Akvavit Theatre is pleased to announce its 2019 season: FAMILY Drama, 2 Norwegian Plays appearing this fall in a double bill. The two one-acts presented in partnership with the International Voices Project, include the U.S. premiere of GOLIATH by Maria Tryti Vennerød, translated by May-Brit Akerholt and directed by Co-Artistic Director Kirstin Franklin and THE RETURNING by Fredrik Brattberg, translated by Henning Hegland and directed by Lee Peters.
GOLIATH retells the classic biblical story as an epic family drama: Goliath, the dominant older brother who, once in his childhood, was outshone by his clever, heroic little brother David. Ever since, Goliath has had to live with the myth of the events, the legend of his brother, the shame of his loss and their mother's favoring of David. Time has come for revenge.
In THE RETURNING, we meet a mother and a father grieving the loss of their son, Gustav, whom they assume to be dead. The funeral is breathtaking, where they have filled the coffin with things reminding them of Gustav. After some time goes by, they return to their daily lives. The parents manage to go on with their life. But then one day there is a knock on the door, upsetting all of their newfound peace...
Both plays examine tragedy and history through the lens of family dynamics, exploring the importance of understanding the narrative of our times as both epic and personal.
GOLIATH and THE RETURNING will play September 24 – October 13, 2019 in a double bill at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at www.chicagonordic.org. The press opening is Wednesday, September 25 at 8 pm.
Akvavit is also pleased to present a workshop staged reading of MAKING WAVES (working title), written and directed by Danish playwrights Rhea Leman(Hitler on the Roof) and Jens Kloft on Friday, September 13 at 7 pm at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Tickets for the reading are free. For reservations, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAKING WAVES is a work in progress that draws parallels between the plight of the immigrants from Scandinavian in the late 1800s, and the influx of emigrants attempting to enter the U.S. today. Despite over a century apart in their quest, similar expectations for a better life motivates immigrants to leave their families, language, customs, and traditions, and head for, “The land of the free and the home of the brave.” Playwrights Leman and Kloft, both from Copenhagen, will direct a weeklong workshop with local actors, where themes focusing on the departure and arrival from an old country to a new one, will be explored. The workshop will culminate in a public reading.
PHOTO CREDIT: Akvavit Theatre’s 2019 playwrights and directors include (top, l to r) Maria Tryti Vennerød, Kirstin Franklin and Fredrik Brattberg with (bottom, l to r) Lee Peters, Rhea Leman and Jens Kloft.
About the Artists
Maria Tryti Vennerød (Playwright, Goliath) is one of the most acknowledged playwrights in Norway today. Her plays have been translated into ten languages and have been presented at theatres like Théâtre de la Colline in Paris, The National Theatre in Budapest and at Theatre for the New City in New York. She has received several of awards, including the Ibsen Award and the first prize in the Swedish / Norwegian drama competition on the centennial for the end of the Swedish Norwegian Union in 2005. In 2012, she was nominated for the Hedda Award. Vennerød writes with linguistic musicality and energy, and with a desire to raise ethical questions through humor, poetry and politics.
Kirstin Franklin (Director, Goliath) Originally from Colorado, Co-Artistic Director Kirstin Franklin holds a BA from St. Olaf College and an MFA in acting from the FSU Asolo/Conservatory. She has collaborated with many theaters across the country including The Guthrie, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Rep, Pangea World Theatre, NY Fringe, Northlight, Urbanite and Raven Theatre among others. Joining Akvavit in 2011, Kirstin's credits with the company include: Red and Green, Kokkola, Autumn Dream, Mishap!, Blue Planet, Nothing of Me, Bad Girls and Rising Temperatures, along with many staged readings. Kirstin was a cast member in Season 9 of the award-winning Norwegian television program Alt for Norge, where she had the opportunity to learn more about her Norwegian heritage and compete for a chance to meet her relatives. In her spare time, Kirstin teaches theatre and acting at various colleges across Chicago.
Fredrik Brattberg (Playwright, The Returning) is one of Norway's most performed playwrights. His plays have been translated into nearly twenty languages and staged all over the world. You can see his plays at some of the biggest theatres in France and Germany, such as Theatre du Rond-Point, Comédie-Francaise and Schauspiel Frankfurt. Brattberg has been shortlisted by Berliner festspiele three times and nominated for Le Prix Godot. He has received the Ibsen Award and The Ferdinand Vanek Award. The Returning won Fredrik Brattberg The Ibsen Award in 2012.
Lee Peters (Director, The Returning) With over 20 years of theatre experience Lee Peters has worn many hats including director, performer, teacher and administrator. His current day gig is working as the assistant director of Live Programs at Shedd Aquarium where he helps create educational guest experiences that help spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.
About Akvavit Theatre
Since its beginning, Akvavit has been busy commissioning translations of contemporary Nordic works, staging readings of Nordic plays, and launching fully-staged productions. Akvavit is the only company in the U.S. devoted to annually producing US premiers of contemporary Nordic work. Akvavit Theatre is haunted by Nordic visions: deep forests and ice-blue seas, the patience of the glacier, the sudden fury of the volcano, the arctic light and silence. Seeking the universal through the voices of contemporary Nordic playwrights, Akvavit Theatre is a kind of homecoming, a connecting back to the lands whose people and cultures have for generations been a part of the great prairies of North America that we call home. And like our namesake beverage, Akvavit brings a “strong spirit” to the work that we produce. Skål, Skál, Kippis! For additional information, visit www.chicagonordic.org.
About International Voices Project
The International Voices Project champions the work of global playwrights by creating opportunities to experience new and contemporary international plays in urban settings and on stages throughout Chicago. We celebrate the mother tongue, and foster work that brings native languages to the forefront. From its inception, Chicago was conceived as the crossroads of the country. The rail lines that crossed the city now symbolize the role that Chicago will play in the future: as the center of international dialogue and design, creating opportunities for artists and audiences alike to experience the most engaging and provocative new plays from around the world. We foster new translations, support the work of translators, and create ongoing relationships with playwrights from the five continents. For additional information, visit www.ivpchicago.org.