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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#WSxBAM: Bridge Over Mud

The writer-operated, Bushwick-based library Wendy’s Subway comes to BAM this fall for Next Wave Art, offering audiences the chance to read, write, and engage with selections from its extensive collection of historical and contemporary print publications. The Wendy's Subway Reading Room will include works on theater, dance, performance theory, and contemporary poetics and showcase titles curated by Next Wave artists performing in the BAM Fisher building, rotated monthly.

Below, peruse an annotated reading list from Verdensteatret—the creators of Bridge Over Mud, a new work of object theater coming to the BAM Fisher Sep 7—10. Then, visit the Wendy's Subway Reading Room and dive into any of the titles on their "Selected Reading" list.

Verdensteatret’s use of text has a long evolution. From periods of using classical Greek dramas hand in hand with modern experimental stage texts—where the semantics and psychological content in the text was in focus—there has been a transformation into the musicality and the sound quality of language itself. We are interested in exploring the auditory dimension by crossing the border between meaningful language and pure sound.

The composed text is rather montage-based and appears on stage in a non-linear, spoken narrative.

Our approach to texts is to consider them as landscapes where words and semantic meaning represent just one aspect among many. It also gives us images and sounds; it becomes a compass for directing our interest and attention. Unexpected connections bridge the gaps between text and other medias.

We listen to the information that lies in the expression, which emerges when semantic meaning in language collapses into abstract sounds. When the rhythmical and tonal sound structure grows increasingly stronger in emotional quality, as the verbal message disappears and the voice blends in with the space.

Our interest in poetry has been an important source of inspiration. It is often a gravitational point in the working process, a trigger for both audio and visual ideas and motives. A text might be brought into the process at an early stage to produce undercurrents that surface in the work much later.

It might not be spoken on stage at all—but it is just as important for the work itself. The architecture and structure of a text is constantly challenging the rest of the material and give us new perspectives on what is happening in the process.

Over the last years we have often used texts lying somewhere in-between poetry and prose. Relatively short texts, open to several possible interpretations. A text we do not have to read from the start, a text with several entrances and exits. Examples of these kind of texts can be found in the prose/poetic texts of the German writer, Heiner Muller: a long-lasting source of inspiration for us.

SELECTED READING (available on-site)
  • Alphabet by Inger Christensen, trans. Susanna Nied (New Directions, 2001)
  • A Heiner Müller Reader: Plays / Poetry / Prose, ed. and trans. Carl Weber (PAJ Books, 2001)
  • The Fox Was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller, trans. Philip Boehm (Metropolitan, 2016)
  • The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, trans. Philip Boehm (Picador, 2013)
  • The Flanders Road by Claude Simon, trans. Richard Howard (Riverrun, 1985)
  • The Blue Fox by Sjón, trans. Victoria Cribb (FSG, 2013)
  • “C-major” in The Half-Finished Heaven by Tomas Tranströmer, trans. Robert Bly (Graywolf, 2001)
  • The Boat in the Evening by Tarjei Vesaas, trans. Elizabeth Rokkan (Peter Owen, 2003)
  • Through the Naked Branches by Tarjei Vesaas, trans. Roger Greenwald (Princeton UP, 2000)
  • Brannen by Tarjei Vesaas (Gyldendal Norsk, 1961)


by Inger Christensen
  • Hemmelighedstilstanden (Glydendal, 2000)

by Tomas Tranströmer
  • “Schubertiana” in The Truth Barrier, trans. Robin Fulton (Oasis, 1984)
  • “Carillo” in Det Vilda torger (The Wild Market Square) (Bonniers, 1983)
  • “In the Open” in Klanger och spår (Bells and Tracks) (Bonnier, 1966)

by Heiner Müller
  • Traumtexte
  • Landschaft mit Argonauten (Landscape with Argonauts)
  • Der Mann im Fahrstuhl (The Man in the Elevator)
  • Bildbeschreibung (Description of a Picture)

Bridge Over Mud comes to the BAM Fisher September 7—10. All performances are currently sold out, although standby tickets may become available on a first-come, first-served basis shortly before each performance.

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