The Black Rider

The Black Rider – The casting of magic bullets
Rogaland Theatre, Norway 2014

Original text by William Burroughs, Music and Lyrics by Tom Waits.
Norwegian adaption for Rogaland Theatre by Rolf Alme.

The original text is based on a German legend called “Der Freischutz”. It tells the story about a young man selling himself to the Devil in order to learn how to shoot and hunt so that he can merry the daughter of the forester. Selling oneself to the Devil normally goes very wrong in old legends and he ends up shooting his own girlfriend during his own wedding party.

In my adaption and staging I found it interesting to discuss the phenomenon of the Devil. One can actually read my performance in such a way that a young Polish tourist that gets lost in a dark forest driving his Mercedes-Benz is forced to play the Devil because the people in the forest think that this foreigner coming to their forest must be the Devil. High on cocaine and dead drunk on whisky the people of the forest are seeing things that have never happened and hearing things no one has ever said. The young Polish tourist has in reality just fallen in love with the young man that wants to learn how to shoot. He helps him out with his own shotgun and bullets and as we all know grim accidents can happen when shooting in a cloud of cocaine…

The actors are all on stage during the entire performance and they function as a chorus telling us the story in a mixture of English and Norwegian, rime and prose while singing, screaming and speaking. To a large extent they sound like wild animals of the forest. They are constructing the flow of expressionistic images in a universe inspired by Tom Waits’ raw whisky-based sounds and William Burroughs’ anarchist and cocaine-based texts. The images and the music insist on the Devil’s existencewhile in reality we just see a contemporary love-story between two young men.