PINK

 

This quote from our interviews with men about their gendered experiences really caught my attention. As a woman I can’t count the times I’ve thrown on clothing from the men in my life, but I struggle to remember a single occasion where a man put on one of mine without it being a giggly impulsive game or a joke.

My experience within the fashion industry is very limited, but I'm keen to understand why my garment would be reduced to an instrument of embarrassment when placed on the men in my life. 

Maybe it's because the fashion industry is focused on practicality and upscale uniformity for men while female attire is meant to flatter the figure, elevate beauty and express stylised ideas of her identity. Clothing that is designed to be beautiful rather than practical might therefore express that the man wanted to be admired, and announce him as a target for objectification. After all, we have been taught by our justice system and media that women's clothing is a welcome sign to harassment and abuse. 

 Photo credit https://andreelliott.co/

Photo credit https://andreelliott.co/

I remember years ago a story circulating on social media about an Icelandic man who was shouted at and threatened for wearing floral pants on a stroll through the city centre. He was dumbfounded that an impulsive pattern choice had been perceived as a vocal political expression and compromised his safety.

Pants had innocently threatened the masculinity of Reykjavík's male population. It seems that masculinity in fact needs so much protection that a whole colour has been deemed off limits to men. While pink used to be perceived as a strong, decisive colour relating to red, the colour of blood and war, modern men tend to avoid it due to it being perceived as political statement or a submissive sign of femininity. 

This, and other personal accounts of men's gendered experiences is one of the reasons I so enjoy our project Them - A research and development production where we sat down with men to learn about how they experience their gender identity and how it impacts their daily life.

- Sólveig Eva

FOOTBALL AND FAITH

Summer was at its hottest in France, when I traveled here from Finland two weeks ago. I am working with a Franco-Finnish, Parisian company called Collectif Boxon Sentimental and together with the group we’ve been creating the first three-and-some parts of a performance that is planned to extend into eight parts in total, speaking of a taboo of our times: faith.

We spent one week in a residency in a small town called Nevers, building the first three parts of the performance, surrounded by 40 degrees heat and a herd of chicken. The weekend after, we shared the fruits of our work in Paris at an international theatre festival Rêves avant l’Aube, organised at Théâtre de Ménilmontant by director Matthew Bellon. The current week is dedicated to new scenes and musical and physical improvisation in an idyllic rehearsal space in Saint-Denis.

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The mastermind behind our massive performance project called “Icônes” is a France-based, Finland-born director and theatre researcher from Sorbonne Nouvelle university, Carmen Kautto. Carmen has been planning the performance for years and is finally able to start putting her thoughts on paper - and on stage. Icônes speaks about the need to believe in something - let it be religion, ideology or love - and does so in the context of Russian history during the past 100 years, from the October revolution to our times. The performance is episodic, using physical theatre, live music, visual arts and both contemporary and classical texts as its material. Carmen has also written scenes for the piece and translated some original Soviet Blue Blouse sketch pieces, whose writers have been sent to the camps in Siberia during Stalin’s purges in the 20s. Additionally, texts of the piece vary from Tony Kushner’s modern writing to the grand classic of a Soviet Writer Leonid Zorin’s play as well as a turn-of the-century queer poet Zinaida Gippius’s work.

The piece is massive, but the building it in small pieces, showing one thing at the time and rehearsing couple of weeks at the time makes the task extremely enjoyable. As an actress, that gives the opportunity to learn your text between residencies and not to stress during an intensive week, as well as the freedom to improvise and create without needing to set things in stone during a single, 5-week rehearsal block.

Calm rehearsals and the warm wheather in Paris are topped up with the nights of football, where everyone gathers to support the French team on its way to the world cup’s final. It warms up my heart to see so many people on the streets together, and to be able to feel like part of a huge crowd supporting a group of professionals dear to them, being ready to give everything from themselves for the period of two hours per night, just because they are caught by a performance - on the field. Not so different to theatre.

 

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Bisous! 

 

Anna Korolainen Crevier

IMPORTANCE OF FRINGES

 Sólveig Eva drawing a mural during the Fringe Opening Party. Photo by Sveinlaug Sigurðardóttir. 

Sólveig Eva drawing a mural during the Fringe Opening Party. Photo by Sveinlaug Sigurðardóttir. 

Creating art can be terribly expensive, both in terms of time donated, space and materials. Collaborative art forms such as theatre require continuous support networks of in-kind contributors alongside their fundraising and marketing efforts. 

