‘Hjälp sökes’ press conference held today

Benny and Björn's latest collaboration for the stage opens in Stockholm on 8 February
Benny and Björn’s latest collaboration for the stage opens in Stockholm on 8 February

The SvD Kultur section reports on a press conference earlier today for new musical Hjälp sökes:

Interest ahead of the premiere of the musical Hjälp sökes at Orionteatren is great from all sides and it’s not surprising. The songs have been written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus while Kristina Lugn has written the screenplay.

Taking the stage at the premiere next week will be Johan Ulveson, Sofia Pekkari, Magnus Roosmann and twelve animals, including two giant cows and a horse.

The show was conceived in the autumn by Director Lars Rudolfsson and animal trainer Suzanne Berdino.

The musical’s story centres on brothers Axel (Johan Ulveson) and Engelbrekt (Magnus Roosmann). They are farmers and wrestle simultaneously with domestic work and existential questions. When they advertise in the local newspaper and ask for help, it arrives in the form of a mother (Suzanne Berdino), her daughter Hillevi (Sofia Pekkari) and a goat.

“It is theatre, musical theatre, circus and poetry. I don’t know how to describe it really. It is a lush mixture and it’s only now I’m starting to get an overall picture of what it is. But it is absolutely the funniest thing I’ve ever done,” says actor Sofia Pekkari.

Johan Ulveson agrees. “It’s a pleasure to take part and it’s fun. At the same time, I don’t know quite what we have created.”

The show is described as abstract and concrete at the same time. It is definitely a project that’s different, on that all involved agree. It was also the attraction.

Benny Andersson
Benny Andersson

“It is very difficult to imagine how the audience will perceive the animals. That’s why this was fun from the beginning, because no one knows.” said Benny Andersson.

“I have reservations about my abilities as a playwright, I think I am a bit too poetic in my texts,” said Kristina Lugn. “The lyrics in Hjälp sökes are more precise, plainer to grasp.”

“I could be a little clearer in the lyrics when the spoken dialogue is not crystal clear. It is poetic with rapid associations in different directions that I could wrap together in the lyrics.” says Björn Ulvaeus.

With just a week to go to the premiere at Orionteatern, no one really knows exactly what is going to be made of Hjälp sökes. “It is spaced out, it’s totally different.” says Björn Ulvaeus.

When reporters from the morning and evening newspapers are rubbing shoulders with reporters from farming and pet publications, we know that it is no ordinary theatrical press conference.

The ensemble is not worried. “Whatever the perception, whether we succeed or not, it will certainly not be boring to watch. There is a lot of great music, there’s cows, it’s going to be fun!” said Sofia Pekkari.

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