THE 'CHARIOT OF THE SUN' THEATRE GROUP
Danish theatre group 1972-83. The biggest ever. Stationed at the Play House in Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, with their own big space on the top floor, common office, bath and many floors of rehearsal space shared with a number of other theatre groups of that time.
Many members of the Chariot Of The Sun had moved to Christiania in the beginning of the 70’es which meant yet another base for the group’s creativities. “The basic group” of about 10-25 persons was expanded when actions or theatre pieces were about to happen.
Besides the usual group a lot of different people took part in the actions. In the stage performances it was mostly a motley mixture of known and unknown actors, singers, musicians, dancers and painters.
The big spectacular political action- and street theatre-performances often involved several hundred participants and simultaneously took place in different locations such as Wounded Knee 1973, the NATO-army 1973, the Santa Claus-Army 1974, the Rebild Happening 1976.
The Chariot Of The Sun gradually became an integrated part of the free city of Christiania. The group took action for Christianias survival in the fairy tale piece “Elverhøj” in the Gray Hall 1975-76. Among other stage performances of the Chariot Of The Sun are: Riding Witches 1975, Play about women 1975-76, Merchant Life 1977, Army Buddies 1977, The White Castle 1980 and the last performance of the group Chartertour Amora 1982.
Best known performances:
ARMY OF SANTA CLAUS - December 1974 - Canonized bythe Danish Ministery Of Culture in 2005
ABOUT SANTA CLAUS – AND HIS ORIGINS
The Santas prefered to walk along with a very big Trojan goose.
They were peaceful Santa Clauses coming to remind the people of Denmark what real goodness means, what Christmas is really about and the origin of Santa Claus.
Santa Claus – or Saint Nicolaus – was originally a bishop who during the fourth century lived in Frykia – the present Turkey.
Saint Nicolaus turned into our Santa Claus and his name means victory to the people.In fact “Nike laos” means the peoples’ victory in Greek which in those days was the most dominant language in Asia Minor.
Legend has it that Saint Nicolas did good deeds. One of the stories tells us, that he threw gold nuggets through the chimney to three poor girls. That way they got a dowry so they could get married and avoid being left to prostitution. That was really a magnificent present.
And Saint Nicolaus was widely known for his generosity to poor people. He also became a saint to sailors, as they mostly came from the lowest class of society. That is why a lot of Saint Nicolas Churches exist in harbour cities around the world.
This holy man from Asia Minor travelled into the world and reappeared as julemanden, jultomten, Der Weinachtsmann, Santa Claus or Sinterklaas ... or? He had many names.
THE VANISHING CHECK
After the SANTA CLAUS ARMY in December 1974 the manuscript of The Chariot Of The Sun’s Santa-script was awarded 20.000 Danish Kroner by the literary commity of the State’s Art Council.
But the check never got to us. It had “vanished.” We claimed it and asked in the Cultural Ministery where it was. They referred to that “the Ministery of Justice probably had it.” (!)
All of us “Santas” were fined about 20.000 Kroner altogether for our “performance” in the book department of Magasin and Illum’s, where we had distributed books to people. We had brought about just as many books in our Christmas bags as those we took from the shelves of the big stores.
Our own books were “The History Book,” a richly illustrated cartoon book in colours from the Demos Publishers describing the history of common people. We distributed those as well and put some on the shelves. So in the end it probably all added up ...
Then we arranged a big FINE PARTY in the Grey Hall where we made a show together with artists supporting us in order to collect money to pay the fine of the about 20.000 Kroner. The money came in, and the fines were paid.
And – Lo and behold – the check of the 20.000 Kroner very conveniently popped up at some state office. Two actors from the Chariot Of The Sun dressed in police uniforms arrived at the office of the Art Council to escort the check to the nearest bank while the tv-cameras were filming. A new “scandalous affair” about dressing up illegally had begun ...
THE Chariot Of The Sun at REBILD JULY 4. 1976
When USA celebrated its 200 year birthday the official Denmark participated in the ovations. They used the annual Rebild festivities which had been initiated before World War I as an arrangement for the poor, Danish emigrants who later in life wanted to meet old Denmark with friends and family in a festive way.
The chairman of the Rebild Commité in 1976 was also the chairman of the Ålborg Society of Businessmen. (He later had to flee to Switzerland because of tax fraud).
As expected the show began as a pure and uncritical salute to USA with participation of both the Queen, the prime minister and Victor Borge.
But ... some people had been overlooked in the cheers: All the people who had suffered from the aggressive, American politics both inside and outside its frontiers. First of all the numerous red Indians who for generations had been subject to a lot of assaults and breach of treaties from the white immigrants with massacres and sufferings on top of it. And then all the many poor white and black people in USA who didn’t have much to celebrate that day.
Also the people of South East Asia who in their battle with the most powerful war machine in the world had prevailed. We thought they deserved to be remembered. The Vietnam War had just ended with at total breakdown for American politics.
It became a challenge for some of us in the Chariot Of The Sun that all this lame celebration bullshit was to be transmitted directly to America by satellite expecting 30 million viewers.
