Theater




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Þjóðleikhúsið, or the National Theater of Iceland, is quite a beautiful building, and it's always a pleasure going to see shows there. My wonderful mother Ásthildur gave Valentína and I tickets to go see Les Misérable there a few weeks ago and yes I cried at the end (and somewhere in the middle too, maybe?) It was an almost full house for a show that's been running since the beginning of March and has dates set at least through June. This shot is of the main stage just before the second act, when patrons were just beginning to meander back in.

It can be a bit weird attempting to suspend disbelief when watching the same people you bump into at Bónus (as well as at your kids' schools, the gas station, the pub, children's birthday parties...basically everywhere) pour their hearts out in character on stage (and there is a lot of dramatic pouring out of hearts in Icelandic theater!) but I guess it is a bit cosy as well.

This is not an easy musical to sing, so I actually found myself feeling proud of our talented and dedicated locals who obviously pushed themselves to new heights to bring this classic to the Icelandic stage. This talent of course includes not only actors, but set, lighting and sound designers as well!

I had no idea that there was a thing called the Theater Museum of Iceland, but maybe it's because they have no permanent exhibition space as is. Their web site, though, is rich in local theater history (that's actually what I wrote my BA in Theater Arts thesis on while at UCSC, where my lovely niece Mekkin Roff is now studying, and actually performing/teching in their annual Chautauqua Festival :)

If you are into the arts and get a chance to see a production, especially one where the language barrier won't affect you so much (a musical, opera or play you've seen/read in English) I recommend going in for an evening's experience - for such a small country, Icelanders almost always succeed in producing theater on an international scale.


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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria! I love your blog. I am curious about your photo of the National Theater. The theater looks rather small at first, yet the picture suggests that there are at least 200 seats in those first 10 rows. So perhaps it is quite big. Do you know how many seats it has? Since Iceland is so small, I wonder if they built it for 1,500 patrons, or only 500, or somewhere in between.

Iceland Eyes said...

Hello Anon, glad you are enjoying Iceland Eyes!

Yes, the photo of the Main Stage is deceptive, probably due to the angle and the fact that I took it from up in the balcony. I copied this quote from the National Theater website that I linked in the post:

"Today the theatre has four separate venues: the Main Stage (Stóra sviðið, 500 seats), the Black Box (Kassinn, 140 seats), the Small Stage for Children (Kúlan, 80 seats) and The Theatre Cellar (Leikhúskjallarinn, (100-120 seats)."

: )

Professor Batty said...

I always make a point of attending the National Theater when I'm in Iceland - it is absolutely world class. Seeing it is a compelling reason to visit Iceland in the off-season. I've seen shows on the Main Stage, in the Black Box and concerts in the Cellar. It doesn't matter if you can't understand Icelandic- the acting and set design is always very compelling, I can't recommend it enough (and I will be attending again next October!)