Festivals bring a plethora of artists together from all over the world to provide diversity where it is needed, give free and affordable art to a community, create shared experiences, address political turmoil, refuel creativity and create acceptance and a sense of belonging. 

There are no strangers at Fringe. Everyone is part of a family. People come from all over but you stand in a line at Fringe and within two minutes people ask you what play you have seen, what shows you have liked, what are you going to see next, and how long have you been Fringing?
— Chuck McEwan, producer of Winnipeg Theatre Fringe Festival (KPBS Public Broadcasting)

Participants are strengthened through attracting their diverse audience groups together to one united platform, allowing artists to test their material with a wider range of spectators and giving their spectators a wider range of new experiences. This is aided by the fringe guidelines to keep ticket prices low, minimising the sense of risk and high stakes standard ticket prices so often instil in the buyer. Participating venues receive increased traffic while performers receive a stage. Fringes rely on grants to ensure that artists receive their revenue, and are therefore also an earning as well as marketing opportunity for artists. 

Fringes create a marketing and network opportunity for like-minded artists across disciplines. While local art circuits can be difficult for newcomers to penetrate, fringe performances tend to be chosen through a lottery, or a first-come-first-serve basis. It is a centre of creativity allowing for inspiration and encouragement, it’s a push forward in creativity and passion. And different from commercial entertainment, fringes do not censor. 

I like to think of the Fringe as a mixing together of art forms on all levels or a party full of art. It’s an adventure for the audience members.
— Nanna Gunnarsdóttir, Reykjavík Fringe Festival Director (Reykjavík Grapevine)

In addition to stimulating the economy with increased traffic to a range of events, workshops, gallery exhibitions, concerts, lectures, theatre, circus, burlesque, drag shows, stand ups, poetry slams, improvisations and happenings, storytelling is an essential part of human nature. It's an instinct that provides entertainment, guidance, tolerance, empathy, community. Storytelling is an instinctual companionship.

We want to thank Nanna Gunnarsdóttir and everyone who gave their time and energy to make the first Reykjavík Fringe a reality. We sincerely hope that Reykjavik Fringe Festival will receive the support they need to become an annual event.  

Reykjavík Fringe Festival takes place in venues around Reykjavík from the 4th-8th July. 

- Sólveig Eva

REYKJAVÍK FRINGE FESTIVAL

Sólveig Eva is currently participating in Reykjavík Fringe Festival 2018 with a gallery exhibition and live drawing at last night's Opening Party at Hlemmur Square. The atmosphere and talent at the opening was truly inspiring and we look forward to seeing this first fringe become an annual unmissable part of Reykjavik.  

For an interview with Sóla in Icelandic about her illustrations check out this article on Vísir.

For more of Sóla's illustrations see www.solaevadraws.com

Video from the artist meet and greet at Iðnó Reykjavík July 1st. 

TEATER VIIRUS HELSINKI 10-14TH OCTOBER

Spindrift Theatre is happy to announce Them will be visiting Helsinki at Teater Viirus 10 to 14 October.

 We were inspired by, not the creators of, this photo

We were inspired by, not the creators of, this photo

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Them is a documentary-based theatre performance about men, interpreted by four women. The performance is based on interviews gathered from men living mainly in different parts of Europe and United States. Through physical expression and in the form of monologues four actresses dive into the world of men, exploring images of a masculinity and its affects on the experience of a modern man in Western society. The approach is empathic in attempting to understand the joys, sorrows and pains of manhood.

Them will be performed by founding members of Spindrift, Anna Korolainen and Bergdis Julia Johannsdottir, as well as Tinna Thorsvalds Önnudottir and Marjo Lahti. Other members of the crew are dramaturge is Minerva Pietilä, art director Louis Crevier, set designer Eva Björg Hardardottir, light designer Markus Alanen, sounder designer Kristian Pernilä and producer Suvi Nousiainen.

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The monologues are performed in three languages: Finnish, English and Swedish.

Them in Helsinki:
10-14 October 2017 at 18:00 (6 PM)
Teater Viirus, Välimerenkatu 14
Tickets 15 € / 10 €

The performance will be further developed into its final form until May 2018. After every performance at Teater Viirus the audience is welcome to take part in brief discussions where they can share their thoughts and experiences on the play and its themes.

OPEN CALL

We're looking for a Finland-based producer to join our team for our next production Them. After the production premier there will be a possibility to continue as a permanent producer for the company.

