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Stadttheater Basel, 2007

The production was based on the novel by Swedish nobelprize winner Selma Lagerlöf. In the book, the richest woman of Värmland is letting 12 bohemians live, drink, eat and party for free at her mansion Ekeby, so that "in Värmland there will be one place where people think about other things than work and the soil". For one year, the 12 bohemians take control of Ekeby, in an attempt to turn it into an autonomous Utopia. After the year has passed, the original owner comes back to throw them out.

The basic idea of the project was to follow the utopian concept of the novel; not by staging the story but rather transform the theatre itself into Ekeby. The first working day, director-led rehearsals were cancelled permanently and the responsibility of how to develop relevant artistic concepts for the content of the novel was handed over to the actors. After some weeks, the work exiled to a gallery where a number of try-outs and public sessions were successfully arranged.

The last week the project left the diaspora and came back to the theatre. One hour after the general rehearsal, the work was closed down by the managment of Stadttheater Basel. The actors, upon protesting that they believed the they had done was important and too valuable to be thrown away, were offered psychiatric consultation. They were also ordered not to talk about the project in public.

In retrospect, the series of events presented a rather true interpretation of the intrigues as it is told in the novel. So far so good.

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