The Good People of Iceland


The Good People of Iceland (2010)

About the play.

The current economic crisis in Iceland has forced the nation to disrobe and stand naked in front of the mirror. To discard designer suits for woollen sweaters.
Wine coolers are out and freezers for stockpiling discount meat are in. Camping wagons have replaced holidays in the Caribbean. The good people of Iceland gorge on blood sausage instead of foie gras. The nation's self image is shattered due to recent the financial crash in Iceland which resulted in a complete meltdown of banks, institutions and the government . The need for a new consensus among the nation is necessary but completely absent at the moment. The nation finds itself in an ideological vacuum. There are no new ideas or fresh ideology to be found within the political parties. The future now lies in the hands of the nation due to the failure of the neo conservative rule of the last fifteen years.
The good people of Iceland find themselves unable to cope with the current situation. They lack the necessary dialogue to build consensus. There is no trust in the government or national institutions at this moment due to their negligence in regulating the financial market and in a way allowing for its collapse.
The play deals with the struggle of common icelandic people, through dialogue, to come to terms with the current situation. But it seems that their ability to have a constructive dialogue is somewhat lacking. In an age of individualism your needs as a consumer tend to come first. Your wants and needs define you. And in engaging the others around you its hard to escape that definition. So the dialogue becomes overly self-centered.
With the media output of news, entertainment and advertisement all mixed up together with equal importance on the war in Iraq, Britney Spears new boyfriend and the next generation of Ford Focus it becomes a huge task for to prioritise; to decide on what´s trivial and what´s important. National and religious emblems, company logos and slogans are all mixed up together in an effort to project some sort of national identity. The sad truth is that at the moment the only thing that probably defines the icelandic nation at the moment is the idea of the other, the immigrant, the non-icelander.


People in a cage bound together by a common trauma, doing their best to navigate in a landscape of seemingly endless bills. Bills that they are not sure they should pay. Doing their best to fend for themselves. Waiting for a solution, waiting for a sign. Not as a group bound by a common identity but as individuals. The president speaks and gives them a task to solve as a Nation. It is now their responsibility to construct a general consensus on the way forward but in a world inhabited by identities generated through their consumption the task of defining themselves, as a nation with common ideals is nearly impossible. In this ideological void you can count on very few things but it is certain that everybody has an opinion on everything, the bills will keep on coming, you can always cook something from frozen chicken, everything is of equal importance, everybody believes everything about everybody, somebody has to pay the bill and that foreigners are not us. With the absence of a common understanding about their identity and values, they try to construct a personal narrative with stories of their pets, trips to Euro Disney, tips on toilet paper and how to make a Mojito. That becomes their way of proclaiming their core values only to be interrupted by fabulous offers, good TV or a fresh batch of bills. Is the solution to just to compromise and settle for less and try to keep their dignity while waiting for the hailstorm of bills to end?

Bergur Þór Ingólfsson
Dóra Jóhannsdóttir
Halldór Gylfason
Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir
Hallur Ingólfsson
Jón Atli Jónasson
Jón Páll Eyjólfsson
Björn Bergsteinn Guðmundsson
Halldóra Magnúsdóttir
Christopher Astridge

Reykjavík City Theatre 2010 New stage
Wiesbaden New plays from Europe 

Extended material



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