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The most ingenious thing I’ve heard all day

So, the ominous Black Report is due out next Monday, barring yet another delay [it would be the fourth].

In light of this, the Reykjavík City Theatre announced today that it will be “staging” the Black Report – i.e. its actors will be reading it out loud onstage, from beginning to end, all 2000-odd pages of it.

[The Reykjavík City Theatre is one of three professional theatres* in this country and just KICKS ASS in comparison with the others. And I say that with the greatest respect for the National Theatre, which I love deeply for various reasons. But I digress.]

The reading will be uninterrupted, meaning it will be ongoing during the night, as well. The total undertaking is expected to take around 4-5 days and will be open to the public around the clock. It will also be broadcast live online.

I just LOVE this, because this is what theatre should be – in touch with the people, in touch with the community. And after all, the economic collapse is the most dramatic thing to hit Iceland in decades. It just makes perfect sense!

* By which I mean they receive the majority of their funding from the state or local authorities. There are also numerous other theatre companies staffed with professionals who are doing cool things.

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  • andy April 7, 2010, 3:46 pm

    Could they have the main protagonists represented? Only apparantly needs 12 people.

    When are the 30 men / 3 women coming out and does the Kroll Glitnir report have further non Black report individuals to show?

  • Lissa April 7, 2010, 4:02 pm

    I wonder if there is time to figure out how to do this Rocky Horror Picture Show style. Something like handing out kazoos, and having everyone kazoo a few phrases of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” when David Oddson is mentioned.

  • Michael Lewis April 7, 2010, 6:08 pm


    The reading will be uninterrupted, meaning it will be ongoing during the night, as well. The total undertaking is expected to take around 4-5 days and will be open to the public around the clock. It will also be broadcast live online.

    This is the sort of thing that would get a write up in ‘The Independent’ newspaper here in the UK. Pseudo-intellectual, self indulgence, some may say, others of course will beg to differ. Personally, I’d give it a miss, I think I could live without seeing an extract of this, maybe if I were in Iceland, I’d pound nails into my hands instead or take the wife shoping.

  • Snorri April 7, 2010, 7:03 pm

    I wish they’d broadcast it on the radio so I could follow it while at work.

  • North Horsies April 7, 2010, 9:51 pm

    Giviong a Kazzooo for Doddson is ideal, kind of like what we’d call giving a raspberry in the US. (as opposed to a blackberry, which happens rarely!)
    An ideal back drop behidn the actors would be a projection fo the new volcano at night — red flares shooting high intothe black night sky, draining away into the lavafall. Nothing like a bit of natures drama to highlight the folly of man (or is it30 men and 3 women?) And maybe get a few of those photos with the northern lights just to signify that there is indeed hope for we fools.

  • Andrew April 8, 2010, 4:56 am

    Will you attend any of it and perhaps give us a write-up?

    I’m also interested to know about the extent of emigration from Iceland. Any comments on this story?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/7562766/Icelanders-opt-for-exile.html

    Icelanders opt for exile
    Anna Margret Bjoernsdottir never thought she would be forced to leave her once wealthy homeland. But taking out a loan in a foreign currency was a disastrous decision.

  • idunn April 8, 2010, 7:34 am

    Indeed a lovely idea. Will they be filming the entire performance for archival reasons, the bits of true interest that might be replayed again and again?

  • hildigunnur April 8, 2010, 9:46 am

    Borgarleikhúsið rocks! I’ll definitely drop by.

  • alda April 8, 2010, 10:42 am

    Andrew – I’m definitely going to drop by and/or watch it online. I’ll also provide a link.

    I don’t know if this is the sort of thing where you want to sit for a long time, but definitely something to drop by and listen for a while. I just think the whole undertaking is great. I expect it will be read in a very neutral, understated tone, which will sharply contrast with the content of the report.

    As for the exodus – I haven’t got time to read the article now, but the short answer is that, yes, many people are or have moved away. Iceland’s population declined last year for the first time since the 1800s, by about 2% or something.

  • Andrew (the other one) April 8, 2010, 4:22 pm

    When can we expect “Black Report: the Musical”?

    Has somebody already mentioned it to Andrew Lloyd-Webber?

  • JimJones April 8, 2010, 4:37 pm

    Is the reading going to start soon after the report is released? I’m a theatre nerd and would love to see this for awhile.

  • alda April 8, 2010, 5:11 pm

    Yes, it’s going to start immediately. Presumably on Monday morning, since that’s when the report will become available online and in bookstores.

  • idunn April 8, 2010, 6:33 pm

    “In 2009 more than 10,600 people left the country of fewer than 320,000 inhabitants, according to official statistics, with 4,835 more people moving away than immigrating.”
    – ‘Telegraph.co.uk’

    10,600 is a significant number of people in a society of Iceland’s size. Interesting to note, though, that the higher number, at 5,765, were immigrants. One wonders what their vision is, and in which ways intending to make a living.

    A sobering story.

  • tk April 8, 2010, 6:57 pm

    This is interesting. A few years ago I asked someone from the Reykjavík theater scene if the Icelandic stage was used to make any kind of political commentary. He gave me a kind of puzzled look and said, “No, of course not. The stage is not the place for politics. It’s purely artistic.” Since the kreppa hit the fan I’ve been wondering if that had changed. Guess it has…

  • JimJones April 8, 2010, 7:08 pm
  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson April 8, 2010, 7:39 pm

    Alda, the population decline last year was 0,5% thanks to the high birth rate but this is still a sobering story.
    If we look at the last decade we see that from 2000 until 2008 we had 42 446 foreign citizens moving in and 17 754 moving out in the same period while 24 727 Icelandic citizens moved in with 27 964 moving out so a net emigration of Icelandic citizens is nothing new (during 2006 (to name one example) there were 3042 Icelandic citizens emigrating and 2762 immigrating) so it is not clear if this number emigrating is “kreppa” related.
    The large immigration of foreign citizens mentioned above was caused to an extent by the large number of job opportunities in the building and construction sectors (there were agencies abroad recruiting people), the very fields that were among the hardest hit during the “kreppa”. Many of the foreign citizens have lost their jobs, they have seen their incomes shrink drastically and the price of everything go up.
    I am most surprised that they have actually stayed this long and from the above numbers it seems that most of those recently arrived are still here.

  • Joerg April 8, 2010, 8:47 pm

    “Iceland’s population declined last year for the first time since the 1800s, by about 2% or something.

    According to Statistics Iceland on http://www.statice.is, which I love for their inexhaustible amount of numbers, the net migration has been negative sporadically over the past 50 years (e.g. in 1970, 1976, 1989, 1995 and others). The number has never been larger in absolut terms (-4,835 in 2009) but 2005 – 2007 had been years with exceptional large positive net migration. Apparently the higher birthrates could compensate the occasional negative net migration numbers in the last century. And so, the last years with a decline in population before 2009 were in 1887/1888. But if I’m not mistaken, the decline was only -0.54% in 2009, whereas in 1887 it was about -2.38%.