In 2018 Pernille Dahl Johnsen was granted a 2-year Work Grant from the Norwegian Government Grants for Artists. We decided to ask her additional questions about this prestigious award as part of our ongoing series of highlighting our members’ awards, grants and recognition.
- Is there a particular play you have been commissioned to write as part of this grant? No, I haven't been commissioned to. You apply, and if the application and the idea is better than most of the rest, and you have a certain production behind you, you may be picked as one of the approximately 2 percent that is granted. But getting 2 years is rare, most playwrights get only one.
- Any other details on what you did to win the grant? Did you have to submit a play or a writing sample? Yes, you have to submit samples from the play you are planning to write, and a project description, like a synopsis, character development
and such. And also other scripts you have written, as proof of quality.
- What kind of work will you do? I write in my own form which I call "a staged reasoning", in which one follows a line of thought to its extremes, and where the characters represent inner traits or viewpoints or driving forces within human beings rather than human beings of flesh and blood - it's all quite philosophical and existential. And in a way absurdist, although I strive very hard not to alienate my audience: I very much want to communicate and be understood. I rarely write plays with strict realism, but sometimes like to do that, too.
- When will your play be performed - is it commissioned to be performed at the end of the grant period? I don't know. I have to take it to theatres and ask if they're
- Any other information about you that we should include in the interview? My play "A Remarkable Person" has just been selected to be published in The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Norwegian Plays (by the publisher) Oberon Books Limited
- Also, here's my credo: "I believe theatre magic arises when the artistic project emanates from an authentic need within the artist herself, and strive for courage to comply with this belief in all my plays."
- Anything else about Norwegian theatre that you would like ICWP readers to know? Well, I feel there's too little diversity of opinion within Norwegian theatre, we're too much like one great pack hunting the same prey. Makes it less interesting and less challenging, unfortunately.
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