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The Rock-itt : September 2009
ELLING Stage Adaption by Axel Hellstenius and Peter Naess Directed by: Pamela Rabe Actors: Darren Gilshenan Lachy Hulme Glenn Hazeldine Frank Whitten Yael Stone Elling, a Sydney Theatre Company's production at Glen Street Theatre, was based on a novel written by Norwegian, Ingvar Ambjornsen, who is considered to be one of the great storytellers of contemporary Norwegian literature. His first novel was published in 1981 and so far has written18 novels. His most successful writing has been his trilogy following the life of Elling, from the death of his mother through his time in a mental institution, to his return to society. Alex Hellistenius, one of Norway's most productive screen writers in collaboration with Peter Naess, adapted the third book (Blood Brothers) into a play called Elling which has been seen in over one hundred theatres throughout Europe. Alex Hellstenius then adapted this version into a successful screenplay called Elling which was nominated for the best foreign film of 2002 at the Oscars. Simon Best was then asked to write a new play version of the film which was produced in London's West End in 2007. Simon Best had stated that he had tried to show the audience the warmth of the friendship that sprung up between Elling and Kjell when they shared a room at the mental institution. As Elling says, "My roommate is an Orang-utan who only cares about women and food.....But I feel safe in some strange way having him by my side." They play treads a fine line of tragic comedy showing this odd couple's naïve re-entry into society. As their social worker states, "It's up to you to prove you can live alone, shop ,cook, answer the phone, prove you can live normal lives. If you fail there are plenty of people waiting for this apartment." The audience watches the two, who have been institutionalised, take up the reins of living in a world that people just take for granted. As well as being a comedy, for one starts chuckling just as the curtain goes up, the play is basically about the simple pleasures of freedom and fellowship. COMING UP NEXT AT GLEN STREET THEATRE EMBERS By Campion Decent 1-12 September Winner of the 2007 Queensland Premier's Literary Award for stage (drama) script. An extraordinary account of the 2003 Victorian fires. A heart-stopping tale of survival, courage and endurance. Have a great night out by dining at Sorlies Restaurant, then a few steps and into the theatre for one of our great live shows. Generous subscriber discounts, just give us a call and let us be your hosts.