inside out, outside in (2017) - site-specific composition for five actors, natural materials, and audience

Site-specific composition: Performance on January 26th, 2018, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway

Program Notes:


inside out, outside in is a collaboration with composers Mikael Aksnes-Pehrson and Astrid Solberg from the Norwegian Academy of Music and theatre artists Gregers Andreas Kroksleiven-Hansen and Omri Ariav at the Norwegian Theater Academy. The composition developed over the course of four days of planning in the space and gathering materials. The piece centers around the main staircase and indoor tree in the lobby of the Norwegian Academy of Music. The audience freely walks through the space and is given leaves, rocks, pinecones, branches, and bottles of water by the five actors. The five actors then wordlessly demonstrate to the audience, one by one, to spread out leaves on the floor, freely make sounds with the stones, pinecones, and branches, and throw snow into the tree's enclosed area, eventually building into a chaos of activity and sound. From the balcony above, audience members spill water into buckets below, and one actor triggers transitions in the piece by shaking the tree every minute. In the course of reclaiming the space for nature, they make a chorus of natural sounds. One of the actors signals the entire group to stop, drawing their attention to the concert hall backstage doors. In the meanwhile, a tuba player begins playing outside. Two of the actors summon the audience back up the stairs, bringing them over to the balcony, where they get view the tuba player perform outside behind the glass doors, before leading the audience out of the space. 

The piece plays with what is acceptable at a music school, with tamed music outside and untamed nature inside in a topsy-turvy, momentarily anarchic world. The space frames the tree as the only natural object in the music building, almost reaching for the outside to try to escape. The audience participates in the anarchy by contributing to the natural mess, breaking free of the traditional role of the audience and "composing" the piece along with the performers.