Playwrights

Ólafur Egilsson (Iceland) has worked as an actor at the National Theatre, Reykjavik and Akureyri City theatres and with the independent company Vesturport. Among his writing credits are the films White Night Wedding, Summerland, and Surf. For the stage he has written adaptations of Heart of a Dog by M. Bulgakov, Gerpla by H.Laxness and A Glorious Mass Suicide by A. Paasilina. Ólafur has recieved the Icelandic theatre award, the Grima, for his portrayal of Fagin in Oliver Twist and Lvotsik in V. Sigarev's Black Milk. In 2011 he and Audur Jonsdottir recieved the Grima playwright award for Ólaf's adaptation of The People in the Basement.

Jon Fosse (Norway), dramatist, novelist and poet, was born on the west coast of Norway and now resides in Bergen. The author of some thirty books and twenty-six plays that have been translated into more than 40 languages, he is perhaps the most provocative, celebrated and produced contemporary playwright in Europe right now. Since 1993, Fosse has focused primarily on playwriting. His plays have been produced on major stages across Europe, as well as around the world. His works are characterized by poetic minimalism and musicality of language and thus have been compared to Samuel Beckett and Thomas Bernhard.

Sofia Fredén (Sweden) hails from Göteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. She studied writing for film and theatre at Dramatiska Institutet and since graduation has written prolifically for the theatre as well as for film and radio. Her plays have been produced in most of the city and regional theatres in Sweden, as well as at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. In 2005 Sofia received the critics prize for Children and Youth Theatre, for three plays that played simultaneously at three different theatres: Only a Child, Rotten: The Life of a Princess, and The Sun Monkey. Sofia is playwright in residence at Stockholm's Stadsteatern and currently lives in Stockholm.

Bjarni Jónsson (Iceland) was born in 1966 in Akranes, on the west coast of Iceland. After working as a seaman, a construction worker and a journalist he moved to Munich where he finished a master degree in theatre studies in 1992. He has frequently worked as a dramaturge and a director of radio drama, and has translated numerous plays and novels by authors such as Harold Pinter, Mark Ravenhill, Neil LaBute, David Gieselmann, Marius von Mayenburg, Thomas Bernhard, Roddy Doyle, Henrik Ibsen, George Tabori, Tennessee Williams, Günter Grass and Hertha Mueller. Bjarni Jónsson is co-founder and associate artistic director of the LÓKAL Theatre Festival Reykjavík, an annual event that brings new theatre to the Icelandic audience and connects Icelandic theatremakers with the international scene.

Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), is an award-winning author of Tunisian-Swedish descent. He made a celebrated debut in 2003 with his novel, One Eye Red. Khemiri's second novel, Montecore, was published to unanimous rave reviews in 2006.

Leea Klemola (Finland) is an award-winning actress, having won Finland's highest acting honor, the Jussi Award, for her leading role in the Finnish movie Neitoperho (1997). Klemola studied at the Theatre Academy, 1987-1991, and was the Artistic Director for the Sun Theatre from 1994 to 2003. In 2005 she was recognized by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, which awarded her an Olavi Veistäjä Grant for her significant contributions to Finnish theatre as a director and playwright.

Okko Leo (Finland) is a Helsinki-based playwright and dramaturg who graduated from the Finnish Theatre Academy in 2011. He has written for both stage and radio, and his plays have been performed in many of Finland’s best-known professional theatres including the Finnish National Theatre and KOM Theatre in Helsinki, as well as in theatres abroad. Leo's plays often explore themes of communication, language, identity and social structures. Productions include Pitch, Blue-coloured, Divina Comédia, What Are Big Boys Made Of?, National Hero, Orchestra - The Everlast, Guests - Family Saga, and The World Trusts Us.

Arne Lygre (Norway) made his debut in 1998 with the play Mother and Me and Men. Since then he has written six other plays, which has been staged and published in countries around the world. Man Without Purpose was directed by Claude Régy at Odeon Théâtre in Paris in 2007/08. I Disappear premiered at La Colline Théâtre National in November 2011, directed by Stéphane Braunschweig. For his short stories collection, In Time, he received the prestigious Norwegian literary award Brageprisen in 2004. He has also written two novels, A Last Face and My Dead Man, which both was very well received by the critics. He was awarded the literary award Mads Wiels Nygaards’ Legacy in 2010.

Andri Snær Magnason (Iceland) has written novels, poetry, plays, short stories, essays and CDs. He is the co-director of the documentary film Dreamland. His work has been published or performed in more than 30 countries. His novel, LoveStar was nominated for the Philip K Dick Award 2013, was chosen “Novel of the Year” by Icelandic booksellers, and received the DV Literary Award. The Story of the Blue Planet was the first children’s book to receive the Icelandic Literary Prize. It has been published or performed in 26 countries and received the Janusz Korczak Honorary Award 2000, the West Nordic Children’s Book Prize 2002, and The Green Earth Honor Award 2013. The play based on the story has been performed in Finland, Switzerland, Iceland, Poland, Canada and Iran. Magnason has collaborated with various artists, mostly with a band called múm. He has been active in the fight against the destruction of the Icelandic Highlands.

