Czech-Icelandic Theatre Project based on the novel Skugga Baldur by Sjón
Sjón’s celebrated novel Skugga-Baldur has been translated into 22 languages and serves as the template for this international project which links two distinct cultural traditions – Central Europe with its deep-rooted theater tradition and Iceland with its strong narrative and myth creating tradition. The aforementioned novel in which three characters meet and elude one another is the ideal material for this link, representing contrasting worlds and approaches to life – Baldur the demonic pastor transfiguring into the dark character of skugga-baldur, Abba, a girl with Downs Syndrome, and Fridrik, the educated European naturalist.
The important motto of “omnia mutantur, nihil interit” (everything changes, nothing perishes) in the story of the insidious creature skugga-baldur is a quote taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Skuggi, the eccentric narrator (skuggi is Icelandic for “shadow”), uses metamorphosis as his primary means of expression, through which he performs a somewhat subversive show about a hunter and his shadow, barking foxes, dried cod heads, Mongolian children with Downs syndrome, lotus flower eaters, the scent of Darjeeling and smoking opium, mercy, compassion and contempt, about God and electricity in the rear end of a glacier, a journey through the snow to the underworld and about a pastor who looks like a bulge in the landscape.
The performance has been awarded the Divadelní noviny Prize in the category of Alternative Drama in the 2015/2016 season.
Supported by grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
To say the performance of this play was haunting, simply does not do justice. It must be seen to be believed.
Debbie Liebenberg, Prague Film & Theater Center, 30/3/2016