Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Vertu Úlfúr

This afternoon I had lunch with Siljá Ađalsteinsdóttir, a Laxness in Translation contributor, writer, editor and theatre critic. Our discussion ranged from Halldór Laxness (of course) to theatre (of course) and we even touched upon Páll Óskar! A wonderful day and the theatre tonight!

The stage play Vertu úlfur (Be a Wolf) is based on Héðin Unnsteinsson's autobiographical narrative of the same name.

I saw it tonight in the National Theatre (Þjóðleikhúsið). The show took me on a crazy journey through the “… dangerous places of the mind into a world of anarchy and despair and back again, the struggle of a man who manages to break out of the vicious cycle and manages to turn his most terrifying experience into the strength needed to change.” The book was nominated for the Icelandic Literature Prize and was made into a solo play by director Unni Ösp Stefánsdóttir.

This really pushed me out of my comfort zone with its 100 minutes of Björn Thors’ nearly nonstop monologs in Icelandic. The stagecraft and Björn’s masterful emoting and body language enabled me to be thoroughly enthralled throughout.

Before the play started I was sitting on a bench in the outer lobby when woman came in and sat down next to me. We started talking about Icelandic theatre, she was a regular and I mentioned that I had seen Þetta er allt að koma by Hallgrímmur Helgason. She had known Hallgrímmur since he was three years old! She said was what a great man he was—and that was the second time I heard someone say that on Tuesday!

When the woman, whom my bench-mate was waiting for, came in she said to us “Ah! Brúðkaupsbekkurinn!”

By Professor Batty


Blogger Darien Fisher-Duke said...

Welcome to our beloved Iceland, dear friend!

Blogger Stephen Cowdery said...

I will do my best to be your faithful correspondent!

Having a blast, and the music hasn't even started yet.

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