October 23 –29


This year's theatre event at the Oslo Opera House


Coelacanth [see-lu,kanth] is an extraordinarily spirited performance about love, resurrection and how we learn to fear the dark. Three weeks before the start of rehearsals at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, two scriptwriters are desperately seeking characters for a production based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. They have not yet written one word when they go astray in the underworld in New York’s arts scene and come across Lisa Reynolds, who is carrying an incomplete manuscript written by her now deceased father …

With 12 musicians on stage, newly composed music and a theatre piece in three acts, Alan Lucien Øyen and co-writer Andrew Wale have come up with their biggest project to date for the Winter Guests ensemble.

Coelacanth is grandiose, humoristic and self-referential – an odyssey that spans from Tokyo to Sydney and New York. In Alan Lucien Øyen’s characteristic style he mixes elements from many genres, from pop culture to classical mythology.

The performance lasts 5 hours and 30 minutes and is performed in English. The performance will not be translated. 

There are 2 intervals during the performance, where food can be bought. We recommend the root vegetable soup, which you can bring with you into the auditorium. Food can be ordered through the link below. 

    Roadtrip til dødsriket

    Alan Lucien Øyens lekne teaterforestilling Coelacanth ble en snakkis under Festspillene i Bergen i mai. 23. oktober har den premiere i Operaen.

    Coelacanth er en forestilling om å lage en forestilling. Men den er også en fortelling om den virkelige personen Lisa Reynolds' døde far, og inneholder blant annet en amerikansk roadtrip, vakker kabuki-dans, en gigantfisk og gjentatte nedstigninger til dødsriket.

     - Dette er sjangerlek med mye bevegelse og masse humor, sier Øyen.

    Etter å ha fått bestilling av ballettsjef Ingrid Lorentzen på et moderne skuespill basert på myten om Orfeus og Evrydike, går Alan Lucien Øyen og hans faste medforfatter Andrew Wale på jakt etter karakterer i New York. Her kommer de over Lisa Reynolds' Orfeus-historie fra virkeligheten, som etter hvert fører både forfatterne, deres ensemble og Lisa selv til underverdenen.

    Alt mens persongalleriet vokser: Foruten Orfeus selv teller Coelacanth 57 fiktive, virkelige, mytiske og ikke-levende karakterer – blant andre Psychopomp, Ingrid Lorentzen, Alan Lucien Øyen, heisen til dødsriket og Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    Den tidligere danseren Øyen har skapt 20 danse- og teaterverk og mottatt en rekke priser. I januar 2013 ble han tilknyttet Nasjonalballetten som huskoreograf. Det er Øyens eget kompani winter guests som fremfører Coelacanth. De har siden oppstarten i 2006 turnert i 15 land på tre kontinenter, og mottatt flerårig prosjektstøtte fra Norsk kulturråd.

    - Dette kompaniet føles både livsfarlig og livsbejaende, hver gang. Og med Coelacanth mer enn noen gang, sier Tom Remlov, administrerende direktør i Den Norske Opera & Ballett.

    Coelacanth byr på nyskreven musikk av Jørgen Knudsen, som under ledelse av Bjørnar Habbestad framføres av et 16-mannsorkester over scenen. Forestillingen spilles på Scene 2 samtidig som Orfeus og Evrydike med regi av Jo Strømgren spilles på Hovedscenen.

    Our story/Synopsis

    Our story

    I think I was still only a fifth grader when Ms. Irene Alvheim taught me how to structure a story. You have to shape it like a fish, she said, as she drew the fish on the board. I still remember it.

    I don't know if she was referring to the pre-historic fish coelacanth, a species thought to be extinct since the Cretaceous, but that later was found by Marjorie, a curator at a small museum in South Africa, among the catch of the local fisherman Hendrik Goosen, two eves before Christmas Eve in 1938.

    It's a beautiful story. I like to think that Marjorie and Hendrik were secretly in love, and that the finding of the strange fish was only an excuse for Hendrik to invite Marjorie over for a cup of tea. I don't really know if it's true, but I'd like to keep writing their story, if I may…

    In winter guests we write our stories based on real life, inspiring people and the stories they tell. In the grey area of reality as it really is, and our interpretations of reality (as it really is), new and different stories emerge. This is how Coelacanth was born.

    To me, Coelacanth is the story. It's "the Big Fish". Partly true, partly invented - greater than the sum of its parts, and larger than the reality it describes.  

