Ode to Progress
It is the Carnival of a foreign country, distant yet close. The actors in this Carnival are the emissaries of a hidden people, stately, funny, grotesque, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes sorrowful. We host them in our streets and squares, in the theatres and the institutions that make us civilised.
This Carnival doesn't pretend to believe in civilization. It makes us laugh. But it is a type of laughter that confines with tears and evokes tears when least expected. The Carnival shows human and animal masks, marionettes and skulls, skeletons and rag dolls. It starts with a procession and alternates scenes with music and dances, figures like the actors of past times entering a village. They exhibit a tame bear, Harlequin, the Queen of Saba, a man-woman and Our Lady of Death who steals children just as children catch butterflies and happily torment them. There is also an old monk, solitary, haughty, sad as an inquisitor and vulgar as a corrupt saint. "Human beings are not like this!" thinks the Hunter, who runs into this Carnival during one of his safaris.
To compose this Ode, Odin Teatret has deformed some precious scenes from its past repertoire. In other words: the actors have loved and respected it until blasphemy. Carnival.