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New York
Monday 6 May 2024

Into the Everyday and Existential

Nobel Laureate Jon Fosse’s Texts for Performance in New York, 2004 to the present

Monday 6 May 2024
Remote video URL

Into the Everyday and Existential: Jon Fosse’s Texts for Performance in New York, 2004 to the Present

Monday, May 6
The Segal Theatre
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Ongoing engagement and experiments throughout the day. Come and go as you please.

The Segal Center presents readings of five plays by 2023 Nobel Laureate Jon Fosse, in their American English translations. The Norwegian playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his innovative plays and prose which give voice to the unsayable.” While much of the American literary world knows Fosse’s prose, his theatrical texts are what shaped his career and made him relevant around the world.

Oslo Elsewhere co-founders Anna Gutto and Sarah Cameron Sunde reunite twenty years after they produced the United States debut production of Fosse’s work in New York City, to revisit and experiment anew. New York actors started at 11 AM reading across a ten hour duration in the center of the Segal Theatre. Audience was seated in the round, and invited to engage in Jon Fosse’s texts in multiple forms.

At 6:30 PM, there was a panel discussion with Sunde and Gutto, moderated by Merve Emre (The New Yorker, Wesleyan University), followed by the final reading of deathvariations. All plays translated by Sarah Cameron Sunde.

Altogether, Oslo Elsewhere premiered three of Jon Fosse’s plays in New York (Night Sings Its Songs, deathvariations, Sa Ka La). Sunde went on to translate and direct A Summer Day and Dream of Autumn, for Rattlestick at The Cherry Lane Theatre in New York and Quantum Theater in Pittsburgh, respectively, and as of writing this she is  working on a translation and directorial concept for Fosse’s newest play.

This event is conceptualized and directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde and Anna Gutto; curated by Frank Hentschker; and presented by The Martin E. Segal Theater Center in collaboration with Oslo Elsewhere, with support from The Royal Norwegian Consulate General. The actors are: Arlene Chico-Lugo, Birgit Huppuch, David L. Townsend, Deb Knox, Diane Ciesla, Frank Harts, James Martinez, Lizan Mitchell, Natalia Payne, Raymond McAnally and Xavier Scott Evans.

Schedule (subject to change):

11:00 AM 
Night Sings Its Songs

1:00 PM 
Sa Ka La

2:30 PM
A Summer Day

4:30 PM
Dream of Autumn

6:30 PM 
Panel discussion with Anna Gutto, Sarah Cameron Sunde, more to be announced; moderated by Merve Emre (The New Yorker, Wesleyan University).  


The cast will be an ensemble of actors, including some original cast members alongside other leading New York performers: Arlene Chico-Lugo, Diane Ciesla, Xavier Scott Evans, Anna Gutto, Frank Harts, Birgit Huppuch, Deb Knox, Natalia Payne, James Martinez, Raymond McAnally, Lizan Mitchell, and David L. Townsend.

Audio visual support team: Gretchen Burger, Adriana Guiman, Lauren Helpern, Paul Hudson, and Erick Stoll.

Throughout the month of May, we encourage theatre practitioners around the United States to read through these five plays translated into American-English. Send an email to [email protected] and [email protected] to request the translations and sign up to participate.


JON FOSSE was born in 1959 in the Norwegian coastal town of Haugesund in Western Norway and made his debut as a fiction writer in 1983 with the novel Raudt, Svart. In 1985 came the novel Stängd Gitar. The first collection of poems Engel med Vatn i Augene was published in 1986. Fosse made his debut as a playwright in 1993 with the play And We Shall Never Be Separated, a commission from Den Nationale Scene in Bergen where it was first performed in 1994. The big breakthrough as a playwright came with the play Someone is Going to Come in 1996 and then followed with a series of plays such as A Summer’s Day, Night Sings Its Songs, Dream of Autumn and Deathvariations. Jon Fosse soon became one of Europe's most performed playwrights, translated into more than forty languages, and his plays have been staged nearly 900 times worldwide. Although today Fosse is best known as a playwright, he has always continued to write fiction, such as The Septology, Fosse's most extensive work to date.  Jon Fosse was awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Literature. He resides in Oslo, Norway.

