I took coffee with one of the Laxness in Translation contributors, Silja Aðalsteinsdóttir, a most illuminating afternoon. Our conversation started with Salka Valka and went numerous places from there. Silja writes theatre reviews for TMM (Timarít Mals og Menníngar) and she suggested I see John Logan's play Rautt (Red) which was about the painter Mark Rothko. So it was that I found myself Saturday evening outside the Borgarleihusið (the City Theatre of Reykjavík):
It is a large complex with two theatres and a vast, airy lobby area, quite the contrast to the intimate Þjóðleikhúsið Kassinn venue I went to last night:
The play was quite wordy, although the context (late fifties New York art scene) and numerous instances of name-dropping in the script helped me follow the gist of the story. Rothko (Jóhann Sigurðarson) and his fictional assistant (Hilmar Gudjonsson) have heated conversations about the meaning of modern art:
Silja mentioned the quality of the acting, and she was right—Jóhann Sigurðarson was outstanding, his physical presence defined the character as much as his speech.