An all-ages crowd gathers outside the doors of Tjarnarbío, waiting to embark on a musical voyage through the minds of dozens of teenagers. From the joys of being a slut to the stomach-twisting thirst for self-discovery, The Teenage Songbook Of Love And Sex will soon indulge the awaiting crowd in a solemn ode to the coming of age.
The will to explore “the aspects of teenage life that aren’t being dealt with,” came to artist and curator Alexander Roberts and choreographer Ásrún Magnúsdóttir, after years of working with teenagers in various projects together. They invited musician and composer Teitur Magnússon to join them in conceptualizing a musical show where teenagers would be allowed to tell “the stories that are not being told,” says Alexander.
The themes for the songs first came in the shape of letters. The teens wrote to first loves, grandparents, siblings and even David Bowie. It was then the adult’s job to compile the feelings, arrange the concept and turn them into music and choreography.
Enough With The Heteronormativity
Love and sex are the number one subjects in the history of all art ever, but as reflection and freedom in sexuality and identity evolve, cultural representation seems to be having a hard time keeping up the pace.
“There are a lot of unrealistic shows about teenage love and sex”, asserts Ísafold Halldórsdóttir (17), her colleagues nod in agreement. “It is the first project that is written by actual teenagers so of course, its gonna have a more authentic view,” adds Uloma Osuala (17).
The show is made up of 10 songs (in Icelandic and English). Songs like “Hello Woman” or “I’m a slut” engage in a candid but playful tone that makes the audience want to jump on stage. “We are not shying away from the clinginess or awkwardness. We don’t pretend like everything is great. Or even, that everything is terrible. It’s just how it is in real life.” says Egill Andrason (18).
We’re All In This Together
A community was born from this process, within the creators and performers but also with the audiences. “The sort of thing that unites us most is the reason why we are here” assures Una Yamamoto Barkardóttir (18). “We are a community based on trust and friendship and we’re trying to enlarge that community, to bring the audience with us through this, every single person in the world will or can relate, too.”
The show has been very well received in Iceland and traveled to Bergen where the group collected more stories and experiences with Norwegian teenagers. Two more shows are scheduled for February 13th and 15th in Tjarnarbío and tickets are 2900 ISK. Do not worry if you don’t speak Icelandic, they handout booklets with the English translation for the few parts spoken/sung in Icelandic. This show is for everyone.
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