The Birthday Party
Dance performance for six dancers, comprising words, ballroom dance and boxing.
Premiere: 28th May 2002, Kanonhallen, Copenhagen.
A woman is preparing her own birthday party. She is decorating the room, making everything ready. She opens up the big folding doors of the room, and the guests enter - a bunch of dinner guests from Hell.
Concept and direction: Anders Christiansen
Choreography and words: Anders Christiansen and dancers
Dancers: Olöf Ingólfsdóttir, Ninna Steen, Susanne Judson, Bo Madvig, Ole Birger Hansen, Jean Hugues Miredin
Original music and sound: Jørgen Teller
Pre-recorded music: collage of cha-cha-cha, rumba and waltz.
Set design: Nanna Arnfred
Costume design: Lise Klitten
Lighting design: Lars Egegaard Sørensen
Producer: Charlotte Rindom
PR: Henning Krog
Duration: 60 minutes
“Anders Christiansen asks us to dance the cha-cha-cha with the inner demons in his serious and satirical dance performance The Birthday Party…
Though the birthday child is a woman, the theme of the show is both universal and personal, which is emphasized by the sharp preliminary solo in which Anders Christiansen himself, dressed in drag, visually and verbally examines the body and its decay. Later, accompanied by the sound of a menacing school bell (or biological alarm clock), we move on to the birthday party of a woman having a midlife crisis, and thoughts of childlessness, the end of the family line, and the dream of finding the 'right one' come into focus.
Prejudice and expectation already fill the air during Olöf Ingólfsdóttir’s nimble preparations for her birthday party. Outside her equally expectant guests are waiting like a band of demons or suppressed emotions that force their way into Nanna Arnfred’s fine, spacious set design.
Powerfully and painfully Anders Christiansen depicts the isolation of the single, when the guests find each other in couple dancing, or play ‘Musical Chairs’ with the birthday child as the inevitable loser. ...All the performers are finely drawn under Anders Christiansen's direction.”
Vibeke Wern (Berlingske Tidende, 30th May 2002)
”Stereotype kindnesses, the vampire stripper Ole Birger Hansen, the nitpick schoolmistress Ninna Steen, the smug charmer Bo Madvig, eternally boxing Jean Hugues Miredin, and the child in the straitjacket in the shape of Susanne Judson turn this birthday party from Hell into an autobiographical portrait of a generation which hesitated to propagate because it was more concerned about personal doings. It is also the generation that has to pay the price of living alone, a single life without any real intimacy, which in the end is reluctantly accepted as a virtue. Admitting a defeat? Not this generation!"
Janus Kodal (Politiken, 30th May 2002)
Gran, Århus, 14-16 June 2002 (double programme with Nocturne).
Kanonhallen, Copenhagen, 28 May - 10 June 2002 (double programme with Nocturne).
The Birthday Party was produced with support from The Danish Arts Council, The State Arts Foundation, Århus Kommunes Fritids- og Kulturforvaltning, Dansk Skuespillerforbunds blankbåndsmidler.
Photographs: Jens Bjerregaard
1 Jean Hugues Miredin, Olöf Ingólfsdóttir, Ninna Steen, Bo Madvig
2 Olöf Ingólfsdóttir, Ole Birger Hansen, Bo Madvig, Susanne Judson
3 Ninna Steen, Bo Madvig, Ole Birger Hansen, Olöf Ingólfsdóttir
4 Olöf Ingólfsdóttir, Jean Hugues Miredin, Susanne Judson, Bo Madvig
5 Susanne Judson, Bo Madvig, Ninna Steen, Ole Birger Hansen, Olöf Ingólfsdóttir, Jean Hugues Miredin