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MATER NEXUS

In the center stands Berit, a successful career woman. When she gets breast cancer, she reluctantly is forced to reassess her life situation.  She gathers her daughters, sisters and friends for a dinner where the wine flows, the true picture becomes both comical, intrusive and uncomfortable. When we meet the women eight years later, their conflicts grow, bloom and burst.

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Prologue

A meeting between three women performing few sentences with a universal character, far away from specific destinies. In this short, rhythmic part, Lene Therese Teigen opens a door to the world she wants to present to us.

Part one

Through short, sharp and fragmented sequences, we meet nine different women -mothers, daughters, sisters, sisters-in-law and childhood friends, in very different situations and environments, but caught in a special moment of high temperature. In the center stands Berit, a successful career woman. When she is informed that she has breast cancer, she reluctantly cancels her planned meetings and is forced to reassess her life.

Part two
A party at Berit's home, where she has gathered the most important women in her life to confront them and herself with the death sentence she has received, and to settle the status of herself and her life.  When the wine flows, the friends drop their masks and the true picture becomes both comical, intrusive and uncomfortable. Berit cannot keep the reins together, nothing turns out the way she had intended. And her only child, Alina, who is a new mother herself, never arrives. Berit's control slips.

The party develops in three levels, both visually and textually: the room becomes increasingly narrow, the party table dissolves physically. The fragmented first part fall into place.

Part three

Eight years later and Berit's death sentence is postponed, but this time it's serious. The conflicts that have been planted in the first part grow and heal, fire shots, bloom and burst in a magnificent fresco of modern human relations. The shape of the play now moves from a narrow space – the final confrontation between mother and daughter – into an abstract landscape where the women from the party tell us, and partly each other, what has happened since the last time.

Finally the circle is complete: the room opens as Berit leaves her life and the others wander alone in a park landscape similar to the prologue.

The play stands out with its nine major female roles, in a gallery of a total of thirteen female characters. It challenges dramaturgically through the use of various theatrical conventions and visual changes throughout the course of action.

Mater Nexus is central to recent Norwegian dramatic history and is one of the few stage texts that has achieved international recognition in addition to artistic and academic attention. The stage text is interesting in terms of theater history and dramaturgy, and it can be understood in the context of recent Norwegian drama development and modern European drama. The play contributes to a broad understanding of modern drama and theater development. It can also help to shed light on the dramaturgical actions of psychological-realistic character portrayal and visual/tableautic portrayal in recent drama and theatre.

Wenche Larsen, dr.philos. in literature, on Mater Nexus:
"It was a great theater experience! An exceptionally deep, emotional analysis of complex women's lives linked through the "mater nexus", challenged by human frailties and differences. Strong, interesting roles and dialogues poignantly conveyed by an exceptionally fine group of female actors. Quality on every level with a brave ending with a beautiful, passionate tango. We were a heated group that left the hall lifted. The production should be performed every March 8 as a gift to the women! [...] Hope the play has a long life!”

Hans Rossiné (Dagbladet 8.2.01): "A female Norén"

” [...] both in Norén's universe and in Teigen's world, we encounter a broad canvas of post-Chekhovian people in operation, full of sorrows and longings, in eternal search for the meaning and connection in life that once was, or that they think were there once.”

 

Ida Lou Larsen (Nationen 1.2.01): "Three acts for nine women"

"The relationship between mother and child is one of the most important themes in Mater Nexus, and I experienced Lene Therese Teigen's text as the most profoundly feminist I have seen on stage. Without hesitation, she addresses a number of dilemmas that women face today [...] All the characters are ambiguous and complicated, contradictory and doubtful and Mater Nexus thus becomes one of the most correct and apt things I have seen on stage about what it is like to be a woman in today's society.”

 

Jon Refsdal Moe (Morgenbladet 9.2.2001): «Elegy on the new bourgeoisie»

"Where Chekhov's characters perish in swarming reluctance to face reality, it is an almost pathological willingness to do the same that drives Teigen's women towards tragedy. With Chekhov, Teigen shares a damning hatred of the bourgeoisie; but with a citizenship in step with the times in which it was created."

 

Ingegärd Waaranperä (Dagens Nyheter 7.april 2002)

«The last time there were only women on the Stadsteatern's stage was in 1974. But «Mater Nexus», which is terribly funny with emphasis on both words, shows that the fullness of life can be accommodated in a single-sex ensemble, at least if it consists of women. The first thing that must be said about Lene Therese Teigen's «Mater Nexus» is that it is terribly funny».

TEAM

LENE THERESE TEIGEN
Text, director

ÅSE HEGRENES

Scenography and costume design
MARIANNE THALLAUG WEDSET

Light design
SVERRE INDRIS JONER

Composer
HALLDIS HOAAS

Dramaturg
MARIANNE KROGH
KRISTIN KAJANDER
MARIANNE USTVEDT
ANITRA TERESE ERIKSEN
ULRIKKE GREVE 
HANNE LINDBÆK
INE JANSEN
LIV HELØE
INGER HELDAL

Actors
RAGNHILD MÆRLI

Producer
SIREN LEIRVÅG

Programme editor
MARIT ANNA EVANGER

Photographer
ANNIKEN TANGERUD

Production assistent

MARIA BOCK

Prompter
PELLE GUSTAVSEN

Stage manager/productions manager
TEIGEN/ WEDSET
Director video production

IVAR SMEDSTAD
Video editing

PREMIERE

2001

IN COLLABORATION WITH
Det Åpne Teater, Det Norske Teater, Nationaltheatret

SUPPORTED BY
Norsk Kulturråd, Norsk Kassettavgiftsfond, FFUK, Per Gjersøes Fond
 

TRANSLATIONS
Norwegian, english, finish, swedish, japanese, italian, french, spanish. 

PUBLISHED
2004, Gullbakke Forlag
2021, Transit Forlag

ALSO PRODUCED BY 

Stockholm Stadsteater 2002,
director: Åsa Kalmèr
Folketeatern Göteborg 2003,
director: Marie Feldtmann,
Helsinki Stadsteater 2004,
director: Tytti Oittinen, 

Theatre For you,Tokyo 2008,
director: Lene Therese Teigen,
Compagnia di arti e mestieri, Italia, 2018, staged reading, director: Lene Therese Teigen

Dramatikkens Hus, 2021
Staged reading

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