    Alan Lucien Øyen 



    Act 1 / Misfits and dragons
    After receiving a commission from Ingrid Lorentzen to write a modern play based on Orpheus and Eurydice, Alan is joined by Andrew in New York. In pursuit of characters to use in the play, they quickly become embroiled in the New York art scene where they meet a potential Eurydice in the American Sign Language interpreter Lisa Reynolds. They travel together up to Cape Cod, where they’re spooked by Provincetown out of season.

    Act 2 / Ellipsis
    With an unfinished manuscript, the company starts the reading rehearsals of the Orpheus project Coelacanth. The plot thickens as Lisa’s childhood is explored and intertwined with the emergence of fictional characters directly involved with her father’s death. In a series of scenes taking place between 1978-1999 we are introduced to among other Elliot who falls in love under the cherry blossom, and has a child - Jason - with Kabuki actress Hasaki.

    Act 3 / Psychopomp
    As the curtain rises on the Orpheus project - the overlaying structures start to collapse and the pieces fall into place. With the help of the Psychopomp, the fictional and non-fictional characters are guided across the river of understanding where their destinies are merged with that of their mythical counterparts. The Millennium approaches and the end of the world is threatened.


    Bergensavisen ga forestillingen Coelacanth en 5 etter urpremieren i Bergen 23. mai! Les anmeldelsen her: www.ba.no/puls/article6671997.ece 

    I Bergens Tidende kan du lese intervju med Alan Lucien Øyen, www.fib.no/Global/presseklipp/2013/20130414_BT_alan%20%C3%B8yen.pdf, og om Lisa som ved en tilfeldighet ble hovedperson i teaterforestillingen: www.bt.no/bergenpuls/Familiehemmelighet-ble-festspillteater-2902482.html#.UZ9tTIeSL2E


    Big words | bɪg wəːd |
    A smartphone/tablet app great for quickly grabbing attention, passing messages, and making a statement. Used by CK to communicate with non-deaf people who don’t sign. 

    Coelacanth | ˈsiːləkanθ |
    A large bony marine fish with a three-lobed tail fin and fleshy pectoral fins. Known only from fossils until one was found alive in 1938 – it was a sort of ressurrection. 

    Cauterize | ˈkɔːtərʌɪz |
    To burn the skin or flesh (of a wound) with a heated instrument or caustic substance in order to stop bleeding.

    Deus Ex Machina | deɪʊs ɛks ˈmakɪnə, ˌdiːəs ɛks məˈʃiːnə |
    An unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.

    Ellipsis | ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, [Ancient Greek] |
    A series of dots that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word, sentence or whole section from the original text being quoted, and though necessary for syntactical construction, it is not necessary for comprehension.[1] Ellipses can also be used to indicate an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence.

    Gastroenterolgy | ˌgastrəʊɛntəˈrɒlədʒi |
    The branch of medicine, which deals with disorders of the stomach and intestines.

    Greek theatre | griːk ˈθɪətə | 
    The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between 550 BC and 220 BC. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there.

    The Grey Wig | ðə greɪ wɪg |
    A representation of Andrew Wale’s spiky graveyard blond hair used to define Andrew’s character. Another “Andy” that favored wearing a wig: Andy Warhol.

    Kabuki |kəˈbuːki| 
    A form of traditional Japanese drama with highly stylized song, mime, and dance, now performed only by male actors, using exaggerated gestures and body movements to express emotions, and including historical plays, domestic dramas, and dance pieces.

    Marc Jacobs shop provincetown
    A flagship store open seven days a week all year round in the middle of a Commercial Street, Provincetown. There are strong ties between Marc Jacobs and the LGBT community in Provincetown.

    Meta theatre | ˈmɛtə ˈθɪətə |
    Theatre referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential. Meta theatre reflects comedy and tragedy, at the same time, where the audience can laugh at the protagonist while feeling empathetic simultaneously.The technique reflects the world as an extension of human conscience, not accepting prescribed societal norms, but allowing for more imaginative variation, or a possible social change.

    Misfits and Dragons | ˈmɪsfɪts (ə)n ˈdrag(ə)ns | 
    The unfinished and unread book by Lisa Reynold’s dad. A book project about the corporate world.

    The Orange Sock Hat | ðə ˈɒrɪndʒ sɒk hat | 
    Alan’s Orange beanie is made from 100% acrylic rib-knit, with a Carhartt square logo stitched at the front. The iconic hat became an immediate trend amongst the Williamsburg hipsters when it was launched for the fall/winter season 2012-13.

