen quote the playwrights wrote inspired by. The cover photo was her contribution to the project.


(Objekt ID 7848)
Object type Production
Premiere September 9, 2007
Produced by The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater)
Coproducers The National Theatre, Ibsen Theatre
Based on The language of freedom by Claus Beck-Nielsen; The Two of Us by Marit Tusvik; Damage by Arne Lygre; Picnic by Vida Ognjenovic; The Hunters by Wetle Holtan; Salt by Katya Sadur; Evasion by Gyrid Axe Øvsteng; Come freedom, come by Smith Likongwe; The Testament by Guo Shixing; Afternoon of the Hussars by Jesper Halle; Red, Snow and The Wolf by Lisa Charlotte Baudouin Lie; Interval by José Maria Vieira Mendes; Freedom by Jon Fosse; The Chair by Gro Dahle; Preparation for Hades by Finn Iunker; 13 23 by Anna Klosowska-Gryniewicz, Adrian Gryniewicz; Damage by Arne Lygre; Water by Sheila Callaghan
Audience Adults
Number of events 1
Language Norwegian and English
Expressions Reading, Conversation(s)
Running period September 9, 2007  —  September 9, 2007
Website Det Åpne Teater

Ibsen International Short Text Challenge 2006 at The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) selected the subject of individual freedom.

The discussion of individual freedom can be seen as a recurring theme through all of Ibsen’s work. Ever since his first play Catilina was published in 1850 Ibsen has inspired and provoked playwrights all over the world.

"To me freedom is the first and the highest of life’s conditions," Henrik Ibsen wrote this in a letter to Georg Brandes on January 3rd 1882. He continued: "At home they do not trouble much about freedom, but only about liberties, a few more or a few less, according to the position their party adopts."

Ibsen International Short Text Challenge 2006 in The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater) was supported by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Freedom of Expression Foundation Fritt Ord, Ibsen 2006, 100ogNÅ, Writers’ Guild of Norway and British Council.

The event went as follows, Sunday September 9 2007:

11.00 a.m -12.30 p.m PART ONE:
The language of freedom by Claus Beck-Nielsen (1963-2001) Denmark. He talks to an audience, president Bush speaks about freedom - through a medium. The director of the theatre appears on a big screen and the playwright gets his point across through an actor representing him. Who do the words and the content belong to? And what do they mean with what they say? Translated by Ragnhild A Mærli. Staged reading directed by Franzisca Aarflot and Ragnhild A Mærli with Håkon Ramstad, Sigmund Sæverud, Hauk Heyerdahl and Franzisca Aarflot.

The Two of Us by Marit Tusvik, Norway. Liv has invited Jan for a romantic dinner for two. The waiter is busy organizing his own love life. Staged reading directed by Liv Anne Bjurgren with the actors Hauk Heyerdahl, Birgit Nordby and Bjarne Hjelde.

Damage by Arne Lygre, Norway. The Girl is let out of isolation. The owner of the house and Nina offer her freedom, but the price is high. Staged reading directed by Nora Evensen with Marianne Krogh, Mai Lise Rasmussen and Jorill Kittang.

Picnic by Vida Ognjenovic, Serbia. Somewhere in the United States, Grace and Kenneth have invited their new Serbian neighbours for a picnic. During preparations for the outing, Kenneth suddenly changes his mind and no longer wants to go. Minor language edits by Sarah Cameron Sunde. Staged reading in English directed by Liv Anne Bjurgren with Ingri Enger Damon and Morten Rudå.

1.00 p.m -2.30 p.m PART TWO:
The Hunters by Wetle Holtan, Norway. The Hunters is inspired by Danil Kharm’s text by the same title. Six hunters went hunting, only two return alive. What happened to the other four, and what’s fuelling the two who are left? Staged reading directed by Nora Evensen with Håkon Ramstad and Bjarne Hjelde.

Salt by Katya Sadur, Russia. An actor and his two female pupils have lost everything… Translated by Silje Ohren Strand. Staged reading directed by Liv Anne Bjurgren with Hauk Heyerdahl, Mai Lise Rasmussen and Jorill Kittang.

Water by Sheila Callaghan, USA. Chloe is sitting on a roof in New Orleans staring on the water filling the street below. A body floats by wearing a striped shirt she recognises. Translated by Tonje Gotshalksen. Staged reading directed by Unn-Magritt Nordseth with Miriam Sogn, Kjersti Posti Høgli and Lars Jacob Holm.

