Fly-fishing and tying fluff to a hook one does not only catch fish, it makes good friends. Through my fly tying I met Norwegian, actor, author and director – and of course flyfisher, Stein Hiller Elvestad. He lives in Mo i Rana, a town close to the arctic circle. The climate there is astonishingly mild, even though it is so far north.Stein Hiller Elvestad is an actor, play-writer, director and set designer. He was born in Tromsø and is permanently employed actor at “Nordland Teater”. On top of all that he is a real trout-nut and one of the kindest and most open people one can meet. The specific northern Norwegian humor adds a nice edge to his personality.
Yesterday, on May 25th 2016 his play “The art of resurrecting flies.” (Kunsten å vekke døde fluer til live.) head it´s first ever performance. The world premiere was staged at the Stamsund internasjonale teaterfestival (SIT) in Norway.
The play is a unique autobiographical solo performance, written and performed by the Norwegian, actor, author and director – and of course flyfisher – Stein Hiller Elvestad.
Stein, tell us a little bit about yourself and your flyfishing carrier. How and when did you begin with the «sport» and why is it that you got so drawn into that you even wrote a play about flyfishing?
Fishing has always been a part of my life. I was born in Tromsø and raised into an angling family. And I guess I have flyfishing in my blood as well. Watching my two older brothers flyfishing in the childhood had a strong influence on me. But my first attemts with a flyrod failed. Then theatre became a great part in my life. So it took many years until I got back to flyfishing and got hooked on the passion for it. So I have been flyfishing for seven years now and love it madly.
Since neither Ibsen nor Shakespeare wrote a play about flyfishing, then I just had to do it. Three and a half years ago the idea to combine theatre and flyfishing was born. Inspired by the group Jazz & flyfishing, Lars Von Trier and many of the stories my friends and family told me I started to develop the play. And the artistic director at my theatre thought it was a great concept. And here we are. It is made and ready to meet the world. The art of resurrecting flies is a theatre piece on love, flyfishing and the obsession for the most important hobby in life.
The play deals with the extent of how deep you can fall into the hobby, the passion, the lifestyle and the obsession for flyfishing – and the consequences which follow.
I wrote the text based on my own experiences, documentary material, ancient legends, and collected fishing tales fro friends and family. Through text, music and choreography, I invite the audience to be with me to river and back. In Norwegian I´d say “into the deep”, but I´m not sure how that could be translated.
How did you achieve this? What is the plot of your play?
As you know, I am from Norway, the northern part to be precise – and we are known for our humor. So I approached the topic that way. The story is that the main character, called Peter Simonsen, was sent to the shrink by his ex-wife to find a cure for his fishing madness.
And the shrink is actually a Lars Von Trier look – alike. (the famous danish film director.) But his real name is Ulf Rise. (An anagram for Lucifer.) The play on stage is a conversation between Peter and the shrink, or Lars Von Trier, and through memories and dreams Peters life as a fly-fisher is revealed, from childhood, through lovestory and divorce, he gets sacked, and in his misery he goes fishing. And than unexpected events takes place.
The conversation is enhanced by images from fishing and flytying which are projected on a screen at the back of the stage, as well as live feed from two cameras in front of the stage. I was fortunate to find two very creative fly-fishermen – Håvard Stubø (guitarist with the band Jazz & flyfishing) who wrote the music and Stein Evensen who supplied the graphics and images.
The play became a genuine and dedicated performance made by passionate people. Needless to say I am very happy with the result and so are the critics and the audience.
Thanks you very much for all the insights, Stein. One last question – are there plans to translate the material to other languages?
maybe, yeah ……… well, we have already discussed it, and in the second any invitations are sent from abroad, the story turns into a play in english!
Last – what is your favourite fishing – and where?
My favourite fishing ? Tricky one. I would say – flyfishing, single or doublehanded rod. But if i have to pick one it would have to be dryflies, for salmon and seatrout. Great fun! But I also love nymphing. So, as I said, difficult. Favourite fishing spot is of course some of the rivers close by, like Rana river Saltdal river. But i always dream of fishing other places.
So this summer i will be visiting Gimån, Stavre in Sweden. And The river Driva. Of course, one of the best sides of flyfishing is meeting other flyfishermen and women, and get to know them. You make friends through this passion.
Thanks Stein … brilliant. Good luck with the play and “break a leg”
Kunsten å vekke døde fluer til live “The art of resurrecting flies.”
Director: Audny Chris Holsen
Choreograph: Sigrid Edvardsson
Lightdesign: Johan Haugen
Music: Håvard Stubø
Images: Stein Evensen
Images – courtesy Stein Hiller Elvestad – Nordland Theater – Interview by Thomas Züllich, tzflyfishing & Sexyloops