    Provincetown | ˈprävinsˌtoun |
    Also called P-town. A village in SE Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod, which became a popular gay vacation spot in the 70s. Provincetown has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households of any zip code in the United States. The place is booming with homosexuals from May to December, but remains closed down the rest of the year.

    Psychopomp | ˈsʌɪkə(ʊ)pɒmp |
    The spiritual guide of a living person's soul. In Greek mythology the Psychopomp is a guide of souls to the place of the dead. Origin from Greek psukhopompos, from ‘psukhē’ - ‘soul’ and ‘pompos’ - ‘conductor’.

    Williamsburg | ˈwɪljəmzbəːg | 
    Williamsburg is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Artists moved here in the 1970s, drawn by low rents, large spaces available and convenient transportation. Today Williamsburg is dominated by urban hipsters.

    Wittgenstein | ˈvɪtgənstʌɪn |
    Wittgenstein, Ludwig, (1889–1951), was a British philosopher, born in Austria. His two major works, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and Philosophical Investigations (1953), examine language and its relationship to the world. (Wittgenstein spoke Norwegian).



    List of Characters

    Type of characters
    Non-fictional:  Based on people we actually know
    Semi-fictional: Based on real people we know very little about
    Fictional:  People we made up
    Mythical:  People out of old books.Inanimate: Objects that are given a voice

    Alan Lucien Øyen – The director
    Andrew Wale – The actor with salt and pepper hair
    Kate Pendry – The actress with nut-brown hair
    Huy Le Vo – The actor with lacquer-black hair
    Yvonne Øyen – The actress with Norwegian-blonde hair
    Anton Skrzypiciel – The actor with honey-blonde hair
    Suzie Davies – The actress with flaming-red hair
    Ingrid Lorentzen – The head of the Norwegian National Ballet
    CK Christine Sun Kim – The deaf sound artist
    Lisa Reynolds – The sign language interpreter who carries her dad’s unfinished manuscript in her bag
    Corrine – The surrogate Mom, who Lisa can talk to
    Holly – The Major of Provincetown
    Nancy – The amateur novelist, Holly’s spouse
    Mattias Ekholm – The Swedish fiancé 
    Phil Gambone – The friend in Boston, who lends Andrew and Alan his flat to write in

    Frank Reynolds – The dad who drinks
    Mrs. Reynolds – The mom who waits at home
    Billy – The barman, who’s afraid of women
    Lenny – The independent theatre agent
    Chris – The pedophile
    Old Andrew – The queen from Queens
    Rick –The desk clerk at a boutique guesthouse
    Laverne – The waitress
    Adam – The Marc Jacob’s boutique assistant (1)
    Barry – The Marc Jacob’s boutique assistant (2)
    Geoff – The Marc Jacob’s boutique assistant (3)
    Sweet Sherrie – The Marc Jacob’s boutique manageress
    Ludwig Wittgenstein – The philosopher 

    Jackson Theron – The contemporary video artist who gets a hold of Dr. Jason Ovid’s journal dictation of Lisa’s dad’s death
    Jason Ovid – The gastroenterologist working on Frank Reynolds' stomach
    Elliot Ovid – The cabaret artist, Jason’s dad
    Hasaki Ovid – The Japanese actress, Jason’s mom
    Dr. Isabell Nike – The heart surgeon operating on Frank Reynolds' heart
    Dr. Takaga – The director of psychiatry where Hazaki is admitted
    Bob Pollock – The survivalist who knows he will survive the Y2K
    Rachel – The personal assistant of Jackson Theron
    Norm – The UPS deliveryman who keeps bringing in the boxes
    Donald Turnupseed – The mythmaker in Jackson’s art film
    Michael – The actor and “regular Joe” in Jackson’s art film
    Wayne – The salon host 
    Carl – The art teacher
    Emin – The art critic
    Nika – The Warhol superstar
    Mr Grotowski – The high-school teacher
    Kevin – The class clown
    Janice – The receptionist

    Orpheus – The musician
    Eurydice – The inconstant wife
    Priestess – The officiator
    Calliope  – The muse of poetry
    Terpsichore – The muse of dance
    Melpomene – The muse of tragedy
    Apollo – The son of Zeus
    Naiad – The water nymph  Psychopomp – The guide (1)

    Elevator – The hoist to Hades
    Change Machine – The coin dispenser
    GPS navigator – The guide (2)



    • Scene
      Second House
    • Price
      100 - 350 NOK
    • /
      2 intermissions

    October 2013