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Them is currently under development, and will premier with its research and development performances at the Reykjavik Fringe Festival in September and at Teater Viirus, Helsinki in October. After the autumn run the project will be further developed, and the final premier is planned for spring 2018 in Iceland/Finland.

The producer's main tasks are to work on funding applications together with the artistic directors of Spindrift Theatre, and take an active role in marketing and development of public relations in Finland, Iceland and the Nordic Countries. The producer should be familiar with the funding bodies of Finland and the Nordic countries. Fluent Finnish and English is required, and a fluency in another Nordic language is a definite plus.

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We can offer a starting fee of 400 €, which should cover the part time work until the R&D performances in Autumn. We apologise for the small sum, but currently the company is working with a minimum budget. The producer will then apply for full project funding with the artistic directors, which will cover an official producer fee for her/his work on the performance.

If you're interested, please send us an email (spindrifttheatre@gmail.com) telling about your background, expertise and why you are willing to work with Spindrift Theatre. Please attach your CV as well. Deadline 17th July.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

- Anna and Bergdís

TJARNARBIO RESIDENCY REFLECTIONS

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Our residency at Tjarnarbio is coming to an end. It's been a wonderful two weeks and something for us in Iceland, exploring the themes of our show, reading interviews, impersonating characters, improvising from scratch and talking about our personal relationship to the topic of the piece: men.

It's also been exhilarating to hear other people's take on our topic - both from men and women - and to look for an angle to bring these stories on stage. We have to acknowledge that we are women, right? But we have to present the male experience as authentically as possible.

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A big point of development was travelling to Mikró festival in Lón, and "coming out" for the first time with some of our raw material. The audience's reactions and feedback was extremely valuable both in realising that people are actually interested in hearing these stories, and in noticing the moments where we didn't quite reach a dialogue with our spectators. Nothing beats live audience as a way of self-evaluation! 

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After all, we are extremely happy about all the connections and plans for collaboration we've made here, working with the Nordic House and Tjarnarbio, and being in touch with our Finnish collaborators at Teater Viirus. We are also proud to welcome sound designer Kristian Pernilä and actress Marjo Lahti to our team! 

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Next step will be our residency at Sláturhusid in August, where we'll incorporate video artist Louis Crevier to the rehearsal process.  We're also waiting impassionately for all the self tapes of our potential Icelandic actresses! Don't hesitate to apply!

We just wanna keep going! 

Pus pus!

- Anna

OPEN CALL

We're looking for an Iceland-based actress to join our team for our current production Them.

The rehearsals will take place in Sláturhusid, Egilstadir from 14th to 18th August and in Reykjavik from 21st August to 2nd September (can be flexible). The performances will be at the Reykjavik Fringe Festival in Tjarnarbio, taking place between 21st and 24th September. The performance text will be performed both in Icelandic and English, so good level in English is required.

We can offer a fee of 400 € which covers both the rehearsal period and the performance. Them will continue to develop as a performance project until 2018, when a bigger premier is due in Iceland and Finland. We hope that the actress would follow the development through with us, for which further funding will be applied.

If you're interested, please send us an email (spindrifttheatre@gmail.com) confirming your availability, and a maximum 5 minute video, where you introduce yourself and perform a monologue, poem or another dramatic text. Deadline 15th July.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

- Anna and Bergdís

PLEASURING BODIES

It's day three of our rehearsals in Helsinki, and whilst the days have been filled with reading, writing and creative meetings, we've stayed strong in our "physical theatre practitioners' mindset" and decided to start each morning with physical work, namely active meditation.

 Man Ray, inspiration to physical softness

Man Ray, inspiration to physical softness

What this type of meditation invites you to do, is to commit to your body's impulses and quite simply, do what feels good. The body aids the mind to let go, and whilst each thought that comes to your mind during the exercise is welcomed, it is also sent away. The body as a leader helps us to let go of any oppressive and restrictive thoughts or to plan our movements, and consequently block listening and spontaneity.

Listening to my body's moods these three mornings – and asking it what feels good – I've dived into the contemplation of pleasure. To do what feels pleasurable feels incredibly empowering; you listen to your instinct, and suddenly you're absolutely confident and careless in anything you do, whether it's jumping around the room and climbing on the walls or lying silently in the corner of the rehearsal room. And yet we are so often made feel guilty for acting upon what's pleasurable.

