ED2019 Caro Meets ED2019 Dance & Physical Theatre ED2019 Interviews

Kristoffer Louis Andrup Pedersen: Raiders Of The Grey Gold

By | Published on Wednesday 7 August 2019

Danish company Don Gnu are renowned for their brilliant shows specialising in fabulous physical stunts, slapstick comedy and moving messages.

‘Raiders Of The Grey Gold’, the show they’re performing this year in Edinburgh – for an all too short run – focuses on the ageing process and the march of time.

To find out more about the show, and the company behind it, I spoke to performer, company founder and artistic director Kristoffer Louis Andrup Pedersen.

CM: Can you start by telling us what kind of performance to expect from the show? How would you describe it in terms of genre?
KLAP: You can expect to be amazed, entertained and moved by our ‘physical slapstick laid back anarchistic power’ dance – also known as s.l.a.p. dance. We use comedy, physical stunts and a non-verbal approach mixed with bittersweet reflections on life. There is also a speeding mobility scooter and some very baggy y fronts!

CM: What is the show about? Does it tell a story?
KLAP: The dream of old age – and the fear of reaching it! In the show we follow the everyday life of two elderly men locked in a hilarious battle over who controls the TV… a battle where dreams, the laws of physics and reality have no limits. It’s a tribute to living life at the gate of death and the loneliness of the ones left behind.

CM: What themes does the show explore?
KLAP: Death, life, old age, decay of time and physicality, friendship and loneliness.

CM: What would you say is the message of the show?
KLAP: How to embrace the beauty of life despite the passage of time. Inside every person is a treasure trove of memories and dreams that takes them on a journey every day- even though their body might no longer be up for it.

CM: Can you explain how the show got its name..?
KLAP: In Denmark the term “the grey gold” was invented by politicians to alter our understanding of the elderly, from an economic ‘burden’ to a profit for society. Even though a person can’t fulfill the obligations of a full time job they still have a lot to offer – and in Don Gnu we truly believe that and in the power of the elderly!

CM: Can we talk about the company, now? How did Don Gnu come into being, and what are its aims and ethos?’
KLAP: The company was founded in 2010 by two choreographers me and Jannik Elkær. Today the company is one of the most prolific touring companies in Denmark, with extensive tour activity both at home and abroad. The company’s name is built around the paradox embedded in the name Don Gnu – ‘Don’ as an individual and ‘Gnu’, or wildebeest, as a herd animal – the constellation of both the individual and the collective creates dynamism and experimentation

CM: What ambitions does the company have for the future?
KLAP: To keep innovating and developing the physical language and to keep on making new productions that enable people to recognise themselves and make the world more cohesive.

CM: What drew you back to Edinburgh? What do you like about performing here?
KLAP: We just love to be part of this crazy theatre-kettle that constitutes the Fringe. It is such an exciting time with so much to choose from and a great opportunity to gain inspiration and new ideas from meeting our colleagues from all over the world.

CM: Have you been seeing other shows while you’ve been at the Fringe? Is there anything you’d recommend?
KLAP: We haven’t had much time to see other shows yet – the Festival time is just so hectic – but amongst others we are really looking forward to seeing are ‘Are We Not Drawn Onward To New erA’ by Ontroerend Goed, ‘Backbone’ from Underbelly and Gravity & Other Myths, and ‘Humans’ by Circa and ‘Un Poyo Rojo’. Of course, we also recommend you go see all the other nordic productions at this year’s Fringe.

CM: What advice would you have to newcomers to the Fringe?
KLAP: Go see ‘Raiders of the Grey Gold’ by the extraordinary Danish company Don Gnu!

CM: What’s coming up next for you, after the Festival?
KLAP: We will only be at Edinburgh for the first week, because we are starting up our new production, ‘Pedestrian’, in August, premiering on 5 Oct. Besides that we have multiple touring plans both in Denmark and internationally, and hopefully we will make some new contacts at the Fringe, so we can keep on bringing our shows into the world.

‘Raiders Of The Grey Gold’ was performed at Zoo Southside at Edinburgh Festival 2019.