Akvavit Theatre devotes all its energy into producing contemporary Nordic plays and showing audiences a different view of the world.
Opening in Chicago on Feb. 28
A Summer's Day, Autumn Dream and Winter: Three plays by Jon Fosse. Rehearsals three weeks ago - Three excited artists from Chicago's own Akvavit Theatre Company crowded around a small table as they described their enthusiasm for translating Nordic theatre performance.
The company devotes all its energy into producing contemporary Nordic plays and showing audiences a different view of the world. For more info, see www.akvavittheatre.org
“They take so many more risks than you see in American playwrights. They put it all out there, and it’s so exciting,” says Breahan Pausch, who works with the internal relations of Akvavit.
While researching Nordic plays, actress Kirsten Franklin came upon a Norwegian playwright by the name of Jon Fosse and received two of his plays. The actors read through the first play and was immediately enamored with it. After they read the second, they quickly requested a third. They found these three plays were interconnected and decided to produce all of them.
Eventually, they realized they needed a new translation. Through a series of events, Franklin came upon an old classmate who happened to be studying Norwegian playwrights and was able to translate for them.
“The craziest thing a theatre company can do is produce three shows, with three different casts and three directors at once,” says Pausch.
Both Pausch and Franklin became interested in Akvavit in part because of their Scandinavian heritage. “Once I went to the website and saw that it was a Nordic theatre company, I thought that it was so cool. I have always been in touch with my Scandinavian side, and it was very exciting it come back to it,” says Franklin.
“I was looking forward to using Akvavit as an opportunity to learn more about my Danish heritage as well as contemporary European theatre and theatre in translation. I think there is great work being done that doesn’t make it back to the U.S., because no one speaks Norwegian. It is really exciting to be a part of an organization that does that,” explains Pausch.
Akvavit Theatre Company has 11 members and is growing quickly. There is a lot of buzz around what they are doing, and they feel Chicago has a place for a company like Akvavit. They see themselves as a channel for getting the Nordic theatre into America, and then dispersing it outwardly so other people will take interest in producing these plays. Akvavit pulls plays from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland.
Akvavit opens A Summer’s Day, Autumn Dream and Winter, a set of plays by Jon Fosse, on February 28 at the DCASE Storefront Theatre in Chicago.
Text & Photography: Eva Larson
For more info, see www.akvavittheatre.org