Ensemble Contemporánea with the Danish artist, performer Fritz Gerhard Berthelsen retells the cruel fairy tale “The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen from 1847 in a performing art concert-performance. It is about a shadow taking over his master’s life. It focuses on a relevant theme of creating an identity and maintaining it in an impenetrable world. Berthelsen moves around in the role as the main character a wise man, his shadow and a princes, surrounded by live-electronics and video projections on a screen. Music performed at clarinet and bass clarinet is challenged by a laptop with beats and loops. The interaction between these artistic sources forms the line in the story. With this idea, Contemporánea has set the focus on an important issue told through contemporary art.
– To retell Hans Christian Andersen’s key story “The Shadow” about identity, in a captivating form, that can inspire reflections on a multifaceted media reality
– To establish an artistic experience in the form of a concert performance
– To make focus on the fact, that important stories successfully can be told through contemporary art
H. C. Andersen had only the written word for communicating. His text is extremely evocative and figurative and therefore also it is well suited for music dramatic performance. By using the latest digital media, we have established such a performance. We have combined electronic music with a video (back projection), spoken text sequences, and performance. All are built on top of a multifaceted classic/ rhythmic contemporary music. On stage is clarinetist/performer Fritz Gerhard Berthelsen, he interacts with electronic music and the video. He changes the role between the wise man, the shadow, and the princess, following the text and performing the clarinet and bass clarinet live.
The Shadow is about Hans Christian Andersen’s own struggle to find his place in society as an artist. A wise man lets his shadow explore poetry, which ends up that his shadow finally takes over his own life and marries the princess. Finally, the shadow kills the wise man. This cruel story by Andersen focuses on the theme of creating an identity and maintaining it in an impenetrable world. Andersen’s 150-year-old text is more actual than ever. The experience of today for children and adolescents is sometimes that the virtual universes are occupying, even swallowing their identity. The question: “who are you?” in the real world, can sometimes be difficult for them to figure out.
Development and progress of the project
The project The Shadow started to be developed in the Autumn of 2012 and it had a successful premiere in August 2013 in Copenhagen (Denmark). It has since been played more than 200 times in concert halls, schools, community centers, etc. in Denmark, Argentina, Germany, Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden, Iceland.
The Shadow was initially developed with a focus on children from the age of 9 to 11 years. But we have since had the experience, that, with its many abstract layers, The Shadow is suitable for both young and old. In the case of school performance in Denmark, it is appropriate to play performances for divided age groups as following, preschool (0-2 grade), middle school (3-6 grade), early adolescence (7-10 grade), and finally high school of its own. In a concert hall, it can be performed for all groups together. It is recommendable to establish performances for a public of max 900-1000 people. The Shadow can be performed anywhere in any language