Evasion by Gyrid Axe Øvsteng, Norway. Mo is inside. Hansen is outside and sometimes inside. Who has the key to the door? Production directed by Franzisca Aarflot with Grete Randsborg Jenseg and Bjørn Jenseg.

3.00 p.m - 4.00 p.m
Conversation on the edge of the stage, led by Jorge S. Melo (artistic director for Artistas Unidos) with Sheila Callaghan (USA) Claus Beck-Nielsen (1963-2001) (Denmark), Smith Likongwe (Malawi) and Jesper Halle (Norway) among others.

5.00 p.m - 6.00 p.m PART 3
Come freedom, come by Smith Likongwe, Malawi. Ngozi prepares for his parliamentary breakthrough. Outside, his voters demand he speaks up for them and their cause. Translated by Tonje Gotshalksen. Staged reading directed by Kirsti Buchanan Ulvestad with Nicola Samad, Simon Lay, Neil Howard Sanna Huttunen and Ørnulf Snortheim among others.

The Testament by Guo Shixing, China. The Son sits next to The Old dying. He is trying to make The Old, who is wealthy, to write a testament. The old man refuses to do so until he has met with the love of his youth, and he orders his son to find her. Translated by Maya Liu Bockman and Therese Sollien. Staged reading directed by Agnete Haaland with Anne Krigsvoll, Håkon Ramstad and Yngve Berven.

Afternoon of the Hussars by Jesper Halle, Norway. Two hussars, one young, one older, enjoy a glass of wine. As kings they can do whatever they desire and the older man encourages the younger to enjoy the privileges of victory. Staged reading directed by Bjørn Sæter with Henrik Scheele and Anders Rummelhoff.

6.30 p.m - 8.00 p.m PART 4
Red, Snow and The Wolf by Lisa C B Lie, Norway. Following a car accident, Red comes walking along the roadside. Through her unreliable memories, we follow Red on her journey towards death as the final expression of freedom. Staged reading directed by Cathrine Bjørndalen with Stina Kajaso, Marte Joh Ekhougen and Cathrine Bjørndalen.

Interval by José Maria Viera Mendes, Portugal. Two political opponents meet for an election head-to head in a TV studio. The host tries to keep the contestants in check but the situation becomes increasingly absurd as advertising breaks come and go. Translated by André Porte Fernandes. Staged reading directed by Andreia Bento with Miriam Sogn and Fredrik Hannestad among others.

Freedom by Jon Fosse, Norway. The Woman wants The Man back. She thought she lost her freedom through the attachment of love, but discovers the opposite. Co-production with The National Theatre directed by Terje Mærli with Anne Krigsvoll, Per Frisch and Trine Wiggen.

The Chair by Gro Dahle, Norway. Marion and Dag Halvor have closed the door and pulled the curtains shut. Bastiansen will come to fetch Dag Halvor, but Marion will not give up without a fight and has ordered the perfect defence weapon. Production directed by Nora Evensen with Bjørn Jenseg, Jorill Kittang and Terje Ranes.

8.30 p.m - 9.30 p.m PART 5
Preparation for Hades by Finn Iunker, Norway. Having been poisoned, Alexander the Great dictates a speech to his secretary, revealing that Aristotle was a great deceiver. Staged reading directed by Fredrik Hannestad with the actors Kim Atle Hansen and Kristian Seltun

The Gloaming by Zinnie Harris, UK. At dusk Meg and Matt find a barn in the middle of nowhere. They are on their way to register in Aberdeen, and have spent days and nights wandering in a country where artificial light is now forbidden. In the barn they find a box with candles and matches. A dead man lays hidden in the hay. Translated by Tonje Gotshalksen. Staged reading in collaboration with Ibsen Theatre directed by Frede Guldbrandsen with Anne Kokkinn and Thomas Bye.

13 23 by Anouk&Adrien, Poland: Animated movie directed by Anouk&Adrien: "The movie 13 23 was inspired by "pictures" of freedom that we chose because of their paradoxical differences. We became interested in the problem of freedom in that it is connected with choice, point of view, consciousness and reaction to influences. Through the characters, metaphysical elements, philosophy and art in the film, we aim to present the wide spectrum of the main subject." Translated by Ove Bergersen.

Source: The Open Theatre (Det Åpne Teater), detapneteater.no, 27.10.2010, http://www.detapneteater.no/pub/daat/forestillinger/?aid=129&cid=17&sac=all&viewall=1#daat

Performance dates
September 9, 2007Hallen – Worldwide premiere