So here’s the thing, I’m new to Iceland. And while I’m thoroughly enjoying Iceland’s rich art and music scene, there are days when all I want is to be transported back in history. Specifically, between the 9th and 11th centuries, or the Saga Age.
Sagas are at the core of Iceland’s history. Even though they were recorded centuries after the events they describe, sagas provide the most genuine glimpse into the island’s Viking Age.
Presented by actors Friðrik Friðriksson and Esther T. Casey, Icelandic Sagas – The Greatest hits is a hilarious rendition of not one, not two, but all 40 of the recored sagas.
Performing all of the sagas in just 75 minutes is a bold statement, but again, this is Iceland, where most soup joints claim to serve the best soup in town. So is Icelandic Sagas — The Greatest Hits actually worth your hour and 15 minutes?
Absolutely yes. One might think that two actors won’t be enough to cover all the characters, but you just have to be there to see it. Friðrik and Esther filled the stage with their presence, swiftly changing in and out of medieval capes and helmets.
Their humorous interpretation of Icelandic sagas only slightly diverts from the actual sagas, which in a nutshell, consist of lots of killings, lots of beer, and lots of vain, not very handsome men.
During their performance, the actors made an obligatory mocking of the Norwegian accent and a mandatory mention of the ‘perfectly perfect democracy’. Iceland notoriously prides itself in having the world’s oldest parliamentary democracy, with the Althingi Parliament established in 930.
The actors presented the audience of more than 100 people with a simplified formula for all the sagas. Two men have some tension between them, this soon escalates, usually due to one stealing the other’s sheep, and this results in revenge, or in rare occasions, a peace treaty.
If you want to mix history with humour, in 75 minutes is for you. In a rare chance that you don’t like it, have a beer and forget about it. Just don’t mix your beer with skyr. Why? You’ll just have to see the show to find out.
Icelandic Sagas — The Greatest Hits is performed at Harpa entirely in English. Tickets are 4,900 ISK and the dates of show can be found here.