Saturday, February 21, 2009

It has become clear that the title of this blog is not really fair or accurate.  Yes, in the depth of winter, there are at best 4 house of daylight, but each day rushes to the endless days of mid summer by adding  7 minutes of sun light.  As a I set out to write at 630 PM.  But it is a nice hook.  and the undeniable  brevity of those first days, the pitch dark mornings  and lingering jet lag - ok it doesn't hurt that I talk to Darla on Skype when I return from school and her day is starting.  Time is out of joint   - but not as Hamlet whines, oh cursed spite....  but because it is maybe the nature of time.  

This has been a social week.  Three nights of dinner out, including with Karl August Olfssonn who was a grad playwriting student at OU 92-95 I believe.  Had dinner at his house.  It was nice to see his wife Austis, his daughter who was born in Athens, OH, and his youngest who is I think 6.  His eldest is 25 or so. .. Karl is one of the most famous people in Iceland.  He has been the head writer and one of the stars of their weekly comedy series for more than 20 years. The show is political, topical, satirical - and according to Karl, in these times where their government has fallen, their economy is bankrupt, and people are taking to the streets literally daily, they are being kept on their toes.  It would kind of be as if the Tracy Ullman show were on for 22 years, mixed with a bit of Saturday Night Live.  

This last week I began  the second of my classes allowing me to encounter the Theory and Practice program from the start and the finish.  The 3rd year students have each returned from a semester abroad - Amsterdam,  Glasgow, Brno.  Now I am teaching them their final directing class.  A series of composition so-called 'devising' projects.  Leave it to the Brits to devise a term for the kind of work I have been doing all my career - and many others.  Decroux devised every piece he ever made. I despise the term devise.  To me it feels precious and pretentious.   I understand it. I wish I had a better term to suggest.  I still feel it is a term that comes form a contrast to obedience to playwriting as THE source of theater.   That's another conversation altogether.  In any case, the students in the program are from diverse backgrounds -  theater, visual art, design.  One of the first  year students earns his living as an Icelandic commentator for Ultimate fighting on TV.  

Newsy stuff for me.  Darla will arrivein one week and stay for 9 days.  Excursions are being planned and the blog  - which could hardly be more infrequent, may paise.  I am also invited to Oslo and Fulbright is helping here.  I'll be visiting Bredan McCall who is rector at TITAN, An independent Theater School in Oslo.  Looking forward to that.  Lucky to have met him through Peter Schmitz.

OK, now I'll just post some photos I have been intending to
South Western Coast
Near Selfoss

Icelandic Horses at Gunar and Kristbjorg Arnarson's breeding farm

The Iceland Arts Academy Theater and Music Departments building

Friday, February 13, 2009

The site of the epicenter of the May 2008 earthquake near the city of Selfoss, approximately 30 miles south of Reykjavik. .  

It seems clear that this blog is not going to function as a journal.  Perhaps as a response to the weather, distance, isolation - frankly the comfort of this apartment, and most likely and to the point, a real need (whether I want or not) to spend some time alone, I don't find I have much to say at the moment.  I did refer to open doors/gates and have shared some photos, and will share more.   

With virtually free heat (geothermal) , shop doors are left at least slight but perceptibly open - when shops are open. There is little plowing or shoveling of snow that becomes ice and is slowly melting in specific places - though cold patches seem to persist -  due in part to rain that is now falling, in part to general warming, and because there seem to be hot spots, even on the streets and sidewalks.  Included below (or above, as I have yet to master this layout part of this blog) are some photos of other kind of hot spot.  On a trip organized by the newly formed Icelandic Fulbright alumni association,  the epicenter of last May's earthquake has brought up new hot springs, boiling water / mud within the icy hilltop. 

The other dominant aspect is the collapse of the government, the world's first (out) lesbian prime minister, and the shift of mass action and protests to force the resignation of the head of the national bank, the main culprit of Credit- Default Swaps, and personification of the economic catastrophe that is the Icelandic economy.    He is [apparently] something of a rock-star level 
dynamo, former prime minister.  

10000kr  the real 10,000 Kroner note is worth about $85.  A year a
go it was probably worth about $160 or maybe more. This posting has taken an interesting turn.  I have attended some of the protest including Monday of this week.  They are loud, drums, pots and pans, all at this point with the intent of keeping David Oddsson from going to his office at the central bank (which happens to be down the street from the Theater Department, close enough to where I live that I can hear the protests, including fire works that on the even of Obama's inauguration I mistook for sharing our
 celebration.  Humility lesson for me here.  The blurry guy at the left of this photo is someone one of my students called Siggy Punk (sp?), a  well know musician, author and political activist.  

Here's a photo of the front of the Academy.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I've been kind of lazy and out of it.  Also keep forgetting my camera.  Tomorrow is a day trip to the south coast arranged by the Fulbright office.  Camera battery is charging.  I'll be including some everyday observations on snow, streets, her and who knows.  Here's something to see.  Looks like I may have a kind of series of open gates and doors.