OSLO ELSEWHERE was founded by Anna Gutto and Sarah Cameron Sunde in 2004, with a mission to bring Jon Fosse’s plays (and other Norwegian writers) to American audiences. Creating American English translations that would resonate with a United States audience was central to their work—establishing Sunde as Fosse’s primary American English translator and director. Oslo Elsewhere formally introduced Fosse to American audiences with NIGHT SINGS ITS SONGS at The Culture Project’s 45 Below Theater (2004) to critical acclaim, with The New York Times describing the production as “universally excellent.” In 2005, Oslo Elsewhere was commissioned to create VARIATIONS ON A THEME for their Royal Highness King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway during their official visit to New York. To mark the Ibsen centennial in 2006, Oslo Elsewhere produced an IBSEN/FOSSE double bill with Ibsen’s ROSMERSHOLM and Fosse’s DEATHVARIATIONS at 59E59 Theaters, developed in partnership with the National Theater in Norway. In 2008, they produced Jon Fosse’s SA KA LA back at 45 Bleecker Theater. Oslo Elsewhere continued to support Sunde’s next three translations/productions of Fosse’s plays: A SUMMER DAY, DREAM OF AUTUMN, and SLEEP at Rattlestick/The Cherry Lane Theatre in New York and Quantum Theater in Pittsburgh. Sunde’s translations have been published in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art and Oslo Elsewhere’s work has been written up in The New York Times, Variety, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, The Brooklyn Rail, among others, and has received massive recognition across Norwegian media and press.  www.osloelsewhere.org

Oslo Elsewhere took a pause around 2014 when Sunde moved her practice towards media and performance art and Gutto became a film director. They are excited to reunite and bring the combination of their expanded artistic trajectories into this event.

ANNA GUTTO is a theatre and film artist, mostly directing for the screen in recent years. Her feature film debut PARADISE HIGHWAY, starring Academy Award-winners Juliette Binoche and Morgan Freeman, premiered at Locarno Film Festival 2022 and was hailed by Variety as “a singularly promising debut for a first-time feature filmmaker.”  While in the Big Apple, in addition to working as an actor as well as co-artistic director for Oslo Elsewhere and The Unbound Collective, Anna also produced concerts at Carnegie Hall, was a consultant for HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE and was a contributing guest lecturer at Columbia University (2012 Ibsen’s A Doll House). She graduated with Honors from Columbia University in 2016 with an MFA in film directing. Gutto co-directed HOME FOR CHRISTMAS for Netflix and her short films won multiple festival awards, incl. Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast. MOMMY HEIST was broadcast on French channel FR3 and A LUCKY MAN is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award recipient and in the screening catalogue of the Museum of the Moving Image. Handling a range of genres and mediums, for Anna, storytelling is about connection—characters connecting with each other, and stories connecting with an audience. Anna is now a dual citizen of the United States and Norway.

SARAH CAMERON SUNDE is an interdisciplinary artist and director working at the intersection of performance, video and public art. She investigates scale and duration in relation to the human body, water, ecological crisis and deep time. In 2023, she was named a Cultural Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2021 awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete her series of nine performances and video artworks made on six continents, 36.5 / A DURATIONAL PERFORMANCE WITH THE SEA (2013 – 2022). Her work has been performed and exhibited around the U.S. and internationally in Norway, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Mexico, Kenya, Uganda, the UAE, and Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2017, Sunde instigated and co-founded Works on Water (a triennial and artist-driven experimental organization dedicated to art that is made on/in/with bodies of water). She also co-founded the live art collective Lydian Junction (2011-2015), Oslo Elsewhere (2004-2013), and the Translation Think Tank (2003-2008), and served as Deputy Artistic Director of New Georges for 16 years (2001-2017). She is also internationally known as Jon Fosse’s primary American English translator and director. SarahCameronSunde.com + 36pt5.org

MERVE EMRE is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and Criticism at Wesleyan University and the Director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing and Criticism. Her books include Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America, The Personality Brokers (selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the New York Times, The Economist, NPR, and The Spectator), The Ferrante Letters (winner of the 2021 PROSE award for literature), and The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway. She has been awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize, the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism, and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle. She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker.

Biographies of Actors:

ARLENE CHICO-LUGO is an award-winning film and theatre producer, an award nominated actor, an interpersonal communications specialist and an educator using theater and storytelling to create bridges of understanding. As an actor, Arlene has made appearances in film, television, and the stage. As a producer she works independently to bring short form film and video content to life and produce theatrical experiences. As an educator, Arlene teaches acting, devised theater, and storytelling. Arlene is the co-founder of Liberation Arts Collective, a multidisciplinary arts organization. She is a Creatives Rebuild NY grant finalist, who, across various mediums, endeavors to discover avenues for profound emotional resonance, genuine connection, and truth.

BIRGIT HUPPUCH had the pleasure of playing Hilde in the Oslo Elsewhere US Premiere production of SAKALA years ago and looks forward to reviving her role for this reading event. Birgit has also acted in NYC premieres of POISON from The Netherlands and POLLOCK from France. She has performed in many productions in NYC and regionally. She received an OBIE for her performance in TELEPHONE. She had a stroke herself in 2018 and she loves opportunities to perform and collaborate such as today.

