THEATRE AND DANCE PROJECTS
Peer Gynt (H. Ibsen) - 2018, The Croatian National Theatre
In this production I was hired as a sound designer and digital instruments designer, developing motion sensor technology for use on stage. Utilising four to five wireless motion sensors on the actors' arms, legs and head, I was able to transform their movements into meaningful sound. I named the resulting motion/sound-hybrids "sound costumes": The actors would put the sensors on, and have their bodies appear like they were made of stone, or slime or any imaginable auditory thing, just like with visual costumes. The sound costumes were mainly used within the play's dreamlike/mythological sequences, like the appearances of the Bøyg, a giant serpent creature from Norwegian folk tales, and the Mountain King, king of the trolls.
This production was part of the European Theatre Convention's project European Theatre Lab. A casebook, including a more indepth text of mine concerning the creative process working with motion sensors and sound design, can be found here.
The play was very well received, being described at the time as bringing "a new digital era" to Croatian theatre. It was also nominated for Best Theatre Play in Croatia 2018. A slightly altered version was subsequently staged at The Norwegian Theatre in Oslo, and a film version is in progress.
WHY NOT BEFORE - HELØE/ULVESTAD
Nanjing, China - Tromsø, Norway
A boy suddenly gets out of the bed he has been in for the last year. He books a plane ticket and leaves everything he knows.
In the sound play Why not before, we experience the world through the boy's ears. We go with him on a beautiful, but dangerous journey to a foreign city 3000 kilometers away. We stumble and we search with him - as him - trying to find purpose, meaning, a place where he can be himself. Why did he leave so suddenly? What does he want, where will he end up?
In late 2017, writer Liv Heløe and I started the independent company Heløe/Ulvestad with plans for making a play based on her text Why not before. The result is a new form of theatre: A pure sound play, almost completely void of visual stimuli, where the audience experience the world through the ears of the main character. For this production, I have functioned as creative co-director and composer, creating a detailed electroacoustic composition, tightly connected both rythmically and dynamically to the text.
The text and music are treated as one coherent whole, where the music represents the boy's subjective experience of the world, and the text is his attempt to put the experience into words. Musically, this entails a blurring of the line between sensory experience (like the "objective" sound of a city) and feelings/thoughts (like joy, fear, curiosity). The sound of a road crossing can turn into tonal music and vice versa, seamlessly and without any perceived contrast. The sound universe is portrayed through 14 speakers in front of, behind and above the audience, who are sitting "inside" the boy's experience.
Why not before premiered in Hålogaland Teater (The Arctic Theater) in january 2018, and has since been performed in Oslo, Norway and in the international theatre festival Moving Worlds in Nanjing, China. The play has also been invited to Beijing Gallery Week, and new shows are being prepared at Vega Scene in Oslo. The text has been translated into English, Chinese and German, and will be showcased as part of Frankfurt Buchmesse 2019. The production has received financial support by The Norwegian Arts Council and Notam.