”Dette skulle bli et dikt som noen skulle huske en stund”
Scenekunst som poesi for barn i forestillingen Snutebiller, stankelben
”This was supposed to become a poem which someone would remember for a while”: Stage Art as Poetry for Children in the Theatre Performance Snutebiller, stankelben
Abstract: Norwegian author Rolf Jacobsen’s (1907–1994) modernist poetry, originally published for adults, has been celebrated for its boldness and innovativeness. In the stage performance Snutebiller, stankelben (Snout Beetle, Crane Fly) by the Norwegian theatre group Fleece & Rouge, four poems by Jacobsen are performed on stage with children as the target audience. This article studies the realization of Jacobsen’s poetry as stage art for children. Transferring the poems from book to stage involves several obvious medial transformations due to the theatre’s specific devices. By drawing theoretical inspiration from Jonathan Culler’s theory of the lyric poem’s ritualistic and fictional qualities, we ask to what degree the performance preserves the poetic qualities in the poems for the child audience. Or rather, does the theatre frame impose dramatic effects on the poems by expanding their element of fiction? The inquiry is also inspired by Margaret Meek’s and Kornej Tjukovskij’s perspectives on the relationship between children and poetic language. There is an amount of risk involved in the task of transferring poetry to the stage. In order to succeed, the actors must embrace the expressive possibilities of the theatre, which in one sense means replacing one genre with another and thus leaving the poetry behind. However, as the analysis of Snutebiller, stankelben demonstrates, the poetic may resurrect in the scenic expression, given that the performance’s embeddedness in and obligation towards the poems are strong enough.
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