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Neavttár neavttáreallima birra - hástáleaddji ja deŧalaš

Ođđasat 24.02.23

Dát ášši lea dušše dáro ja eaŋgalasgillii. Dás sáhtat lohkat eaŋgalas teavstta

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Beaivváš Sami National Theater is today premiering the new play "What Sárá is hiding". Dáiddadállu's actress Anja Bongo Bjørnstad has faced challenges in her working life in recent years. She is a full-time actress, mother of a two-year-old and lives in Oslo. Bjørnstad tells how Covid19 has led to many cancellations of planned productions and thus also some gigs. But she does not allow herself to be stopped by that reason and is fully engaged as a theater actor and currently in a play that will soon be seen on stage.

"What Sárá hides" is directed by Kristin and Bernt Bjørn. Katrine Nedrejord is a Sami author and playwright and has written this play based on her own novel of the same name. In the play, we meet Lájla, who cannot resist investigating why her best friend Sárá has suddenly changed. The story is about how a rape can put all relationships to the test in a small community.

Several years of development

Dáiddadállu's own Rawdna Carita Eira is the inspector in the play. She says that several years ago there was a proposal to make a play of Nedrejord's novel. It didn't take long before the work was underway.

"I knew that Katrine is an incredibly talented theater writer and I think she is particularly good at writing for young people. She is a screenwriter herself and has rewritten the book for theatre. At Beaivváš we decided to produce the play, also because the topic is very important in our society and something we talk too little about. Of course, Kristin and Bernt have also followed the theater process and made changes along the way." explains Eira.

Bjørnstad describes it as an honor to be asked to play in this play. She praises both the author's and the director's repertoire and did not hesitate to book a nursery place for her daughter and move to Kautokeino to be in the play.

"I am a big fan of Katrine as a writer, she is young, powerful and open. I also think it is so important that her play is staged. And of course I admire Kristin and Bernt's work and would love to work with them. In addition, I thought the topic was important and that it was aimed at young people. Then there was no doubt that I would be involved," she explains.

It required a conscious approach

Eira goes on to say that it was important for the theater to raise rape as a theme, but that it required a conscious process and approach. They have collaborated and been in contact with health services in Kautokeino. In addition, Beaivváš has sent calls to municipal services to follow up on the theme and young people, in the places where the play will be shown.

"We have to take into account what is happening in society, we do not work in a vacuum after all. After all, we are going out to meet young people and we have young actors on stage who will meet the audience. We know that statistically there may be some in the audience who have experienced rape. Our job is to mirror and direct questions to society, and create a basis for discussions about values and conversations about attitudes to the topic." points out Eira.

Bjørnstad agrees with the goals of the play and explains that even though it has been unusual to play such a much younger character, she hopes that it can contribute to conversations about the topic and adds, "As an actor, it is important to me that my character reflects how it can be experienced as a young woman to be in that situation. I want to help create neutral characters that can be used as a basis for discussions about rape. It has been incredibly fun to work on the play and especially with such a young ensemble. I'm suddenly older, which is new. And I think it is important that the actors in a youth play are so close to the target group's age."

Lightness about the heavy

They explain that although the play deals with a serious subject, it is not without humor and hope for the future.

"I think that both the script and the directors have managed to create a piece that is not too heavily made, so people are able to follow the story. It represents society as it is – sad, humorous, with hope and life moving on.” says Eira.

Proud as a mom

As inspector, Eira is responsible for ensuring and facilitating the actors' work. For her, this play has been particularly rewarding as she has been able to work with so many young people.

"I feel a bit like their mother and am so proud of how far they have come and happy that we have such talented young mediators. No two days have been the same and it has given me a new drive to continue working with theatre. Theater is such a powerful means of communication for young people, I believe that such a narrative on the theater stage comes closer and contributes something completely different than a screen can ever provide." she concludes.

Looking forward to performing on stages in the north

Anja Bongo Bjørnstad has made the plans and made the necessary adjustments to life, and is now looking forward to starting out on tour. She also has several other projects underway, is looking forward to the development in Sami productions, and hopes that she will be able to appear both on Sami theater stages and in films in the future.

"It's always good to come home, and especially when I get to participate in Sami theater and film. So I hope for more invitations.” she says in conclusion.

"What Sárá hides" will be shown twice in Kautokeino this coming weekend and will then travel on to various stages in northern Norway - and then end the tour in Kautokeino during the Easter festival. More information about screenings here

Bjørnstad is also currently acting as an actor in a new feature film "A Happy Day", directed by Hisham Zaman. The film will be released in 2023.