A Slow Escape
A Slow Escape is an onstage flight, both hypertheatrical and documentary, springing from two walks – Catharine H. Kølle’s journey in 1841 from Norway to Venice and Karen Røise Kielland’s tracking of her in 2011. The work reveals different strategies in the face of unknown time and space. It questions the ability to fantasize, as friend and sometimes foe, as live-drawings and sound makes the space travel.
“Speed has conquered space; … it has made distance meaningless, because no significant part of a human life – year, months, or even weeks – is any longer necessary two reach any point on the earth. ”
– Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 1958
The show is created and performed by Karen Røise Kielland. It has been produced in collaboration with artist Tom Mason and premiered at Black Box Theatre Oslo.
Concept, direction, script, sound-recordings and performance: Karen Røise Kielland.
Dramaturgy: Marit Grimstad Eggen.
Drawing: Tom Mason.
Soundediting: Erlend Hogstad.
Lighting design: Ingeborg Staxrud Olerud.
Set design and costume: Jennie Bringsaker.
Technician: Edle Hanto
Directing advice: Christina Hauge.
General Manager: Produsentbyrået/Jorunn Kjersem Hildre.
Photo: Kristine Jakobsen
Karen Røise Kielland
Karen’s work is as much based on site as in the studio and by the writing desk. She has made a series of performances stemming from a documentary way of working: recording sound, collecting daily life movement and using so called amateurs (or rather experts in their field, it being a graveyard worker or biologist) as performers next to the trained ones. The material was then later dealt with in an almost pietistic way, particularly the text, whereas the movement never lost it’s daily life quality, it was always stylized through repetition and the building of tableaux’s together with the performers. Her later work, independently from her colleague Anne Rooschüz in Blood for Roses, has not necessarily been sourced from daily life or a site. It has been almost hyper theatrical it its form, characterized by the use of masks and big costumes, all the while insisting on being transparent – a fictional world is being built up – and placing a personal performance presence next to the masked one. Her interest for a long time already has been to explore the longing for a mythological and simple state, almost primitive and pre-modern, despite being aware of the impossibility of that very state. This could be the constant movements of the planets or the hunting instincts. The means she use in her efforts to understand are manual and do not correspond with the longings that she explores. Therefor, her efforts may seem helpless and, perhaps, a bit comical, as they are doomed to fail.
Karen is currently working on a book project about the two walks to Venice. It will be published in January 2019 at Forlaget Oktober.