Yes, even in the Arctic cold we Glam Rock too!
THOR is an original Glam Rock musical created by yours truly and Dag-Jarle Nilsen. The show will be in an outside arena on an ice stage for the Borealis Winter Festival in Northern Norway in March, and the show will be streamed LIVE to the world on Ustream – so you can watch it too!
With 16 original song tracks, the Glam Rock musical will give the audience the opportunity to experience an ice-stage musical-comedy about the Norse gods.
The Glam Rock Musical will be performed by the dance students at the Alta kulturskole (Culture School) supported by professional vocalists including Jan Tore Grefstad. Costumes and puppetry will be a large part of the performance. The students are certainly ready to Glam Rock Alta out of this world.
I will stop the plugging now. This show has been my baby for over six months. I started on the script and music last summer with my music producer, Dag-Jarle. However, the show idea had always been in the back of my mind since a couple of years back when I first moved to Norway and was learning about the Old Norse collection of poems called Poetic Edda. One particular poem was strikingly dramatic and comedic, and had all the main characters in it - Þrymskviða, or The Lay of Thrym. The poem was perfect to create a rock stage musical and with the colourful characters and outlandish story it was brilliant for the Glam genre.
Even though we follow the Glam genre, the songs are still very diverse. This is because Glam Rock progressed over 30 years (late 60s to mid 80s) and many would argue it is still alive and kicking today. Taking that spirit, we have added in elements of smoky piano jazz, Hip Hop and even Death Metal, but the Glamminess is always present. You can hear a sample of some of the songs for a short time only on this link: https://soundcloud.com/dagjarle/thor-the-glamrock-teaser
The boys above working hard in the studio – Altaposten
Our lead singer, Jan Tore Grefstad, who sings Thor, is a fantastic maniac with his voice. Watching him in the recording studio, he would sing with so much power and character that he would almost keel over after a section – a lot of respect for him. He is well known around Norway and I’m sure it is only a matter of time before he goes global. Here is Jan Tore singing on the Norwegian version of X Factor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDJgvg17cHU and singing Karaoke at a pub: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiH600Itnyk
Making a production for an ice stage is challenging but exciting. You have to think about the cold, and therefore have costumes warm enough that can handle ice, snow, winds, and very cold temperatures. You have to think about the movement, especially dance. You cannot do a ballet on ice and snow as it is too slippery and everyone has to be wearing heavy snow boots otherwise their toes will freeze off. Making a dance performance with only dance from the hips up is a little challenging, though we have managed some samba, viennese waltz and back flips on the ice stage.
Synnøve Gustavsen (above) – the voice of Freyja
Designing the stage is very different from a theatre. With a theatre you already have a stage and you put things in to make the set. With an ice stage you have the space which has to be filled with snow and ice and then all carved out to make the stage and set together. This means you can be very creative. The ice stage is sometimes coloured with paper and light and some years we have used pyrotechnics within the ice.
(Above) Borealis ice stage 2012
I’ve worked in the Arts industry all my life in different countries and it has been exciting (and sometimes stressful) learning how Norway creates shows. I’m used to a show taking six weeks full time in rehearsal for a three month run for professional productions. In Norway you don’t have that luxury. We have had six weeks of rehearsals but for only two to three hours a week. Every second of every rehearsal is very important and there is a amazing amount of planning and creating to have all choreographies finished for every character before rehearsals start. It is rare to get a completely professional production team so you have to work around people’s work and school, holidays, sicknesses, and ‘oh, I forgots’. It can drive you a little crazy but, none-the-less, it doesn’t mean we give up! It always turns out to be the best show possible on the little time, money and people we have up here in Northern Norway.
(Above) Borealis practice 2012
On this production I am the producer, script writer/lyricist, director, choreographer, designer (- set, lighting, costumes and props), dance leader (meaning I rehearse the 40 performers), I’m making some of the costumes and props (the rest is done by a small team of dedicated parents) and will work as the stage manager on the rig and performance days, not to mention that I also have a lead role in the show because one of the dance kids had to pull out. It sounds like I’m a little bit of a control freak but no, this is the way you have to work in Norway. The tradition of learning to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ in the Arts industry in Australia has paid off. I don’t have to worry about finding people to do things because if I can’t find anyone it is not a problem as I know I have the know-how to do it myself. I am finding that being versatile and knowing a little about everything is important when living in Norway. But I do have a strong base of professionals and amateurs who are enthusiastic and dedicated as much as I am so that makes me happy.
Lead dance kids for THOR – the Glam Rock Musical 2013
THOR – The Glam Rock Musical debuts on Saturday 9. and Sunday 10. March local time Norway. To keep track of the shows and the ustream time you can ‘LIKE’ the public page on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/THOR-The-Glam-Rock-Musical/ A lot of the information will be in Norwegian for the locals (nothing that google translate won’t fix) but we will also post the important information, like the Ustream link, in English too.
Hope you can join us.
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