 Marc Chagall "The Blue Circus"

Marc Chagall "The Blue Circus"

I remember "pleasuring" first time in a theatrical context, taking part to Yorgos Karamalegos' workshop in Lamda, London. He invited the whole group into a long improvisation, which consisted of submitting to pleasure, and pleasure only. Apparently he had borrowed the concept from Lorna Marshall, and later developed it into his own practice. I loved the idea, but couldn't help but constantly feel like I wasn't doing enough as a performer; that I was being lazy when not pushing myself into the uncomfortable areas. Yet, when minutes passed, suddenly the whole room was playing, testing their boundaries; bubbling with a huge amount of risk-taking.

So I think this is the key: as actors, we are constantly being encouraged to "go out of the comfort zone" and to "push our boundaries", yet as a plain instruction this can make us take risks out of fear, not will, and start judging ourselves based on daring, not commitment and artistic expressivity. An alternative way to really reach authentic and informed actions, is to listen to our bodies and their need for pleasure: when the body is ready, it will naturally jump into taking risks and sudden changes, following its pulsations. The body knows, and the mind pushing it to show off without its will, can easily lead into injuries, or simply "empty actions".

Reflecting further on the body's will, pleasure and the actor's agency, Hélène Cixous' concept of jouissance came to my mind. For Cixous, jouissance  is an orgasmic feeling of pleasure, which works on physical, spiritual and political levels and is the source of woman's (or a person's) creativity. She describes it in the following words: 

explosion, diffusion, effervescence, abundance...takes pleasure (jouit) in being limitless

Sounds familiar? The moment when you think you're flying. It's comforting to know that it has a name (multiple, I'm sure). Cixous' explanation gives somehow a confirmation for the value of pleasure. It lifts the idea from selfish enjoyment into a creative force, and an apparatus for reaching new hights in artistic expression.

 

 A painting by Balthus, capturing glimpses of limitless pleasure.

A painting by Balthus, capturing glimpses of limitless pleasure.

Let's follow our bodies and keep pleasuring! We only need to listen.

– Anna

RESIDENCY HELSINKI

We are currently working on the research and development for our next project, MEN (working title) at Alppila Church in Helsinki.

As four female artists we are curious about gendered experiences that reach beyond our own, and so we ask: What does it mean to be a man in today's world?

After months of individual research in Europe and North America we are excited to get this time together for intensive two weeks of research and development in Helsinki through the support of Kulturkontakt Nord's Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme

Then on Monday we start our residency at Villa Salin, managed by the Feminist Association Unioni. We will also hold a lecture-workshop on Equality in Physical Actor Training at Maikki Friberg Home, which is part of Feminist Association Unioni's programme at the Women's Open University. 

Finally, our workshop The Performer and the Self will take place at Ilmaisukellari, organised by the Finnish Actor's Union. 

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TODAY ON THE 9TH NOVEMBER WHEN I SIT DOWN TO WRITE...

I sat down to write about my experience being out in the countryside directing an amateur theatre production. A great experience for a young and inexperienced director, as myself. Getting to work with people that share the same “hobby” of making theatre. A large group of people with complete different backgrounds, with very different experiences of doing theatre and a wide range of age. A fantastic way of sharing a little life together, something they cherish for the rest of their lives.

We did the classic Nordic children play by Thorbjörn Egner about the animals in Hakkebakkeskogen or Hálsaskógi as we call it in Iceland. A classic play about being good to one another, to NOT eat each other... "All the animals in the forest should be friends", is the first rule. A highly political play in my opinion. Filled with contradictions of how we should live our lives and what should be allowed and what not and characters you can well relate to in our daily life. But it has a main message that we want our children to understand and be influenced by....be good to one another. The small animals can help the bigger ones and the big ones can help the smaller ones... Right? 

 

 From the play Dýrin í Hálsaskógi by Thorbjörn Egner performed at Bifröst

From the play Dýrin í Hálsaskógi by Thorbjörn Egner performed at Bifröst

So I was there for 7 weeks.  It was great. More than great, in fact. I learned a lot, gained new friends and got more experienced working as a director. Leading a group. Setting goals. Supporting each individual. Treating them equally. Asking them to show each other respect and support each other in their work. My first rule in this small town was no gossip within the group, mutual respect, support and honesty was our motto. Solving the problems by finding the root first, talking to each other as equals before shouting at each other, complaining, telling each other off or leaving in anger. And YES it was difficult at times. Of course, we are only human.  But I believe I was able to create a good working atmosphere within the group so everyone felt important and felt they were listen to and felt they were able to create in a safe place, allowed to make mistakes. A working environment that I believe is what should always be everywhere. No hierarchy but cooperation with leadership. 

