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Dec 6 - Dec 10, 2016

Our time in Oslo was so full.

We’ve had a great relationship with Grusomhetens Teater (The Theatre of Cruelty) for many years now thanks to an introduction by Janne Hoem, our mutual colleague, who worked closely with Judith on History of the World.

Lars, who has run Grusomhetens for 25 years, met us at the airport at midnight with food for the fridge and brought us to our digs. After being strip searched in the airport, this was warmth much needed.

We met the next afternoon with a wonderful woman named Melinda Meier, who works with a group called EXIT that is very involved in the refugee crisis. Their work has yielded solid data about the influence of art on migrant populations, and happiness and mental health and productivity. More to follow on that as we develop the relationship with her and EXIT.

Later that night we got to work on Judith’s unfinished manuscript, Venus & Mars, with Grusomhetens company members, including their producer Brendan McCall and Hanne, Lars’ wife and lifelong collaborator as a performer in the company, both of whom were also incredible hosts and participating artists in this collaboration.

It is the begininning of a year long effort with our two companies on the project, and the next step in moving forward creating this new work. We hope to collaborate with many artists and companies on Venus & Mars, and challenge the production process for theatre and performance as we work on it over the next years.

The work we do in all the cities we’ve been to in the last year informs this process.

We were privileged to watch and participate in Grusomhetens’ rehearsal process of Lars new manuscript on Arthur Rimbaud in Africa.

After these rehearsals, we had an incredibly deep experience in our workshop in Oslo. We were all moved to tears by the Norwegian awareness of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation protests, and their own government’s complicit participation in the disasters of fossil fuel energy.

We are not alone.

Three street pieces were created by a beautifully diverse group of artists from Norway. Everyone’s cultural backgrounds at once disappearing and taking turns to lead from their experience. We performed in a grocery store, at a church in in the public square.

I find it very hard to talk too much about the workshops, because they are so ephemeral and experiential and also personal.

They are healing.

I can only say, we must do more.

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