Being Norwegian: A play at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo

Nope, nope, nope, Being Norwegian is not a step-by-step account, performed on a stage, of how to be a fjord-loving, outdoorsy, Viking-battling Nordic specimen.  No (or Nei, as they say), Being Norwegian, written by Scottish playwright David Grieg, is a new production by Brevity Theatre currently running at the Old Fitz Theatre in Woolloomooloo.

Essentially, the play is about the space between two people who are desperately trying to connect, if only for one night.  It’s about the differences that drive people apart, and, on the flipside, the similarities that bind us together.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the play, which was given to me by director Alexander Butt:

Sean invites Lisa back to his flat for a drink.  Lisa says she’s Norwegian. Is Sean Norwegian too? In this dark, funny encounter two outsiders reach out to each other across the deep fjords of the heart.

“In Norway we’re used to darkness in people’s heads. We even prefer it.  Because if there is no darkness then what in heaven’s name are you talking about?”

 

Starring Katy Curtain as Lisa and David Woodland as Sean, it’s currently running at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomoooloo until 21st June. Get your tickets at http://www.oldfitztheatre.com/.  My review of the play is online via Weekend Notes.

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What Katy said next

Katy Curtain was kind enough to answer some of my naggy niggly questions about the play, and how being Norwegian can happen to the best of us:

1. What was it that interested you about this play, and why did you want to be involved?

The script is captivating. There are so many contrasts unveiled in this small amount of time – it feels a little bit electric the whole way through. My character comes across as so light and uninhibited, and David Woodland’s Sean is quite the opposite. I also like how the dialogue evokes such gorgeous imagery, but the setting is this bare boxy apartment. It sets up this feeling of longing.

2. Had you seen it performed previously, and what did you think of it?

I have not seen it performed but Alex the director has seen it performed as an acting showcase twice. To our knowledge this is the first full production in Australia.

3. Was there anything in your performance that was drawn from real life experience of situations similar to that in the play?

The whole performance in a way! As it turns out, I’m quite experienced in feeling out of place (and I see I’m not alone). Longing for a part of ourselves that, for whatever reason, we just can’t access in our current place and time. I also brought a few of my friends to mind in order to access Lisa’s energy.

Katy Curtain as Lisa in Being Norwegian, now playing at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo

Katy Curtain as Lisa in Being Norwegian, now playing at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo

4. Have you ever been in a relationship (romantic or otherwise) that involved overcoming barriers of communication and connection?

Of course – sometimes the people you are closest with can be the trickiest to get through to. And I know I put walls up at times. Language is limited, and sometimes we can’t make sense of our actions and emotions with words alone.

5. Lisa’s “Norwegian-ness” in the play is a lot about her feeling out of her element. Is this a flaw or a strength? Why?

It’s a complicated result of both. I suppose you could say that her Norwegian-ness is a quick solve for her feeling of displacement. Whether it’s an effective solve is up for debate. You can definitely argue that continuously painting a picture of oneself is a sure sign of dissatisfaction and perhaps even denial of reality. On the other hand, I appreciate the strength it takes to drive a life of passion and joy over despair. A recurring theme in David Greig’s plays is a yearning for a connection with someone else in an unfamiliar place.

 

Catch Being Norwegian, starring Katy Curtain as Lisa and David Woodland as Sean, at the Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomoooloo until 21st June. Get your tickets at http://www.oldfitztheatre.com/

 

Images supplied by Being Norwegian promoters.

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