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SQUARE

... about being allowed to go to the bookshop and pick out a green pen. About finding out what really happened and why so many people don't want to talk about it anymore. About having an idea of ​​what is the real reality.

 

In "Square" there are many oppressed people who don’t have the abilyt to articulate themselves. And some who dominate. Who has the monopoly on truth and which version of reality one lives by, becomes a question of how to keep each other in check. "Square" is in many ways a mystery, a puzzle where you have to shape the pieces yourself. 

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READING – 15 YEARS AFTER THE PREMIERE 27th February 2009

In February 2024 SQUARE will be presented as a staged reading at “BarnSalon”, a new concept at the Culture Farm Åsheim in Spydeberg, Norway, with performers Tiril Pharo, Kari Ramnefjell, Marianne Ustvedt and Marit Østbye, as well as composer Tov Ramstad.

SQUARE was first performed in Norwegian at The Literature House in Oslo, Norway, directed by Teigen herself. 


 

EXCERPT

EVA     Now we have to show the house, Sara, we're about to the sell it, right?

LEA      The kitchen needs to be redecorated, that's for sure. It looks awful, we know,

                but none of us like cooking. There is someting about the smells

EVA      Don't talk about it

LEA      It's just like – like –

MIRA   The house just doesn't smell very well. But it will change

                We thought of suggesting ammonia.

LEA      Under the furniture, on small plates

SARA   You're my mother

EVA       Stop it. Watch out for the dress. You're dirty, Sara, where did you go?

MIRA    Ammonia works.

EVA       There has to be a real clean-up, don't you see?

LEA        We don't like to clean, there's something about … something about –

EVA        He had his chair by the window with the view of the garden. He used to sit           there and watch the trees, I think. I imagined that, anyway, he listened to the radio the whole day, anything that was on. Shouted some times.

LEA         … and we came

           

They all keep their breath.

 

THE CHARACTERS  S – M – L – E

SQUARE consist of four equal parts with the titles: Airport, Prison, For Sale and Film. The text is written for four female performers, preferably tall, and a small performance space.

There is approximately ten years age difference between the four characters: S is 25, M is 35, L is 45 and E is 55 years old. In Airport we find Simone, Mem, Linda and Eleonora. Sally, Molly, Lily and Elly are in Prison. In For Sale we see Sara, Mira, Lea and Eva, and in Film we meet Spot, Ma, Lucy and Endo.

  • Linda has had a cleaning job at the airport all her life. Simone is going to change her  gender. Mem carries her mother's beauty boxes without pay. Eleonora is going to a cosmetics congress in the USA.

  • The sisters Elly, Molly, Lily and Sally are in prison for murder. Sally is pregnant by a prison guard. They have the same father, but who is the mother of whom?

  • The sisters Mira, Eva, Lea and Sara are finally moving and they are selling the house where they have lived, even though it smells awfully bad there. Sara thinks she is Eva's daughter, and Mira wants a diary.

  • Ma and Lucy are lovers and make a film. Spot and Endo will play sisters in the film, which is based on a true story.

Simone has given Ma the story of her grandmother who became pregnant in prison. But what is true?

​​

A LONG FINGER WITH A DIRTY NAIL

SQUARE was the subject of a paper at a research seminar on texts written for the stage and the landscapes around those texts at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in May 2022, by associate professor Silje Harr Svare: Cut surfaces and "a long finger with a dirty nail". The body in the language in Lene Therese Teigen's text Square.

 

SQUARE IN MONTEVIDEO

SQUARE was produced in Spanish in Montevideo, Urugay in 2015 – a production by Teatro La Escena, translated and directed by Cecilia Caballero Jeske.

 

Excerpt from theatre critic Maria Rosa Carbajal:

“The women create their own microcosm to to endure a life of extreme hardship, where there is a delicate balance between sanity and madness, between reality and fiction. The author has a very good grasp of the four characters; four figures who sometimes move away and sometimes approach the real landscape in which they are. (...) Cecilia Caballero directs this complex, hard story with great precision, balancing the different states that the author proposes (...) A performance not to be missed. A topic that matters. Recommended.”

