Lókal International Theatre Festival Begins Skip to content

Lókal International Theatre Festival Begins

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Image for “A Thousand Ways (Part 1): A Phone Call” Via 600 Highwaymen, FB.

The Lókal International Theatre Festival began on Friday and will continue through Monday, December 6. This year’s program features seven works by local artists, some of which are still in development, as one of the festival’s emphases is works in progress. The lineup also includes one piece by renowned international theatre-makers 600 Highwaymen.

This year’s festival will also see the publication of Syrpa, a collection of sample scripts by artists based in Reykjavík. Syrpa will be available for sale at Tjarnarbíó for the duration of the festival.

The program schedule, curated by artistic directors Eva Rún Snorradóttir and J. Vala Höskuldsdóttir, is varied in subject matter and approach, and reflects the festival’s interest in “gut feelings” and giving artists “opportunities to try new things.” It also reflects an imaginative understanding of what theatre and performance actually is and prioritizes active audience participation. Take, for instance, Saturday’s Botanical Expansion Tour, a 4-hour trip to the Reykjanes peninsula during which participants will develop “a plant-oriented worldview that comes in handy when dealing with global warming, midlife crisis and everyday stress.”

Saturday will also stage “The Festival of Impermanence,” during which “a nurse, a poet, and musicians come together to celebrate and explore the work of healing” in the home of one of the performers.

Another of the festival’s performances can be experienced from the comfort of the audience’s homes and will continue for the duration of the festival. As part of “Call Center,” which begins at 5pm on Sunday, November 28, three short performance pieces will be delivered over the phone. Participants can call whenever they like, as often as they like, from anywhere. The phone number for the performance will be announced on Sunday, see the Facebook event page for details.

Most of the performances are in Icelandic, but two will be held in English. On Wednesday, December 1, visual artists Lukas Bury and Weronika Balcerak will present “They have no pictures on the walls,” which is “an artistic research project that aims at in-depth research of the Polish immigrant community in Iceland.” The lunchtime lecture is free to attend, but pre-registration is required (more information here).

The three-part performance “A Thousand Ways,” has been performed in phases throughout the world. During Lókal, theatre-makers 600 Highwaymen respond to our “already-strained coexistences and interactions,” which have been “further fractured and flattened by virtual gatherings” and offer the audience “a new chance at making contact with a stranger.” This performance requires direct participation: “You and another person, seated at a table, separated by a pane of glass, a stack of cards between you. A new type of theater emerges.” (More information and tickets here.)

The full program of events can be found on the Lókal website, in English, here. Masks are required at all in-person events and attendees at any show held at Tjarnarbíó must get a rapid antigen COVID test no more than 48 hours before the event and furnish proof of a negative result at the door.

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