The performance

Jo Strømgren Kompani and Anja Garbarek in an exiting collaboration comissioned by Bergen International Festival. THE ROAD IS JUST A SURFACE is a music-based theatre work which explores the experience of being trapped in an emotionally locked life situation and the longing for moving on from that place.

Legs are aching /
 As he’s faking /
 The will to walk this day /

Anja Garbarek is one of Norway’s most interesting artists, and has since her debut in 1992 been provoking the musical tension between art and pop, with her visual and theatrical expression and uncommon richness of detail. She gained international acclaim for her albums ”Balloon Mood” (1996) and ”Smiling & Waving” (2001). Her musical universe has been described as profoundly visual.

Now she is launching brand new material for the first time since 2005, and, together with choreographer and director Jo Strømgren, she is developing this work of musical theatre, combining her iconic sound landscape with video material, choreography and text.

The collaboration between Anja Garbarek and Jo Strømgren started with a desire to put the music into a theatrical setting, where audiovisual images, choreography, and interaction between the performers on stage will be important elements. For both Garbarek and Strømgren the genre of musical drama is new. This allows the possibility of developing material without regard to genre conventions, as well as experimenting with new dramaturgical impulses.

Performing on stage are Anja Garbarek herself, violaist Bergmund Waal Skaslien and dancer Line Tørmoen.

The end is never aware of a beginning
And the road is just a surface

Duration: 70 minutes, no interval
Language: English
Premiere: 24 May 2018, Den Nationale Scene/Bergen International Festival, Bergen, Norway


© Bjørn Opsahl
Photo: Bjørn Opsahl
photo: Bjørn Opsahl
Photo: Bjørn Opsahl
Photo: Bjørn Opsahl
photo: Bjørn Opsahl
L1008726 wide
© Bjørn Opsahl

Previously touring



Bob: Bergmund Waal Skaslien
Bob´s driving force: Line Tørmoen
Bob as a child, on screen : Maja Dworak Strømgren
Bob´s conscious being/ Narrator/ Mother/ Interviewer: Anja Garbarek

Concept, music, sound design, text: Anja Garbarek
Direction and choreography: Jo Strømgren
Videodesign: Åsmund Bøe
Lighting design: Stephen Rolfe
Scenography and costume: Kristin Torp/ graa hverdag as
Set construction: Simen Aanerud
Scenic painting: Lise Hagen
Make-up and hair-design: Aase Lund Mathisen
Light and video engineers: Oscar Udbye, Eilif Teisbo
Music producers: Anja Garbarek, Kåre Chr. Vestrheim
Sound design and music: Nils Jakob Langvik
Mix: Mike Hartung
Live Soundmix: Stein-André Hovden / Kristina Ringvold
Photo: Bjørn Opsahl
Produced by: Jo Strømgren Kompani
Production manager: Vanessa Storm
Co-produced and commissioned by: Bergen International Festival/Festspillene i Bergen
In collaboration with: Drabant Music and The Norwegian Opera and Ballet
Supported by: Arts Council Norway, FFUK, NOPA, Kristiania University College and TONO