Different Trains – a successful end of season at the Jewish Theatre

October 4, 2008

Different Trains by Steve Reich

The Fleshquartet and glass sculptures by Ann Wåhlström
Photo by Jonas Lindström

Pia Forsgren's Gesamtkunstwerk of the piece by Steve Reich received rave reviews and was a resounding success with the public. Due to this success, 68 extra performances were given during the autumn 2008 and spring 2009.

Photo by Siri Isgren

4 October 2008

Different Trains by Steve Reich – A staged concert 
Steve Reich / Pia Forsgren / The Fleshquartet / Ann Wåhlström

Music by: Steve Reich
Direction/concept/stage design: Pia Forsgren
Musicians: The Fleshquartet
Glass installation: Ann Wåhlström
Costume design: Mikael T Zielinski

Pia Forsgren is realising a long-cherished dream – to build a theatre environment entirely out of glass. She is now staging Steve Reich’s Different Trains. The musicians and audience are surrounded by billowing glass shapes in a play with light, harmonies and shifting transparencies.

Mattias Helldén, The Fleshquartet
Photo by Jonas Lindström

The American composer Steve Reich, recently appointed member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music, spent a lot of time on trains as a child, commuting between the American west and east coasts. Had he been living in Europe at the time, in the early 1940s, as a Jew, he would have been put on different trains entirely. Different Trains relates both Steve Reich’s own childhood journeys and those that took the Jews to the extermination camps.

Photo by Siri Isgren

Pia Forsgren first contacted the artist Ann Wåhlström about her visions of a theatre environment made of glass, and Ann was intrigued by the idea. Ann had recently found the glass foundry Kavalier when travelling in the Czech Republic. Under her guidance the glass-blowers at Kavalier have produced shapes that will be used to build the environment.

Ann has a link to the Theatre from the time when it was a gallery for Kosta Boda, and she has had several exhibitions there, including Saturnus and Blue Snails - Green Seahorses.

Ann Wåhlström has studied glass-blowing and design in Sweden and at the Pilchuck Glass School in the USA and says that this has given her the best of two worlds: Swedish traditional craftsmanship and American independence from tradition.

Different Trains is performed by The Fleshquartet. The prerecorded voices are from Steve Reich’s original production. The performance also features a new work by The Fleshquartet.

Christian Olsson,The Fleshquartet
Photo by Jonas Lindström

The Fleshquartet has been active for 25 years and has collaborated with a great variety of artists, including Joakim Thåström, Robyn, Moondog and Elvis Costello. They have been involved in various productions for the stage, for instance dance performances by the choreographer Mats Ek and the Cullberg Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Paris Opera. In 2007 they released the album Voices of Eden.

Steve Reich

Flesh Quartet

Ann Wahlstrom

Proventus' engagement in the Jewish Theatre