International business school cast brings Greek tragedy to Copenhagen stage

International theatre is probably not the first thing you’d associate with Copenhagen Business School. But newcomers and established performers are hoping to change that with their adaptation of the Greek tragedy Elektra.

International business school cast brings Greek tragedy to Copenhagen stage
Some of the cast of CBS Theatre's 'Elektra'. Photo: CBS Theatre

A cold wind blows – sounds familiar? – across Ancient Greece. The king of Argos, hero of the Trojan war, is dead. The princess Elektra has sworn revenge on his killer, the queen…and her mother. Her opportunity arrives when her brother Orestes comes home to avenge their father.

In the absence of a new season of Game of Thrones this year, Copenhagen Business School's CBS Theatre is offering alternative intrigue and murder in an adaptation of Euripides’ ‘Elektra’.

Despite its ancient origins, some of Elektra’s themes remain ominously relevant today. 

“It is about being so locked on achieving one thing that it ends up being your downfall. Klytemnestra isn't capable of fully taking responsibility for taking away Elektra's father from her and Elektra isn't capable of forgiving her mother,” says Kristine Helms, who plays Princess Elektra. 

Somewhat ironically, Greece is absent from the very international cast of Elektra, which features performers from Norway, Germany, Slovenia, Guatemala, Sweden, Italy and Denmark. 

Director and founder of CBS Theatre, Marley Hasselbach, is himself Dutch. 

“I knew there was this gap at CBS. It was case competition after case competition – not a lot of artsy things. I did a lot of theatre in The Netherlands and transitioned into directing two years ago in Amsterdam. When I moved to Copenhagen, I wanted to continue working with performing arts, and so I started CBS Theatre,” Hasselbach says. 

The CBS production follows in the footsteps of Boeing Boeing, which performed to sold-out audiences in March last year.

Norwegian Jakob Espen plays Orestes, brother to Elektra. Espen is a CBS student studying for an MSc in Business Administration and Innovation Healthcare – and rather new to treading the boards. 

“I wanted to try something new and meet new people. It was mostly the social aspect, really. I was once in a school play, but that was a long time ago,” the Norwegian says. 

Orestes is a rather intense role to play, with a high degree of physicality, which appeals to Espen. 

“I really like the physical aspect of the role. I find that aspect much easier to be comfortable with,” he says.

The cast also features a couple of actors with more experience. Pejman Khorsand-Jamal, who plays the Ward, has trained in cities including New York, Berlin, and London, and appeared on several Copenhagen stages. So, what drew Pejman to join the CBS production? 

“I have been interested in experimenting with Greek theatre for some time,” he says. 

“There is a lot of dialogue in it, which makes it a very different acting experience, and that really appealed to me.” 

The role of Klytemnestra, Elektra’s murderous mother, is played by Annethia Lilballe, who has appeared in numerous radio and TV shows in Denmark. 

“For me, it means sharing my professional experience with people younger than me, which is satisfying and meaningful. We have a wonderful connection and we all do our best to create a great process and result. The level of commitment means a lot,” Lilballe says. 

Two of the cast members, Helms and Victoria Elvirose Rishøj, a member of the chorus, have been so inspired by their positive experiences on the amateur stage in Copenhagen that they are now in the process of looking at acting school options. 

So will our international forces align, or will the evil – perhaps in the form of lights, sound and costume changes – lead us to tragedy? Either way, you’re in for a treat.

Elektra opens on the Stage at Huset-KBH on March 21st and runs until March 25th.

Tickets are available now and can be purchased here.

By Malene Ford 

READ ALSO: Why a Danish 'bloodbath' is coming back to Stockholm, almost 500 years later


This Copenhagen icon may be torn down

The multi-coloured Palads movie theatre in central Copenhagen may be torn down to make way for new high-rise buildings.

This Copenhagen icon may be torn down
The Palads building has housed a cineplex since 1918 and has had its pastel facade since 1989. Photo: Torben Christensen/Scanpix
Home to Denmark’s largest film complex since 1918, Palads is best known for its pastel facade painted by Danish artist Poul Gernes in 1989. 
But the iconic building next to Vesterport Station would be torn down under a plan being considered by the City of Copenhagen. The city’s environmental and technical affairs committee will weigh in on the proposal on Monday. 
The development is backed by rail operator DSB and an unknown investor. Under the plan, the subterranean train tracks at Vesterport would be covered and topped by 81,000 sqm of new development, including hotel and conference space, new homes, a new movie theatre and a supermarket. 
The proposed development. Illustration: Werk Architects
The proposed development. Illustration: Werk Architects
Nordisk Film Biografer, which owns Palads, has backed the plan but many cultural experts have said that it would be a mistake to tear down the iconic theatre. 
“It would be a complete tragedy to tear it down. It is a monument with huge cultural and artistic value and there is nothing else of the same format in our urban space,” Louisiana museum curator Anders Kold told Politiken.
A group of local residents calling themselves Tivolis Venner (Tivoli’s Friends, referring to the nearby historic amusement park) are also against the plan. 
“I just get so sad. Why do we need to look like all other big cities? In just a few years Copenhagen has been characterized by a development toward even larger constructions. This plan is misplaced, too much and too stereotypical,” spokesman Peter Holst Eriksen told Politiken.