Close things

by Marit StrÝmmen

Review of Private collection, Festival Meteor, Bergen Internasjonale Teater, October 2003, Bergen.


Oneís first impression may be misleading. We are all prompt to jump to conclusions. And that is exactly what happened when I first saw Mette Edvardsenís Private collection. There she was, alone on stage with just two chairs, a house plant and a bottle of mineral water. I found it difficult to communicate, to interpret this performance. She sat down on the chair. I waited. She leaned forward, she sat on the ground. I searched. I felt nothing, except maybe some pleasure in attending this performance, with so many others. She, the dancer, turned the chair around, slid down next to it. I pondered, but no effect. This performance left me completely indifferent. She continued. She placed socks under the chairs and the plant, and shifted everything around. An oblique angle on everyday life. Edvardsen continued exploring the furniture, to balance with a bottle, to make small breaks before continuing again. She dressed the chairs with socks and t-shirt. She was sliding along the wall. She stood up, organizing the clothes in small piles. She seemed to be in touch with the entire small space, including the accumulated dust-balls on the floor. My thoughts came automatically. My curiosity was at its lowest ebb.

Yesterday in Nygårdsgaten everything was different. My body and my mind participated in what was happening. Suddenly I perceived Mette Edvardsen moving with logic, concentration and an imaginative spirit that fascinated me. Her dialogue with the everyday objects created situations that were constantly renewed. The flower, the bottle of water, the chairs, the clothes had no life of their own exactly, but Mette Edvardsen was showing us how we co-exist. Precision and rhythm. More and less constrained. More and less aware. And all the time, we find ourselves, from the point of view of our existence, more and less pressed up against a corner. And I said to myself that Private collection could well become a classic.

NB! Mette Edvardsen did exactly the same thing as the first time I saw the performance. My question then remains: How lazy can an audience be? And how much do we then miss?


Appeared in Bergens Tidene October 2003. Translated by Festival La Batie, Geneve.