The Radical Flu: a radio play
After their 2019 performance Grini and the futures of Norway, Rose Hammer was to produce the performance Pharmakos (The Plague). Pharmakos is a Greek term that is at the origin of the word pharmacy (remedy, solution) but which etymologically means “the sacrifice or exile of a scapegoat”. Pharmakos was originally to be presented in Sofienberg Kirke, Oslo, in October 2020, staging different noteworthy political and cultural events taking place around 1918, a very significant year in Norway’s history.
Rose Hammer started work on this episode in September 2019, adapting the 1947 novel The Plague by Camus (and the 1965 opera edition by Roberto Gerhard) to the 1918 epidemic of the Spanish Flu that swept Norway and the world, having a decisive effect in the politics of the XXth century. The recent, ongoing, traumatic corona virus pandemia gave a twist to this production, turning it into an urgent, real time play, involving the unpredictable and the real.
A coincidence due to fate/ can be so sinister and fantastic in character/ that one is tempted to draw apparently logical, / but actually unfounded, conclusions./ During the course of 5 days/ The “Epidemic” manuscript was created and written down/ in and around this apartment./ That an actual epidemic/ was approaching during those 5 days,/ and that its awful outbreak and script completion coincided,/ is one of those inexplicable coincidences./ From “Epidemic”, Lars von Trier, 1987.
As of April 2020, Rose Hammer ackowledged that no theatre presentation in the conventional sense of the word would be possible to be carried out in October 2020, due to the Corona virus crisis and the preventive measures that need to be taken into account. Therefore, Rose Hammer changed the format of this new episode to a radio play.
While working on our radio play, the Black Lives Matters eruption took place, following the murder of George Floyd. So what had started as a medical and public health situation, exploded into a transnational revolution, the flu radicalised, and became The Radical Flu. This is what we are working on, a radio play under the name of The Radical Flu.
Where to follow The Radical Flu
We thought such a radical change of direction, such an U-turn, deserved its own webpage, where we could upload our audio tracks and our scripts – where the construction of a very complex piece of dialogue and sound could be mapped. This is happening here: theradicalflu.org