Thursday, September 27, 2007

[front page] best of iceland news

This is more a private indulgence but I'm starting a series, today, of The Best of Iceland, returning to the start of my archives and running one post a day from old Iceland Review stories. [Don't worry - you won't be denied the new ones.]

It would be simply criminal to deny newer readers the chance to see some of these.

To fully savour the flavour, it should be remembered that each of these were not just stories but front page news and often the lead story. In posts with many Icelandic names, I strongly suggest you try reading them aloud for full effect and don't leave anything out.

Today's was a vital piece of news at the time, after some apparently unsavoury incidents on the green isle:

In an article in Morgunbladid* today critic Asgeir Ingvarsson complains that Icelanders in general do not know when to applaud at cultural events.

More generally, he states that people should voice their approval or disapproval more freely, but at the right moment. The biggest complaint is that people clap their hands in the middle of classical works. To those he gives very good advice:

a) Buy the program so you know when the piece is over;

b) Never be the first one to applaud.

Secondly, if you do applaud, don't do so for an extended period of time. Never whistle or stamp your feet. That is very primitive. If someone performs well, don't hesitate to call: Bravo!, Brava! or Bravi! but this should only be done if the artist touches a special string in your heart.

Only if someone has managed an extraordinary feat should the audience give a standing ovation, preferably only at premiers.

If you want to give flowers to the artist, it is in very bad taste to bring them into the theatre and deliver them yourself. You should leave them at the ticket counter and let theatre employees deliver them at the end of the show.

If the show is terrible you should not applaud, in case you walk out before the end of the show. And if someone has done badly, according to the article, it is spiritually purifying to boo the artist.

*Morgunbladid, as you would know, translates into the accurately named Morning Newpaper and Frettirbladid - Evening Newspaper, in case there was any confusion. Good, that's that sorted.

So there it is - the justification you've been searching for. For serious theatre-buffs, you might like to check out this page.