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Fruitful collaboration

Actor Nicolai Cleve Broch (38) is pleased to be able to continue his collaboration with Agnes Kittelsen (33) following the tv-series Halvbroren.

Agnes Kittelsen and Nicolai Cleve Broch
Collaboration: Nicolai Cleve Broch thinks he had a nice collaboration with Agnes Kittelsen on Halvbroren, and is pleased to play along side her in Bedrag. Photo: Erik Berg, Riksteateret

– Per Olav Sørensen had directed Halvbroren, and knew me, Agnes and Samuel Fröler from before. Agnes and I had a very nice collaboration on Halvbroren that we wanted to continue. You get so much from working together across multiple projects – when you know each other better, it is easier to make things work. So it was clearly a deliberate composition by Per Olav and also a desire from us three to get to work together again, says the actor.

Despite a nice collaboration, it is not always easy to be on tour.

– You get to know each other weill, we are together many hours every day. It is also important to have some privacy, some days we keep to ourselves all day and take a break from each other. I think that’s important. The one thing that is hard about being on tour is to miss your family. I think that it’s worst for me, the kids don’t have time to miss. When I call them, there’s always something they’re doing, so I think it is worse for me than for them.

Broch has not been so much on TV and in movies since the movie Max Manus – most recently he played Barnum Nilsen in Halvbroren – yet he has worked a lot in the meantime.

– I’ve worked very much in the meantime, actually. After Max Manus I started directing, and I’ve since directed for both radio and TV. Meanwhile, I worked part time on stage. In other words, I worked all the time, but I’m keen to wait for interesting projects. Therefore I could have done more film, but it might’ve been films that I wouldn’t have been so proud of.

His latest project, the piece Bedrag, is an extremely dialogue-driven piece, which requires a lot of presence from the actors.

– It requires an enormous concentration, it is an exercise in being present and listening to each other. You get tired in a slightly different way than usual, in the head and not the body. Meanwhile, I look at it primarily as a gift and a tremendous opportunity. You’re rarely allowed to play in something that is so refined and with such delicious dialogues. They’re written in a very musical way. I feel that the text is breathing, and isn’t so difficult to learn.

The play puts a lot of responsibility on the actors.

– The director has really removed all of the window dressing, so that what is central is the dialogue and the actors. It was deliberate and a part of the reason he chose us. I would also argue that even if every night is similar to each other, one is never quite like the other, and it is important to nurture the performance. So it is on film too – the big difference is that on film you’ll nail a scene one hundred percent once while being on stage requires you to nail it a hundred percent time after time. It requires a much wider and deeper preparation – film is a more spontaneous art form. When you’ve captured something it’s done, and then you usually won’t manage to do it again for a very long period of time.

During his career, Broch worked extensively on both the stage and in front of the camera, and asserts that one thing is closest to his heart;

– The fact that I can work both ways is closest to my heart. Both complement each other very fine – if I have filmed much I miss being on stage, and vice versa. They also have their own energies, but both are fine to be in. In the theater you’re a part of conveying the story all along, while film is much more about creating moments, and then they’re put together as a whole by someone else afterwards. From an actor’s standpoint, they’re two different ways of telling a story, and one is just as interesting as the other.

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