by Tore Vagn Lid


Reconstruction of an Afternoon: The Inside of the State of Emergency

It’s soon eight years now – it has already become history.

A timeline stretches through a framework, built up as a wooden installation, camera, instruments, aerial cables, tape recorders and small and big loudspeakers. Second by second, minute by minute a team of illustrators, musicians and filmmakers is reconstructing the time it took a young man to blow up a Norwegian government building and then kill young social democrats at a summer camp. Different from films about Breivik’s action or plays reading loud from his manifest, it is not worked retro – but in a way prospectively; the events are being reconstructed from the beginning, from the chain of moments when nothing was clear yet , and nobody quite knew what was going on, what was important or not, who was behind it all, and what the result of this Friday would be.

But it’s a hard summer rain falling.

At the FM network there are stories of circus elephants.There is a report about a guest who has fallen asleep on the bathroom floor and clogged the shower drain at a hotel in Grimstad. In a warm office in a rainy city in Western Norway there is a young man preparing a theater performance. On Utøya a Norwegian ex-Prime Minister ends her stay, earlier than planned.

The dramaturgy of the state of emergency?

Then, at 15:25.22 it explodes. But the drama itself will take time. Messages and wrong messages start to come in. They are meant to inform, but they are picked up and forwarded and they themselves become intervening actions that in their turn create new situations, a new reality.

At 15:54.07: “There has been another explosion!”

Different broadcasting editors, financed in different ways, respond differently. Some have a crisis plan, others just themselves and their ready-made play lists.

At 15:34: “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

At 15:53:  ”Earth Song” by Michael Jackson.

At 15:51 the speculations start. Gradually there is a need for an answer and the experts get dressed for their part and are called to the stage. For someone must know!

There are speculations, at first in Norwegian, then in English, German, French and Spanish. In this web of reactions, national and supranational, one can sense the contours of a dramaturgy of the state of emergency. I think it can tell us something about our reactions, not afterwards, but in the middle of such a state when nobody can know for sure about extent, reason and motivation; where speculations go in all directions because the world needs answers, where Facebook photos are replaced by Norwegian flags – national symbols, that later – just as collectively are replaced again by the old ones, where suppressed political ideas can thrive on the street and on the couch, where choices, big or small,  have to be made - there and then, where pauses and silence become screaming. Maybe the artistic search for that dramaturgy of the state of emergency can trace what the political everyday life, the state of normality, erases?

And maybe “03:08.38” can become a kind of "emergency" theater – I mean – preparations for those states of emergency that certainly are in front of us.


When those who share the art of the moment are not at the same place.

An old truth has always been suited to bridge the otherwise stubborn internal fronts of theater: A theater performance is always unique. Actually, it only happens once for those who are present in the same room, at the same time. Like this theater is above all the art of the moment. And like this theater is also the art form of the social room. This also applies to the premiere of Transiteatret-Bergen’s new performance “03:08.38 States of Emergency” that now, after a series of etudes in Frankfurt, Fjaler, Bergen and Trondheim, has reached its first full- scale version at the Arctic Arts Festival in Harstad on June 22. When this performance after all is different from theater’s “normal state”, it is not because it lays these qualities aside, but it rather tries to strain and stretch in the established concepts of theater such as “being present” and “in the same room”.


Listening post Trondheim/ Listening post Bergen/ Listening post X

This performance does not only take place in the festival town of Harstad, but also - and simultaneously – at two other venues: In “Kontrollrommet” at NTNU in Trondheim on June 22 there is an audience together with active participants in the performance. And in “Wrap” in Bergen the doors are opened at precisely at the same time as in Trondheim. This is not streamed theater because none of the rooms are outside or beyond the theater room, but they are independent parts of the extended scenographic meeting point of the performance. Therefore, it is not an attempt to “individualize” the theater experience in the era of the digital girl’s room either. On the other hand, one asks with curiosity: What does it actually mean now, at our moment of history, to be “present”, “simultaneously” and in “the same room”? And what possibilities does this attempt at an extension - a kind of social and digital decentralization of the theater room – give to the story, to the interplay between the performers and the audience, and not least between audience and audience who gather in the same room at different venues?

The one who chooses to log in, and be present, either alone or together with others, will take part in the decision.


Tore Vagn Lid








JUNE 23. 15:00 PM (CET)


Cast/Partisipant (Version #0& #1): 

Terje Isungset, Anders Elsrud Hultgreen,Tore Vagn Lid,  Mathias Grønsdal, Jan Øystein Nesheim, Tor Christian F. Bleikli, Anders Bitustøil, Harald Lind-Hanseen, Lindis Haugan, Vibeke Eilerstsen, Grete Helene Madsen, Trude Wikeland, Bjørg Steiro, Bård Tømmerås, Leo Preston, Veronica Thorseth, Jens Røyrvik, Sigurd Magne Torbergsen, Jon Bjerkan, Leo Van Baal, Marianne Varskinn, Kikkis Holmås, Ida Willassen.

Research-team Trondheim:

Forskergruppen Kontrollrommet (NTNU) ved Petter Grytten Almklov, Jens Røyrvik, Barbro Rønning, Haakon Fyhn, Kristin Halvorsen

Research-team Germany:
Saija Kontio, Anna Neudert, Agnes Fink, Maíra Wiener, Ching Wen Peng, Julia Forgacs, Insa Peters, Xiaofen Wang, Alexandra Finder, Julia Salzmann, Ivana Mitric, Dennis Hoss, Helene Röhnsch, Ozi Ozar, Anja Schneidereit, Angelina Stross, Fabian Mauderer, Anne-Laure Thumerel.


*Versjon #0 og #1 - (kl 15:19:40 - 17:04:00)

Versjon #2 og #3 will be presented January 2020


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