Looking for more ways to bring the performing arts into your student-life in Bergen? BIT Teatergarasjen offers Norwegian and international performing arts, emphasizing international collaboration and genre transcendence.
BIT February 6-7
This weekend I was fortunate to get BIT tickets to see french choreographer Etienne Guilloteau and mesmerizing dancer Claire Croizé perform Synopsis of a Battle, a contemporary multimedia dance piece that utilizes projected film; voiceovers; quotes from poets such as René Char and Cesare Pavese; and diverse music ranging from snippets from overtures, operas by Mahler and Schönberg, to soundtracks from old films including Ben Hur and Jean Luc Godard’s Le Mépris curated by Alain Franco.
The performance inspired debate and discussion among myself and friends who also attended. The program describes aspects of the piece as being read, sung, and projected as from a chorus in a Greek tragedy, but goes on to say that “Synopsis of a Battle is the summary of a western cultural history of the imagination: an idea of struggle, dialogue and of love – a beautiful summary of an opera.”
Some of those who saw it felt there were clear and distinct themes of mankind attempting to become gods, and in so doing, killing them. They saw a distinct narrative thread. Some were distracted by the fluidity and charm of Claire Croizé as she fenced, swam, and sculpted the space upon the stage. I won’t say if I was the one delightful distracted by her little moments (like what I am convinced was fencing) to a degree where my brain refused to intellectualize a narrative in the same way as my companions.
I will, however, say I found the text – or at least the translations – used to be a bit mind-bending. Each one in equal parts inscrutable and intriguing. One of my favorites was:
Plunge into the unknown- it is penetrable. Force yourself to turn round and round.
“Stand,” you might ask me, “You’re the kind of weird-beard who loves google translate, you seem like the type to try to find that quote and see if you could translate it again… did you do that?” Oh, my. You know me so well.
I did find what appears to be a past playbill for this piece, complete with text fragments. And oh yes, I did find “plunge into the unknown”. The quote is from René Char, a 20th century French poet, the original french was, Enfonce-toi dans l’inconnu qui creuse. Oblige-toi à tournoyer. And did google translate help?…
Sink yourself into the unknown widening. Forcing yourself to spin.
No google, you did not help. Bad google.
Maybe ultimately I should let the director speak for himself. In the video below, he mentions he wanted to make an opera with only 2 participants, and that he was more interested in narrative intensity rather than defined stories:
A bit about BIT
BIT Teatergarasjen is one of Norway’s primary purveyors of international performing arts, including regular collaborations with theatres, dance venues, and festivals in several European countries. What began in the early 1980s as an international theatre festival evolved in the 1990s to offer performance throughout the year. A new Teatergarasjen performance venue is in the works; until then performances are presented at various venues throughout Bergen. BIT Teatergarasjen presents two biannual international festivals: OKTOBERDANS (dance) and METEOR (theatre) as well as the multi-genre, underground, young-artist driven PrøveRommet. Read more about BIT Teatergarasjen here (you can choose English in the top corner if your Norsk is shaky).
If you missed Synoposis of a Battle, there are plenty of upcoming performance to explore at BIT. And keep in mind, BIT offers student tickets: if you are under 25, tickets are 100 nok, this makes performing arts affordable, even if you’re on a student budget! Check out their program in here, click on English at the top if you like.
Did you really want to see Synopsis of a Battle specifically? Take a look at the video below.
Prefer to experience live-theatre from the comfort of home? Check out the following webpage to host Home Visit: Europe a participatory performance which takes place in private homes. There are even some English language performances planned.