Thursday, March 31, 2011
Born into a family active in Iceland’s theatrical scene, Kjartansson, 33, likes to say he was conceived on the set of the nation’s first erotic thriller, Morðsaga, wherein his mother plays a lonely housewife and his father a plumber called to fix the dishwasher. (His conception took place the same month the love scene was filmed.) He would come home from school and sit in the darkened hall where his parents variously performed, wrote, and directed, listening to actors rehearse their lines. In Kjartansson, this repetitive toil of the stage struck unusually fertile ground. As a student at the Icelandic Academy of the Arts (he graduated in 2001), he was drawn to what he calls "performance loops" whose Beckett-like routines push toward the transcendent.