 

PUBLISHED

SQUARE was first published in 2008 in Norwegian at Transit/SolumBokvennen.

In 2013 the third part, For Sale was published in English in Scenes from a Diverse World, a compilation of shorter plays published by ICWP/USA. It was republished in 2022, divided into five thematic volumes; For Sale was part of the Family-volume.

 

SQUARE AS STUDENT PRODUCTIONS

SQUARE was also produced at the University Theatre at NTNU Trondheim, Norway in 2011 and 2014. Teater Neuf, Oslo, did a production in May 2014. 


 

BACKGROUND

SQUARE was originally written in English and first presented as a staged reading in Winnipeg, Canada in 2004 after a three-week workshop led by director Chris Gerrard-Pinker.

It was a long way to finished production for SQUARE. When Teigen returned home from project development in Canada in 2004, she believed that the plans for production would be ready within a few months. There she had met and worked with Canadian, Swedish and Danish theater people who had shown great interest in and faith in the project. Back in Norway there were confusingly contradictory reactions to SQUARE. At the big theaters in Oslo, the text was rejected, while others, and also the Swedish director Suzanne Osten liked it. Osten writes: "Square is worth waiting for! Elegant, intelligent, musical and advanced.”

 

CHRIS GERRARD-PINKER ABOUT SQUARE, WRITTEN FOR THE PREMIERE IN 2009

I first encountered Square just over 4 years ago. I was hired to “take on” Lene Therese Teigen’s new play in development as part of the Playwright’s Colony by Manitoba Association of Playwrights. When Rory Runnells (MAP’s artistic director) handed me the script he quipped – “It’s very European – You’ll like it.” Okay.
I’ve been making performing arts in one way or another all my life and have – for the past 20 years or more – been looking in earnest for something other than what is. I’m not saying “original”, but rather a different way or perspective on what, who, how and why we are.

New dramaturgy sees the light of day – from the darkness of a theatre – rarely. Square, in a nutshell, is, well – non-triangular. Something lost, forgotten and found – a special burning gem amongst the rough.
And then we (the playwright, 4 performers and I) had the opportunity to play with a play that invites theatrical play. It was a glorious and sometimes cruel circus ride of possibilities. Lene’s ear, eye and heart for language cum character are at once receptive, imaginative and artful. Square lends itself to theatrical embodiment. Indeed, it is the people who make the play. But. Who are these Women? Intersecting concerns, clusters of emotions – cliffs – vistas of despair, wonder and hope. At times seemingly non-sequential – and yet, they/it (their play) connects, and/or disconnects and spreads. Organic and poetic patterns emerge – sometimes blossoming – all-ways active, and, surprisingly, making sense - - The mysterious – pedestrian/universal – human condition. Whether we like it or not –
Us –
With a twist in 4/4 time.


THANK YOU TO:
Chris Gerrard-Pinker, Ulla Ryum, Jannicke Brandt, Mairi Babb, Sarah Constible, Miriam Smith, Ardith Boxall, Suzanne Osten.

TEAM

LENE THERESE TEIGEN
Text,  director
TIRIL PHARO
KARL RAMNEFJELL
MARIANNE USTVEDT
KARI ONSTAD WINGE

Performers

MARIANNE THALLAUG WEDSET
LIght designer
TOV RAMSTAD
Sound designer, music
HALLDIS HOAAS
Dramaturge
BIRGIT HOVE
Graphic design and painting

MARTE MOEN DANIELSEN

Producer scenography

ADA HESJEVOLL
Costumes, video documentation

ULF BREISTRAND
Photographer
LISE HAGEN 
Painter
BIRGIT ESSLING
Production team

SUPPORTED BY

Arts Council Norway and FFUK among others

 

PREMIERE

February 27, 2009

 

OTHER SHOWS
Montevideo, Uruguay, 2015

At La Escena

Cecilia Caballero Jeske, director

Programme and photos of the performance in Uruguay

TRANSLATION

English, Spanish
 

PUBLICATIONS

SQARE, Transit Forlag 2008
 

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