Teatro Piccolo Arsenale
featuring Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson
concept, music and texts Erna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar Jóhannsson
production/distribution Esther Welger-Barboza
People who went now say “I was there” with a certain amount of pride. People who didn’t really wish they had, a sign that the event was one that was not to be missed. We are talking about the first concert – held a few years ago at the Boston Bar in Reykjavík – of Lazyblood, the Icelandic band with choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir and musician Valdimar Jóhannsson, a member of the punk group “Reykjavik!”
Both trained in Brussels – she at the P.A.R.T.S. founded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, he at the SAE Institute, from which he graduated in sound engineering – since 2006 they have shared many working experiences and together founded the Shalala company, which is coming to Venice with We Saw Monsters, a work they both conceived and will be performing in.
But what is so special about a concert by the Lazyblood duo? First, it is not just a concert, in which musicians take a typical rockstar approach, including the posing and the jumping, and at a certain point the audience starts to sing and dance with the band.
Erna Ómarsdóttir and Valdimar Jóhannsson present a real performance during which they use the space in a totally unconventional way, they slither along the floor like snakes, sometimes fighting their way through the crowd to end up at the feet of the astounded spectators. Their way of appearing on stage has a powerfully theatrical and choreographic quality, but what is most striking is the amount of pure energy they are able to release through their voices: true sound acrobatics that range from a soft whisper to the cry of an animal, and on through languid lullabies and sordid guttural sounds.
To try and describe this musical-dramatic texture is a purely stylistic exercise, because their work lies on the brink of that which can be communicated in words: an experience that – the two performers promise – will make you go home with a smile on your face and your heart brimming with tenderness”.