On writing: Decent People
In drama, Sigurbjörg Þrastardóttir likes atmosphere and subtle changes in atmosphere. “For me it’s more important than the plot,” she explained, at the Poetry House Live Seminar (Hosted by The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation in partnership with the University of Roehampton, July 2016). Coming from poetry as a way into theatre, she liked the “unconventional link,” between literary text and theatrical dialogue and drew on words and phrases from Halldor Laxness’ novels and one of his poems. “He’s constantly thinking about writing poetry so may have something “not logical to say”.
This is how Sigurbjörg describes her approach to writing the play.
“I wanted to create my own characters, instead of being tied to Laxness himself or his characters entirely. That’s how I came up with my two main voices, who converse throughout the play, alongside (re)constructing a physical element of the house. They are building a small new part of the house, or, of the poet’s history, like we are doing every day, by examining his work or talking about him or translating his work. We are the makers of his history, now, in a way.
What was it that inspired her about the poet?
“His use of language is quite characteristic for him, and I wanted to keep that. Therefore most of his lines are from his own writing, which also makes sense, as he is composing texts throughout the play. Also, Laxness’s wit is an inspiration.”
How was she inspired by the poet’s house?
“By it’s location in the countryside, and how it stands out there, almost both in time and space. It’s like it has been transplanted from another era, another world, but at the same time it couldn’t be located anywhere else.”