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Iceland’s Bell

Halldór Laxness, Benedikt Erlingsson

There is one intermission and the play lasts for 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Iceland’s Bell is based on the novel of the same name written by Nobel Prize winner Halldór Kiljan Laxness (1902–1998). The novel is extremely popular on the faraway island. Probably because it talks about everything that’s humane – about deep feelings, the struggle to stay human, self-sacrifice and dreams, but also about spiritual decay, vileness, arrogance and constraints. All these topics are dealt with both through tragedy as well as comedy. Laxness has turned to the very roots of his people, sticking to the style of Icelandic sagas, using historical events and prototypes from the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century.

There are three main heroes in Iceland’s Bell: farmer Jón Hreggvidsson, Snæfríður Íslandssól (direct translation: as beautiful as snow, Iceland’s sun) and archivist Arnas Arnæus. Jón’s character is based on authentic letters of one farmer who fought his whole life to be acquitted. Prototype for the character of Arnas is Árni Magnússon, an archivist of a Danish king, who collected and preserved ancient manuscripts of sagas – and he did it during the poorest and most repressive years in Iceland! Iceland’s Bell is also an epic narrative of the struggle of a small nation to stay alive during the time where everything seems to be falling apart.

Askur Alas, translator of the novel and the dramatization: “This book contains in itself a historical novel, a tragic love story as well as a humorous and exciting thriller. But one thing’s for sure – it is a story about the independence of the Icelandic people, maybe even of all the small nations of the world; it is a story about a nation’s dismal perishing, about a ray of hope for regaining independence and about the search for values from the hearts of people and their roots. Maybe that’s the reason why Iceland’s Bell is also so important to Estonians.”

The play premiered in the big hall on 10 August 2012.

Lavastaja Priit Pedajas
Kunstnik Riina Degtjarenko
Helilooja Liisa Hirsch

Tõlkinud Askur Alas

Osades Jan Uuspõld, Indrek Sammul, Tõnu Oja, Hilje Murel, Taavi Teplenkov, Guido Kangur, Tõnu Kark, Maria Klenskaja, Laine Mägi, Mait Malmsten, Hendrik Toompere jr jr, Tiit Sukk, Kaie Mihkelson, Piret Krumm.

Dates Start time Kirjeldus Stage