05 May 2016 in Sweet By-and-By

Dito's Extra-Special SWEET BY-AND-BY Recipe 


By Dito van Reigersberg
Originally written Monday, August 25, 2008
Republished in honor of our 20th Anniversary and return visit from our Slava friends.


One (1) chance encounter, eight years ago, between Slava and Pig Iron in Potsdam, Germany
One (1) bunch of muscular Swedes who train in a hardcore, running-and-singing, you-can't-stop-till-we-say-you-can kind of a way, plus
One (1) bunch of Americans from Philly who love music but who hadn't really dared to connect their acting and their singing before, finely minced
Four (4) pounds of folk melodies sung in three-part harmony that get stuck in your head
Two (2) level cups of ensemble training
One (1) tablespoon of mutual admiration
Four (4) medium cloves of serendipity
One (1) heaping teaspoon of Slavic essence, to taste

Begin with Fabrik, a German dance-theatre company; after seeing both Slava and Pig Iron at the Edinburgh Fringe, they will mix both companies together throroughly for a week. Take the Philly bunch and allow the bunch of muscular Swedes slowly “kick their asses” during the weeklong workshop exchange in 2000. Then as you allow both bunches to rest, slowly introduce a performance of GENTLEMEN VOLUNTEERS that the Swedes admire. Allow both bunches to separate while contemplating what to do together. Fold in visa complications and the time-space continuum between Stockholm and Philly. As you let both bunches marinate in their own juices for several years, they will continue using each others' exercises in warm-ups, creation periods, and workshops of their own. The separated dough will begin to rise. Occasional visits take place. A collaboration will become inevitable after 8 years.

Helpful hint: If you are American, do not make offhand jokes about ABBA or Ikea. It will imperil all communication and the Swedish-American soufflé will surely collapse. Also: do not offer a cheesesteak to a Swede of otherwise iron-clad constitution; s/he will surely experience intestinal distress.

If you are Swedish, offer to host meatball parties. Introduce lingonberry jam. The Americans' attention will be captured immediately.

Carefully peel back the possible layers of shared interest. A space musical? An adaptation of PEER GYNT? A Brecht play? The title character in MOTHER COURAGE is certainly Swedish. After a lot of simmering, an idea about a one-man show will rise to the top. A show that can capitalize on both the folk-music tradition of Slava and the unusual playmaking methods of Pig Iron. A show about a Swedish-American labor organizer and songwriter named Joe Hill.

Your SWEET BY AND BY is almost ready. Allow Daniel Rudholm to bring harmonica, accordion, banjo, and his voice into the mix, with the added spice of a loop pedal. He will offer up the story of his own great-grandfather Georg (YAY-org) as a nice pairing to the story of Joe Hill. He will craft delicate animation sequences as garnish. Keep the lid on until the end of August. Do not overcook. 

Learn more about Teater Slava's return visit to Pig Iron. The company leads a special choral/physical theatre workshop on May 14-15 and a performance of their production TWINE.MEASURE.CUT.

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