Katitzi

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About being a stranger in a different world. Based on the Romani people and Katarina Taikon, her family and her books about her childhood as Romani girl Katitzi. Performed over 350 times, our most-played performance.
For everyone from 7 years.

The background of the piece is Katarina Taikon's childrens book treasure about her own upbringing as a Romani (Gypsy) child in Sweden. A story about what it's like to face intolerance and disrespect just because you are different. About how her rich heritage helped her to becoming a narrator who managed to reverse this attitude. She believed that you can only give respect to others when you have been met with understanding of your needs. You have the right to equal treatment like everyone else, even if you are, or feel different.

Katarina Taikon and her family

Father Taikon could do everything that a Rom of Kalderasj descent should be able to do: tin-plate copper pots, make silver jewellery, dance, play music, and - of course, predict the future. Taikon's dance troop was very famous, and the Tsar of Russia gave him several thoroughbred Arab horses as a gift!
All the Roma called him "the great Istvan Taikon" and everyone listened to him. But then there was a revolution in Russia. The great Istvan Taikon was so rich that he could buy false passports to all of his 15 cousins and their families, so that they could travel over the border and escape to Sweden.
And still he was well off and had seven wagons with fairground equipment.
Katarina was born just before World War II. Sweden did not want the Roma in the country, but could not actively expel them, so instead they were denied ration cards, permission to stay in the same place for more than three weeks, education and the right to a permanent residence, in the hope that they would leave Sweden voluntarily. Taikon's Tivoli (fairground) was set on fire three times, and he died without any means. Our performance relates Katarina's own story about her childhood.
At 26 years old, she learned to read and write. And then she wrote the books that led to the Riksdagen (Swedish parliament) giving the Romani people the rights they were entitled to.
She died in 1996.
The Katitzi books have been translated into several languages. A television series and a record with her stories have been made in the past.
Although Katarina used the name "Gypsy" and "Gypsian" as a badge of honour in Sweden, experiences in Norway have taught us that here, it is better to use "Roma" instead.

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Romas in Norway

The first migration these people did to Norway was in the 1500s and they were called "tater" (gypsy) and "fant" (tramp). Calling a Rom gypsy is like calling a Pakistani immigrant "paki". Their history and destiny is well known through many newspaper articles and books. Access to the Kingdom of Norway was denied to Jews, Jesuits and vagabonds. Not until almost the 1900s were the borders opened for the second migration of "gypsies". The pre-fascist tendencies in Europe made it so that in 1927 it became illegal to be Norwegian and a "gypsy" and, against all human rights, Norwegian "gypsies" were deprived of their passports and civil rights. No wonder that all of these 400 Roma disappeared to France. When they tried to return just before World War II, the Norwegian Department of Foreign Affairs organised a rejection at the Danish-German border. As a result, many of them ended up in the German concentration camps. This is why there are only about 250-350 of them in Norway now. Today the Roma are being chased from one place to the next, and from country to country. They barely find any work for themselves anywhere, and nobody has any use for their traditional skills anymore.

Created by

Stage direction: Ildevert Meda, Burkina Faso
Script: Ingeborg Eliassen, based on Katarina Taikon's books
Concept, producer, dramaturgy, concept for set design: Jaap den Hertog
Music: Haavard Lund
Set design: Gunnar Fretheim
Costumes: Solveig Fuglesøy
Completion of dramaturgy and text, and incorporation of Coby Omvlee and Trygve Fætten into the characters: Elin Hassel Iversen
Assistants: Alexandra Aga Ulvestad, Vegard Mølnvik
Consultants: Ragnhild Schlüter, Faik Bilalovic