14. - 18. NOVEMBER 2018

Amalie Olesen (DK) & Stertabenda (IS) - INSOMNIA

The joke that never dies


Wednesday 14th November & Thursday 15th November @ 19:30 // National Theater, Lindargata 7, 101 Reykjavík // English // 120 minutes

Get your tickets here


For the past year, Stertabenda has immersed itself in researching and devising material inspired by the iconic TV-show Friends, its characters and trivia. Now the group is finalising a theatre piece which aims to address this ‘90s phenomena’s role in shaping, soothing and dividing generations of young people today.

Insomnia addresses Friends as the mythology of our generation, as a contemporary Völuspá; and mythologies always carry a testimony of the times.

What truths and narratives are to be found in the sitcom and its familiar characters? Why is the canned laughter so soothing? How do we look back and reckon with our upbringing? Can we still laugh at the discriminating jokes we grew up with? Or has political correctness really killed comedy?

Stertabenda’s objective is to create a bold contemporary criticism of dominant ideologies and humour, where no one is safe: Neither the fans nor the haters, neither the woke editors of history nor the apathetic. 


Playwright: Amalie Olesen

Director: Gréta Kristín Ómarsdóttir

Music: Hljómsveitin Eva 

Choreographer: Heba Eir Kjeld

Dramaturg: Hekla Elísabet Aðalsteinsdóttir 

Scenography: Halldór Sturluson

Costume design: Eva Berger & Alexía Rós Gylfadóttir 

Lighting design: Magnús Arnar Sigurðarson 

Performers: Bjarni Snæbjörnsson, María Heba Þorkelsdóttir, Sigríður Eir Zophoníasardóttir, Tinna Sverrisdóttir, Vala Höskuldsdóttir, Þorleifur Einarsson

Producer in Reykjavík: Heba Eir Kjeld

Producer in Copenhagen: Malene Begtrup Andersen

Artistic coordinator in Tampere: Jaakko Lenni-Taattola 

Collaborators : The National Theatre of Iceland and SPECTACULAR, Reykjavik International Performance Festival


Insomnia is funded by the Icelandic Ministry of Education, Science & Culture, the City of Reykjavík and Nordisk Kulturfond

The group’s debut performance was an adaptation by director Gréta Kristín of the play Perplexed by Marius von Mayenburg. The show premiered at the National Theatre of Iceland in September 2016. It was well received by critics and audiences, voted as one of the ‘Performances of the year’ by national newspapers, nominated for the DV - Icelandic Culture awards for Theatre and for The Icelandic Theatre awards as ‘Director of the year’. Gréta Kristín was awarded The Icelandic Theatre awards as ‘Newcomer of the year’ on behalf of Stertabenda in 2017.



- We are a deliberately poor theatre. We recycle and reuse materials in order to create rather than pollute.

- We are curious of the constructs of gender, sexuality and identity, both personal & national.

- We revisit truths in myths and classics and lie about it if we have to.

- We flaunt our faults & flaws and encourage frailty.

- We’re queer, not sure whether we’re here & definitely don’t want anyone to get used to it.

- We believe a musical could save the world.

- We are fearless in mixing forms, genres & mediums and meeting new people.

- We believe friction makes fire.

- If something doesn’t fit, we gaffer tape it together and make sure the cracks are visible.­

- We aspire for corny, tacky, camp, the ambiguous & the confusing.

- We contradict the possible & stage potential alternatives.

- We embrace our own privileges, run them a cold bath and hope they can swim.

- We dance because we’re angry, we sing because we’re scared.

- The audience is the producer of meaning; we only make theatre.

- We bend over & bow to place our hearts above our heads.