A Minute With: Icelandic writer on setting a musical in an elbow

Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:58am EDT
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By Barbara Goldberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sometimes the best way to get to the heart of a story is through the elbow, said Ivar Pall Jonsson, the Icelandic creator of the new rock musical "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter."

The musical, which debuts on Wednesday at the Minetta Lane Theater in New York, is about the consequences of the global financial crisis of 2008, which triggered the collapse of Iceland's banking system and resulted in the criminal convictions of some of its leaders.

"Despite the serious nature of the subject, the piece is meant to entertain - first and foremost," said Jonsson, a former journalist from Reykjavik.

He put the cautionary tale in a surreal setting because he said it allowed him to simplify and focus on the heart of the story.

Jonsson spoke to Reuters about where the idea for the musical about love and deception in Elbowville originated, and why he set the musical in an elbow.

Q: Why did you write "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter"?

A: Writing music is a necessity for me, and I get really restless if I don’t have my guitar around. This restlessness of the mind also means I have a constant flow of ideas in my head, and I am particularly fascinated by people, in their never ending variety.

I love the idea of a person, whom many would probably find rather unattractive, a furniture painter couch potato, and the thought of a society of tiny people living inside him ...   Continued...

Cady Huffman as Manuela (L) and Marrick Smith as Peter perform a scene from the musical "Revolution in the Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter" at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York, in this undated handout photo courtesy of Mostly Human Entertainment and Revolution Productions.   REUTERS/Carol Rosegg/Mostly Human Entertainment and Revolution Productions/Handout via Reuters