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THE VIEW FROM THE GROUND

A monologue about the war correspondent Martha Gellhorn and what journalism is and can be. A notion of using one's own voice in public. 

 

 

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Martha Gellhorn was considered one of the world's best war correspondents, and covered every major war in the world, from the Spanish Civil War in 1937 to the Panama War in 1990. She was convinced that a journalist's task was to penetrate the official facade.

 

She was furious with anyone who claimed that journalists could be objective and believed that the fundamental thing is to always challenge any authority.

Martha Gellhorn:
(Extract from the introduction in the anthology "The Face of War", 1959)

When I was young I believed in the perfectibility of men, and in progress, and thought of journalism as a guiding light. If people were told the truth, if dishonor and injustice were clearly shown to them, they would at once demand the saving action, punishment of wrong-doers, and care for the innocent. How people were to accomplish these reforms, I did not know. That was their job. A journalist’s job was to bring news, to be eyes for their conscience. I think I must have imagined public opinion as a solid force, something like a tornado, always ready to blow on the side of the angels. 

During the years of my energetic hope, I blamed the leaders when history regularly went wrong, when cruelty and violence were tolerated or abetted, and the innocent never got anything except the dirty end of the stick. The leaders were a vague interlocking directorate of politicians, industrialists, newspaper owners, financiers: nseen, cold, ambitious men. “People” were good, by definition; if they failed to behave well, that was because of ignorance or helplessness. 

It took nine years, and a great depression, and two wars ending in defeat, and one surrender without war, to break my faith in the benign power of the press. Gradually I came to realize that people will more readily shallow lies than truth, as if the taste of lies was homey, appetizing: a habit. (There were also liars in my trade, and leaders have always used fats as relative and malleable. The supply of lies was unlimited.) Good people, those who opposed evil wherever they saw it, never increased beyond a gallant minority. The manipulated millions could be aroused or soothed by any lies. The guiding light of journalism was no stronger than a glow-worm.

TEAM

HAALAND OG TEIGEN

Text
LENE THERESE TEIGEN
Director, dramaturg
AGNETE HAALAND

Actor
MARIANNE THALLAUG WEDSET
MERETE BOSTRØM

Scenography
MERETE BOSTRØM
Costumes, props

MARIANNE TALLAUG WEDSET
Light design
KJETIL KVAMME
Sound design
RAGNAR BJERKREIM
Music

SIRI HAGA
Technician

 

PREMIERE

20 February 2010

Bærum kulturhus

SUPPORTED BY
Norsk Kulturråd, FFUK, Fritt Ord, Scheiblers legat and Norsk Skuespillerforbund

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