In the November issue of Viking magazine, we highlight multi-talented writer, director, choreographer and performer Alan Lucien Øyen. The award-winner runs a company called Winter Guests, which works with skilled performers to create theatrical works in English for the international stage. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 8, catch his new play, “Jingle Horse—A Christmas Special” at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, where he’s the Artist in Residence. Read more from the interview below.
Last year, you won the HEDDA Award (Norwegian Theatre Award) for best original play for “Coelacanth.” What did that mean to you?
The award usually goes to institutionalized theaters. It was an honor for us to win since we are independent. We were really proud to be included in that circuit because we produce under pretty different circumstances: less time, less money and so on. Our play was in English and 5.5 hours, so it was really hard to create. It was great to win the award for playwright but also be nominated for directing and for best shows was really cool. It was a big, undertaking; the whole piece was what we call a “meta-piece,” where we made a play about the process of making a play. We fictionalized ourselves and we drew from people that we met.All three acts of the play were like the stages of writing a piece. The first act would be the process of writing, and the second act would be like leading rehearsals and staging. The last act would be the attempt at the finished work. There was a lot of comedy and self-irony. We had original music written for it and a band playing live through the whole thing. It was very exiting!
What does your role as Artist in Residence at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet entail?
That’s something that came about in 2013. I think the new director of the Opera House in Oslo wanted to merge with the director of the Ballet. She wanted me and the other Artist in Residence to have a play sent out to the Opera House to do a certain number of works for the company, and also to present the productions we produce for our own independent company. So you might say that Winter Guests is a company in residence at the Opera House. We present all our shows in Oslo at the stage there at the Opera House, so it’s a really fantastic thing also for us. The Norwegian National Ballet is really becoming more and more visible internationally, so it’s exciting to be a part of that.
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