Issued Tuesday, 29 August 2006
‘The Hospital is physical theatre at its very best: daring, dark, unpredictable and charged with compressed intensity. The skill and courage of the performers is breathtaking.’ The Guardian (UK)
‘….it's an enjoyably unwholesome pleasure.’
Following the success of its 2006 Sydney Festival appearance, the Jo Strømgren Kompani, from Norway,returns to Sydney Opera House with The Hospital, an absurd and comic physical theatre production playing from 24 October to 12 November.
A loopy, sexy, highly entertaining work, The Hospital stars actors Guri Glans, Gunhild Aubert Opdal and Ingrie Enger Damon as three rather lascivious nurses going spectacularly off the rails.
For the Sydney Festival, Strømgren revealed his fascination with institutionalised men and breakdowns in communication in The Department. This time around, the setting has changed and now it is the women’s turn.
Stationed in a shabby provincial clinic where, presumably, the nurses once worked in antiseptic cleanliness, everything is now disintegrating. Suffering from a serious lack of patients – in fact there are none - these three ‘Nurse Ratchetts’ decide to fill in time between admissions by practicing what they have been instinctively trained to do – relieve pain. Partaking of the well stocked medicine cabinet their rituals and behaviour spiral wildly out of control, beginning a bleakly humorous cycle of pain infliction and pain relief.
With skirts and underwear flying, the slapstick choreography is performed with gusto, the three characters vigorously hinting at inner lives both bound up in and divorced from the ridiculous drudgery of their existence.
Combined with barren lighting and nonsense language – a Strømgren trademark – The Hospital generates a mood of edgy, noir-ish madness that’s decidedly seductive.
Jo Strømgren Kompani was founded in 1998 in Bergen, Norway and is one of Scandinavia’s most successful independent arts companies. Strømgren’s inspiration as an artist does not come from theatre or dance tradition but from other artistic fields, including film and animation. He aims to explore performance forms with actors whom he gets moving with the compact, synchronised skill of dancers yet retaining the ordinariness of the person in the street.
Renowned internationally for its distinct absurdist humour and its treatment of existential topics from a personal viewpoint, The Hospital is Jo Strømgren Kompani’s truly wicked but brilliant vision of hell at work.
Don’t miss this extremely funny and truly original piece of theatre.
Program Details: The Hospital
Venue: The Playhouse
Dates: Preview Tues 24 October
Season 25 Oct – 12 Nov, 2006
Times: Tues 6.30pm, Wed – Sat 8pm, Sun 5pm
Artists Talk: Sun 29 October (post show)
Tickets: Preview $35