Tales of Norge 2
Okay - so I have been here for 3 weeks now and I’m settling well into my temporary life in Norway. I have my breakfast from my kitchen table overlooking the mountains and the fjord. Walk the 5 minutes into work alongside said fjord. Past the bric-a-brac shop, that is rarely open but has a dazzling array of old shite and a woman with very big hands... Across the bridge where I look down at the water and everyday marvel at how clear it is. And then finally into the Arbeideren which is the beautiful Art Nouveau theatre where we are working. Actually most of the centre of Alesund is Art Nouveau after it was destroyed by a fire in 1904 - history as well as updates eh?
The rehearsals are going really well and John and Jonas appear to be enjoying the challenges of the world of Hvit. They have even started to look relaxed in the egg catching section! Jonas is still struggling with his knitting though (see below).Shona and Craig come out this week to light and finish the set. Shona is adding a few norwegian touches to some of the houses - so we have assembled a small collection of norwegian items to be auditioned.
My norwegian is not really improving, although certain words, mostly colours, are creeping into my brain. There aren’t many occasions when you need to say “It’s a red egg” or “Wrinkle. Time to wake up” but I still try and pepper my conversation liberally with them just so I feel like a local.
On thursday night I optimistically decided to test my language comprehension by going to see a stand up. Unfortunately the entire show was in norwegian and I was sitting in the front row. I don’t think i’ve ever been so terrified of being picked on and having to explain I didn’t understand a word. Fortunately, I escaped unscathed. It is quite weird though fake laughing and clapping for an hour and a quarter.
Afterwards we went to Teaterfabrikken which is a regular weekly event for everyone at the theatre. Astrid, who is also an actor and whose place it is, opens it up to theatre friends and we have a few beers. We take over a section of it’s three vast subterranean rooms and enjoy the atmosphere of this former cod liver oil factory, but think old, very old and really wooden - like being in the bowels of a ship with a lot of sofas.
Oh...The other day I had my most expensive meal - a take away soup for lunch which cost me £14! It has to be said it was a very good cauliflower soup with truffle oil but still...
I sipped it slowly and pretended it was a steak, which made me feel slightly better.
Right. That’s it for now. Look in again for the next Tales of Norge.
Norway? Yes it’s true, here I am directing the Norwegian version of White or Hvit as it is now known. I have been here in Alesund for about a week now and I am settling in rather well. Shona and Craig came out to oversee the set and production and will return again in the final week. Everyone has been very welcoming and I kind of feel like I’m in my own version of the Shipping News - finding out the local gossip and goings on. Though, as Roy the technician at the theatre pointed out, I am now likely to be part of that gossip. In fact by Thursday we had a full page spread in the local paper, accompanied by a picture of Shona and I rather seriously inspecting bird-boxes.
We have been brought over by Eva, the producer at Barneteatret Vart who is the person most fittingly described as irrepressible. I have also never known a mobile ring or beep so often. She takes a swim most days in the sea with her friend Endra, I have been invited to attend so I suspect a fjord dip is likely some point soon.
The two actors, Jonas and John, are great and playing the respective parts of Bomull and Rynke. We all seem to be enjoying rehearsals and are currently competing in the tricky olympic sport of egg catching. We are still in training. At the same time...yes we can multitask, we are trying to work out a local equivalent of the word play Wrinkle/ Pinkle, any Norwegians reading.... all word plays gratefully received.
Alesund itself is unbelievably beautiful. It’s actually a series of islands in amongst the fjords. It is a regular stopping point for many of the cruise ships and about 5 o’clock most days you hear the ships horn, as it pulls up anchor and sets sail again. On Saturday I scaled the local viewpoint with a well placed coffee shop at the top and took the pictures below - nice eh? I opted for a coffee and a svele (literally means swell) a kind of sugar filled pancake. I do struggle with the scandinavian cost of food, it seems incredible that a salad can be 15 quid but there it is. Maybe there is a norwegian black market using lettuce as currency?
Anyway, otherwise all is very good and I am enjoying working in and exploring this beautiful part of the world. That’s it for now. Look in again for the next Tales of Norge!