A performance based on the award winning documentary The Will about two brothers struggling to make ends meet. They have been waiting all their lives to inherit millions from their now dead grand father. Henrik finds himself in the centre of everybody’s demands. In the struggle to find his own way between father, brother and wife. Who to trust and what to do? He is held down by his father and in breaking off to find himself and become free he needs to let go of everything around him including the money, father and his brother.

2013. Eventministeriet The Royal Danish Theatre. Script, director and design: Kasper Sejersen. Producer: Rikke Hedeager. Dramaturg: Silja Løvik. Actors: Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Thomas Magnussen, Ulver Skuli Abildgaard and Stine Fischer Christensen. Costumes: Anne Sofie Bruun. Light design: Elizabeth Dyrh. Sound Design: Rasmus Balch. Technician: Lars Porskær Møller. Assistant: Christine Seierstad.
Based on the documentary film The Will by Christian Sønderby Jepsen.

The Will reviews

Heartbreaking tragicomic! ★★★★★
The reality surpasses fiction. “The Will” that took everyone by storm as a documentary –  also functions with a blast on the stage.

The background’s cardboard wall is through out the performance painted with lines and points from the characters. As always in The Red Room’s performances the set is really super simple. Focus is on the story and it is particularly strong in The Will, which is based on Christian Sønderby Jepsen’s award-winning documentary of the same name. It is a wild story with masses of deceive and a huge heritage waiting just around the corner. Here it is the characters on stage that pulls the load.

Henrik (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) is our protagonist. With Elvis sunglasses and a fundamental belief in the good of man. Impressive enough he has not been completely foiled by his cynical father and brother Christian’s hard addict fate. He is a moving centre of this family saga where everything has gone from bad to worse since their mother’s death.

In just an hour, we get a sharp insight into this family’s dissolution and collapse in which the grandfather’s huge fortune, that the sons may inherit a good deal of, definitely does not make things easier. Is Henrik’s wife really only looking for money? And, is Petra – the mother’s sister – trying to cheat them of their share? Intrigues piling up aided by the father’s sleazy way of all the time pretending “just wanting to help”, but does nothing but creates discord.

The two sons struggle for holding onto what is left of family feeling and unity is touching. And their emotions is communicated effectively through loud Rammstein intermezzos, which blows the audience back. We almost physically feel their pain and anger, and not least the huge amounts of repressed frustration that needs an outlet. Another thing that works strongly is cuts from the old family movies where Henrik is with a thai prostitute. The travel memories from these vacations with the father, is equally parts heartbreaking and thoughtful.

It’s all there to cry about, but even the saddest are in this absurd universe also comical. As when Henrik flat notes:  “If I had known all my life that I wouldn’t get the money, I would have fucking done something sensible.”  Or when he confronts Christian (excellent played by Thomas Magnussen) with the marijuana plant that mysteriously has gone quite skinny. It seems so measly – both the plant’s condition and his brother’s hopeless denial – that it is hard not to both laugh and cry.

The performance is in that way close to the documentary and does it almost as good. Here with the extra twist that reality in fact surpasses fiction on stage. The father could easily seem like a parody but having seen the film again you just have to recognise No – he is exactly as devious and unpleasant as Ulver Skuli Abildgaard plays him.

You can only hope for more of these snack size theatre experiences that goes strait to your heart.

 Gudrun Hagen, Kultunaut