DAVID L. TOWNSEND: Bway: The Iceman Cometh, Present Laughter. Off-Bway: The Library (Public), Hamlet, Twelfth Night (Pearl), Jewtopia.  Regional: FROST/NIXON, Titus Andronicus, Midsummer. TV: The Plot Against America, Deception, Bull, The Americans, Gotham, The Knick, Boardwalk Empire.  Fosse: DeathVariations (59E59) Training: Juilliard.

DEB KNOX, an LA-based actor, is ecstatic to be reunited with her deathvariations castmates helmed by Sarah Cameron Sunde in the celebration of Jon Fosse. Last year, at the Connelly Theater, Deb performed in a production of Fall River Fishing, a play she co-wrote with Zuzanna Szadkowski, produced by Bedlam and directed by Eric Tucker. Other theatre: Bedlam’s Peter Pan at The Duke on 42nd; Marie Antoinette in The Chevalier (Cleveland Symphony Orchestra); Susan Smith in Carson Kreitzer’s 1:23 (Cincinnati Playhouse) & Belinda in The Provok’d Wife (ART), both directed by Mark Wing-Davey; Kafka’s Amerika (Jeune Lune/dir. Dominique Serrand); The Master Builder (Wallace Shawn& Andre Gregory); Jon Fosse’s deathvariations at 59E59, Slasher (Zephyr/LA); Crimes of the Heart (Deb Aquila/LA); TV: Brothers & Sisters; In Plain Sight. FILM: Carrie II; Paramount/Marvel’s The Consultant (w/ Clark Gregg); Secrets from the Rose Garden (w/ Mary Tyler Moore and Linda Lavin). Deb was born and raised in Greensboro, N.C. B.A. Dartmouth College. M.F.A. from ART at Harvard University.

DIANE CIESLA (she/her/hers) had the pleasure of working with Sarah Cameron Sunde and Anna Gutto in Jon Fosse’s Night Sings Its Songs and deathvariations as well as Anna Gutto’s Mommy Heist. Other credits include Pittsburgh Public, Alabama Shakespeare, PlayMakers, GeVa, Hartford Stage, North Shore, New Harmony, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare, Kansas City Starlight, Muny, McCarter Theatre, 59 E. 59, Lucille Lortel, Mint, La Mama, The Lark. Tours: Lost in Yonkers. Film: Fits and Starts, 5 Flights
Up, The Foxy Merkins, Another Earth, Under New Management, TV: Law & Order, Search Party, The Path, Difficult People, Royal Pains, Lipstick Jungle, All My Children, Guiding Light.

FRANK HARTS currently stars opposite Colman Domingo and Chris Rock in the Academy Award-Nominated film RUSTIN directed by George C. Wolfe, and produced by President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama's Higher Ground for Netflix. He plays civil rights icon James Farmer, Jr.  On the comedy front Frank recently guest-starred on the hilarious season three premiere of HBO Max original series SOUTH SIDE. Raised in the Midwest, Frank is of mixed heritage with Southern roots on the African American side and Brooklyn roots on the Irish side. A product of a long line of African and Irish storytellers. Frank went directly from training at Juilliard onto Broadway as George Murchison in the Tony Award-Winning production of A Raisin in The Sun. He has also performed leading roles for The Public Theater, Signature, and Lincoln Center.  On camera Frank has worked with notable film directors Jane Campion, Spike Lee, Jason Bateman, Jim Jarmusch, Steve McQueen, and Kenneth Branagh. Frank enjoyed portraying the series regular role JT Tarmel for Fox & Warner Bros on PRODIGAL SON. Several Guest-Star recurs include Billions, The Blacklist, The Americans, The Leftovers, Blue Bloods, Bull, 30 Rock, and Master of None in the critically acclaimed episode “New York, I Love  You.”  His award-winning short film Two Wongs, which he wrote and directed, premiered at over ten festivals in major cities in 2022/23.

JAMES MARTINEZ – Off Broadway: Back Back Back (Manhattan Theatre Club), US Drag (Beckett Theatre), Asphalt Kiss (59E59) directed by Sarah Cameron Sunde. Transfers (New York Stage & Film). Regional: Sonia Flew (La Theatre Works), A Midsummer Night's Dream (McCarter/Papermill Playhouse). Selected Film/TV: Love, Victor (Hulu Disney+) Wolf Pack (paramount+)House of Cards, One Day at a Time (Netflix), Tell me a Story, CSI, Unforgettable, Elementary, the Michael J. Fox Show, Guilt By Association. Film: Run All Night, The Sessions, Brother to Brother, Lost Revolution, B-Girl, and Side Effects. Martinez is a graduate of the Juilliard School.