Astrid Saalbach (Denmark) was trained as an actress at the Danish National School of Theatre from 1975 to 1978.  Saalbach has received several awards including the Danish dramatist’s honor award and the lifelong grant of the Danish art fund.

Lucas Svensson (Sweden) was born 1973.  He was educated at the Dramatic institute for performing arts in Stockholm and worked as dramaturg at Unga Klara between 2002 and 2003. He served as writer in residence at Dramaten (The Royal Dramatic theatre in Stockholm) between 2003 and 2010 under artistic director Staffan Valdemar Holm. He has served as the Dramaturg at The City Theatre of Gothenburg since 2010. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has written around 40 plays.  Prizes: Expressens Heffaklumpen 2006, The Henrik Ibsen award 2009.

 

translators/TRanslations

One of our goals is to present new translations of contemporary Nordic dramatic literature. We work with playwrights to commission or create new translations and (sometimes) adapt work for North American audiences.

Reality (Verkeleg) 
By Gyrid Axe Øvsteng
Translated by Sarah Cameron Sunde
2010

Reality examines the blurred line between playing a role and being played by the role.  Most of Ms. Øvsteng’s work is politically and/or philosophically oriented. She explores the music and rhythm in language, and what is said in silence. Gyrid Axe Øvsteng was nominated for the Ibsen Prize in 2008 for Verkeleg.  Her work is accessible to adults, youth, and children.

Translated with a generous grant from the Norway’s Dramatikersforbundet.

 

MISHAP! (ÓHAPP!)
By Bjarni Jónsson
American Translation by Hilmar Ramos
2010

MISHAP! is a powerful reflection of our times, where we look in on a young couple who are renovating a beautiful apartment while simultaneously struggling with difficulties.  The media people reveal a new and unexpected side to themselves, the master chef conjures up a delicious meal from familiar ingredients, and the psychologist dazzles.  In other words—excellent television fodder. Or—is this theatre? True, or false?  And who is accountable?

Translated with a generous grant from the Icelandic Literature Fund.

 

The Frozen on the Square (1982)
By Lucas Svensson
Translated by Chad Eric Bergman
2011

De Frusna På Torget (1982) examines the lives of four "extras" in Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece "Fanny and Alexander" where they grapple with what it means to exist in the imaginary world of the film, as well as the mundane world of the everyday.

 

Kokkola
By Leea Klemola
A new American Translation by Nina Sallinen
2012

Klemola calls her play Kokkola (the name of a town in Finland) an “arctic tragedy.” This absurd but also moving story, populated by colorful characters, has been both a critical and popular success.

Translated with a generous grant from the Finlandia Foundation.

 

A Summer's Day (Ein sommars dag), Autumn Dream (Draum om hausten), and Winter (Vinter)
By Jon Fosse
Translated by Kyle Korynta
2013

Jon Fosse is Europe’s most-produced living playwright, although he has been rarely produced in the United States. Widely considered in Europe as one of the greatest contemporary playwrights, and “Norway’s leading export,” he has been ranked 83rd on a list of the Top 100 Living Geniuses by The Daily Telegraph. Among numerous other awards, Fosse was awarded the 2010 International Ibsen Award. Akvavit Theatre produced all three of these plays at Chicago’s DCASE Storefront Theater in March of 2013. All were Chicago/Midwest premieres and all were in world-premiere translations by Kyle Korynta (commissioned by Akvavit).

 

We Are the Voice of Our People (Folkedypet)
By Marius Leknes Snekkevåg
Translated by Kyle Korynta
2013

In our age of digital media, this play explores new aspects of social conflict. Based on contributions collected from the commentary fields of Norwegian internet newspapers and sewn together with the playwright’s own words, Marius Leknes Snekkevåg’s play We Are the Voice of Our People juxtaposes the conversations and interactions between the characters in the “in-between-world” of internet debates with those of the main character’s real human interactions.

Translated from the Norwegian by Kyle Korynta with a generous grant from NORLA and Norske Dramatikeres Forbund/Writers’ Guild of Norway.

Hand in Hand
By Sofia Fredén
Translated by Chad Eric Bergman
2016

In this madcap dark comedy from Sweden, six accidental roommates struggle to find money, love and - hardest of all - their own apartment in Stockholm. Each works hard to manipulate the system in their own ways, but all of them are willing to go to extreme lengths to find a place (or person) to call home. They look for shelter in the wilderness, the bedroom, and, - in their most desperate moments - the government. As the characters lives spiral hilariously and disastrously out of control, they discover just how painstakingly high the cost of living really can be.
 

Ghosts & Zombies
Translated by Chad Eric Bergman