As I´m writing this I keep thinking about our world today in relation to the elections in America and the latest election in Iceland, Colombia and Brexit. I have this urge of standing on a mountaintop shouting so everyone can hear:

Hey lets be good to one another and treat each other with respect regardless of our background, colour, shape, type, education, status, finance… Let´s not talk down to each other or talk badly about one another. Let´s talk about the root of the problem. Lets attack it. Let´s face it! Meet it! And treat it!

I don´t think we have much time actually. We need to begin today. Yes we need leaders but we need the right ones, that will treat us with respect and will support us no matter who we are. Because each human being on this earth has the right to live and has the same right as others. 

My writing today isn´t about our next theatre piece or directly about our theatre work at the moment. I cannot help myself writing my thoughts as they come to me now, today on the 9th of November when I sit down to write...

Theatre is about sharing the world, sharing experiences, thoughts, ideology, discoveries and to make a change. Theatre should challenge our thoughts; it used to be a media that would uncover the truth when needed. Theatre is a tool to have an impact, to share information in a different way than writings and films can. Theatre is a powerful medium that serves a greater purpose than only entertaining the audiences. We shouldn´t be afraid to get our voices out there and sharing our vision and telling the truth as it is.

For our next project I personally have great hopes of sharing truth in a different way I´ve done before. Telling real stories. Getting more voices out there for others to hear them and be influenced by. We can make a change. We can have a great impact.

 I have only positive energy to give to the year 2017 and I know we are a large group of positive people out there that are ready to fight for a better life on our beautiful planet. I want to end with a quote that I´m very fond of from Dr. Seuss: "I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights"

- Bergdís Júlía Jóhannsdóttir

OUR NEXT PROJECT

As four female artists we want to explore what our brothers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, male friends, male coworkers and male acquaintances experience that we may not be aware of as women. What does it mean to be a man?

 We do not own, but felt inspired by, this photo

We do not own, but felt inspired by, this photo

We are preparing this research for our next physical theatre production which will continue development over the course of the next two years. 

It stems from our curiosity on human nature and itch for storytelling experiences outside our own bodies, our viewpoints, and an interest in the audience's relationship to a body telling verbatim stories that are clearly not of its own experiences. 

We are looking to interview men of all ages, professions and backgrounds. In 2016 we can conduct these interviews in English, Finnish and Icelandic. 

If you are interested in sharing your experiences through a simple interview with us. You will be protected with anonymity and welcome to selectively answer questions you feel are relevant to you and comfortable.

Contact spindrifttheatre@gmail.com to participate! We'd love to have you on board. 

TEACHING IN FINLAND

We are happy to announce we will be leading our workshop "The Performer and the Self" at the Finnish Actor's Union in January 2017!

  From our workshop "The Performer and the Self" at the Norwegian Actor's Centre 2016. 

From our workshop "The Performer and the Self" at the Norwegian Actor's Centre 2016. 

Actors, dancers, directors, performers are welcome to sign up here. 

The workshop will be taught in English although we have Finnish, Icelandic and Swedish speaking instructors on our team. 

We look forward to working with you in Helsinki!

 

VIDEO C:B RABBIT

We continue to share our material from our most recent production: "Carroll: Berserkur" with this short fragment from actress Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir and filmmakers Louis Crevier and Marco Schott. 

Actress Hrefna Lind Lárusdóttir portrays her character, inspired by the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, for our immersive performance "Carroll: Berserkur". Video and editing by filmmakers Louis Crevier and Marco Schott. The video was played on numerous screens surrounding Hrefna during her live performance to highlight the stress, tempo and anxiety of her character.

FILM CHAPTERS

We wanted to share with you Sólveig Eva's recent collaboration, which recently premiered at the Nordic Film Festival New York. 

Eight (chapters) between friends and lovers as their relationships build, break down or stand completely still. Honourable Mention at the Nordic International Film Festival, New York "A fun and completely unique way to portray relationships."

VIDEO OSLO WORKSHOP

We are extremely happy and inspired after our workshop week at the Norsk Skuespillersenter in Oslo. Meeting new performers with new ideas, qualities and attitudes gives us a push to new directions, unknown before each experience.

We are excited to publish our new video about The Performer and the Self workshop, accompanied with our commentary and reflection on the workshop and the Spindrift Ethos.

Enjoy!

– Anna Korolainen