LIZAN MITCHELL – Broadway: Ohio State Murders, Electra, Having Our Say, So Long on Lonely Street. Off-Broadway: On Sugarland, Cullud Wattah, Passage, Brownsville Song, Cell, Trojan Women, Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death. Regional: OurDaughters, Like Pillars, Skeleton Crew, A Raisin in the Sun, The House That Will Not Stand, Richard lll, The Tempest, The Gem of the Ocean. Film/TV: “Detroit,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “The Good Wife,” “The Preacher’s Wife,” “The Wire,” “The Human Stain,” “Law & Order.”

NATALIA PAYNE – New York theater credits include Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Keen Company), Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview (Soho Rep, TFANA – 2019 Pulitzer Prize), Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match (Roundabout), Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I (Playwrights Horizons), David Ives’ New Jerusalem (Classic Stage Company), Saviana Stanescu’s Aliens with Extraordinary Skills (WP Theater), Deirdre O’Connor’s Jailbait (Cherry Lane), and Oslo Elsewhere’s production of Jon Fosse’s deathvariations (59E59). Regionally, Natalia has appeared at Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, The Old Globe, Studio Theater (Helen Hayes Award nomination), New York Stage & Film, and The O’Neill. TV: Recurring roles on “Workin’ Moms” (CBC/Netflix) and “Cardinal” (CTV/Hulu), and guest appearances on “Law & Order: S.V.U.” (NBC), “Sensitive Skin” (HBO Canada), “Ransom” (CBS), “Murdoch Mysteries” (CBC), “Reign” (CW), “Dark Matter” (SYFY). Film: The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond, The Word, Crazy Love. Natalia has also narrated numerous audiobooks (AudioFile Earphone Award winner) and is a frequent narrator for Apple News+ Audio. Originally from Toronto, Natalia speaks Ukrainian and French, in addition to English. BA in Theater Studies from Yale University. More on her website: https://nataliapayne.com

RAYMOND McANALLY is an award-winning actor, produced writer, and lecturer. Television credits include BLACK MIRROR: SAN JUNIPERO (2017 Emmy); Guest starring roles on BETTER CALL SAUL, MODERN FAMILY, CHICAGO FIRE, RIZZOLI & ISLES, SVU, 30 ROCK, among others. Feature Film credits include PARADISE HIGHWAY, MARVELOUS & THE BLACKHOLE, THE REVIVAL, COMPLIANCE, among others. Theatre credits include (*award-winning performance) GOD’S EAR (original cast, The Vineyard and New Georges); CASA VALENTINA*, Pasadena Playhouse; ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS*, U.S. Regional Premiere, Repertory Theatre of St Louis; among many others. Ray’s solo show, SIZE MATTERS, received its world premiere at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, directed by the late Ed Stern. Filmed before a live audience, it now streams on Amazon Prime. His full-length play THE CRUELTY OF CHILDREN was a semi-finalist at the O’Neill Center 2019, among others. Raymond was the head content writer for Daily Fiber Films, which produced over sixty digital shorts featured by FunnyOrDie.com, Fullscreen, CNN, New Media Rockstars, and The Food Network. Raymond has been a lecturer for Rutgers Arts Online since 2013.  He has guest lectured at colleges and conservatories since 2009.  He holds an MFA in Acting from Mason Gross and a BA in Philosophy from Sewanee. www.raymcanally.com

XAVIER SCOTT EVANS is an American actor based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s best known for his recent work on HBOMax “Love Life” (2021), “FBI” (2021), and his starring role in the feature film Bottom of the 9th. Roles in theater include New York Theatre Workshop’s world premiere of On Sugarland (5x Lucille Lortel Award nominated) written by Helen Merrill & Obie Award winning  Aleshea Harris (Is God Is) and directed by Lilly & Obie Award winning Whitney White. The Atlantic Theater Company's world premiere of Ngozi Anyanwu's (“The Homecoming Queen”)The Last of the Love Letters directed by Patricia McGregor starring Tony Award Nominated Daniel J. Watts. Recent Film: Paradise Highway (starring Morgan Freeman, Juliette Binoche) directed by Anna Gutto.

Photo credit:  By Jim Baldassare. Louis Cancelmi in Night Sings Its Songs by Jon Fosse, produced by Oslo Elsewhere at 45 Bleecker Theater, New York, 2004.

All performing rights for texts by Jon Fosse are handled by Colombine Theatre Agency: [email protected].

About HowlRound TV

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based, peer-produced, open-access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing-arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and develop our knowledge commons collectively. Anyone can participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected] or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal. View the video archive of past events.

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