norwegian theatre practices?

hello everyone, does anyone know of any traditional, distinctively norwegian ancient or moderately old theatre practices?

1 Answer

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Whilst theatres have undoubtedly existed in Norway since the earliest times, little documentary evidence of the art form exists prior to the early modern period. The sagas suggest the presence of court entertainers during the Viking era, but the earliest firm evidence of acting dates from 1539. However, it is reasonable to assume that for several centuries prior to this, as in neighbouring countries, the performance of religious plays was an integral feature of Christian liturgy at Epiphany and Easter.

    After the Reformation, plays were often included in the school curriculum. In Bergen, Absalon Pedersøn Beyer (1528-1575) encouraged his students to perform antique comedies in Norwegian. In 1562 he directed a performance of Adams fall ('The Fall of Adam') at the Archbishop’s residence, which is held to be the first theatre performance in Norway. One of the students participating in the play, Nils Hjelt, is known as the first Norwegian actor. The work of the Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) proved popular reading in Norway, but it could not be produced as even the most harmless amateur performance was considered inappropriate.

    The popularity of first German, and later Danish, touring theatre companies in Norway during the 17th and 18th centuries eventually gave rise to a proliferation of home-grown amateur dramatic societies. In Christiania (now Oslo) Bernt Anker (1746-1805) founded Det Dramatiske Selskap (The Dramatic Society) and in the early years of the 19th century the first permanent playhouses were established in Bergen (1800) and Trondheim (1816). Theatre was considered a popular hobby or leisure activity and at its height the Dramatic Society of Bergen counted 600 members – 400 women and 200 men. In 1825 a Swede named Johan Peter Strömberg founded the first Norwegian acting school in Oslo and two years later in the same city he opened the Christiania Theatre, the first permanent professional Norwegian playhouse. This building burned down in 1835 and was replaced by a new theatre on Bank Square, which was to house the company until its move in 1899 to the present National Theatre, Oslo. During the second half of the 19th century this theatre was recognised as a national Norwegian institution, but its administration was run by the Danes and Danish was still the language used on stage. Accordingly, the theatre was to play an important role as an arena for the turbulent fight for independence.

    19th-century nationalism found expression in the work of several Norwegian writers, including Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845), Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832-1910) and, most significantly, Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906). Two years after the establishment of the National Theatre, Bergen (1850), Ibsen joined the company as resident playwright and stage director. The language used here was a cultivated version of the Bergen dialect, which became the unofficial norm for language used on stage.

    The work of Ibsen and Bjørnson was to have an enormous impact on the development of Norwegian and international theatre. Up to the 1870s Norwegian theatre had been characterised by ideals of Romanticism, but more realistic plays were now introduced, challenging both directors and actors. The new trend of interpreting life and people from a more psychological point of view called for a new form, which led to symbolism and expressionism in the performing arts. Meanwhile the desire for an independent language was finally attained with the establishment in 1913 of Det Norske teatret (Norwegian Theatre) by Edvard Drabløs (1883-1976) and Hulda Garborg (1862-1934), whose aim was to perform dramatic art in New Norwegian, the first official independent language which combined regional dialects.

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