The Americans were not to believe that everything USA also was representing was forgotten in the world. So how about – in the best American John Ford fashion – recreating an image which almost everyone knew from his movies: Indians on horseback suddenly appearing on the crest?
We did as we intended. It became the initial image of the big happening involving over
300 persons. After 40 horses and “Indians” had avoided a triple police chain and appeared
on top of the hill, Indians on foot – many of the Greenland people in disguise – suddenly appeared among the spectators and began a “sun dance.” A black goddess of liberty with her fist clenched was erected in a flash (and quickly pulled down by the police.) A wave of people representing repressed peoples and groups with many different flags slowly approached the stage while the audience heard Indians howling during the queen’s speach.
The activists had bags of blood under their clothes so when they were hit by the police truncheons the bags opened up. Another “Image of America” was created: Danish police fighting bleeding Indians and other oppressed people. That went as a press photo all over the world.
And our friends in the USA understood the message: That Denmark had been a sycophant to an aggressive, American policy. A more nuanced picture of what Denmark was standing for was created.
ALL THE PERFORMANCES OF THE 'Chariot Of The Sun'
1969 LIGHT- AND SOUND GROUP ESTABLISHED AT “PLAY HOUSE”
Especially psychodelic light shows, light and slides for theatre.
1972 THEATRE GROUP THE 'Chariot Of The Sun' ESTABLISHED AT “PLAY HOUSE.”
Oct. 1. 1972 HOLGER THE DANE AND THE COMMUNITY. From New Square through Walking Street to Town Hall Square.
HEPLA-HOPLA Odense Childrens’ Theatre Festival
Jan. 20 1973 NIXON IN TOWN (Nixon’s reinstatement)
March 4. 1973 MILK BATTLE, Parliament Christiansborg – South Harbour
March 8. 1973 HIPS AS HAPS, Town Hall Square, Hvidovre
April 8. 1973 WOUNDED KNEE, Town Hall Square
WOUNDED KNEE Project House, Mag Alley
May 12 1973 THE URBAN PIECE, Town Hall to Amor Park
June 10-15 1973 NATO ARMY + CABARET in the Grey Hall
Aug-Sept. 1973 SPANKING FOR YOUR MONEY’S WORTH, the Grey Hall, Odense Theatre Festival, the Barn, Århus.
Sept. 1973 WEDDING, BAPTISM AND FRIES GOOSE in Århus
EXPORT GIRL – Danish TV – youth program
Nov. 14-15 ABSALON EXPRESS, South Zealand.
Nov. 17 1973 Demonstration against NATO, American Embassy.
March 1974 VALBORG’S EMBRACE, Municipal election.
March 1974 OCCUPATION OF THE SCHOOL, The State School of Virum occupied by the NATO army.
April 1974 THE PEKING OPERA (During the Barricade Party)
May 1. 1974 May first parade from the Square of the Red Sun to the Common Park.
June 8 1974 THE TEARS OF SLEEPING BEAUTY with RED ROSE inhabitants of Nørrebro.
July 2-3-4-5 1974 THE GURU TURD, Walking Street (Strøget)
Aug-Sept 1974 THE MUSEUM OF SEXUAL ROLES, Women’s Festival at the Common Park, The Grey Hall, Odense Theatre Festival, Antvorskov, Film School, Kindergarten teachers School.
Sept. 6-28 1974 THE CHILE OPERA, Town Hall Square, New Square, Islev, Odd Fellow Palace, Elsinore Square, Odense.
Sept. 28 1974 WHEN ANGELS LAUGH, Christiania’s birthday party, Grey Hall
Dec. 1974 SANTA CLAUS ARMY/ Santa Claus, Holbæk
March 1975 Alternative Melody Grand Prix, Stockholm
May 1. 1975 BATTLE OF CHRISTIANSHAVN, The Chr.Havn Canal
May 1975 RIDINGS WITCHES
May 1975 CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, Møn
Sept-Oct. 1975 ELVERHØJ, Fairy tale play, the Grey Hall
Nov. 1975 GLISTRUP’S ELECTION THEATRE
Dec. 8-12 1975 PL AY ABOUT WOMEN, SOCIAL WEDDING with BRIDAL MARCH through Walking Street to CHARLOTTENBORG
Dec.75+April 76 PLAY ABOUT WOMEN, Christiania’s cinema “City Lights”
April 76 RAINBOW GET TOGETHER. Motorcycle meet at Christiania.
July 4-7 1976 REBILD HAPPENING with riding and dancing indians
July 10. Rebild-night in Grey Hall
Nov. 1976 DANISH TOTAL ENTERPRISE, Grey Hall
Dec. 1976 BUILDING IN THE PARKS, Oersted Park and other green oases in Copenhagen
Jan. 1977 PARTY FOR FINES, Supporting the fines of Rebild, Grey Hall
April 1977 MERCHANT LIFE, Grey Hall, (Sept. in Århus)
April 1977 ARMY BUDDIES
Sept. 1977 ARMY BUDDIES in Århus. “We want our money back.”
Dec. 1977 ANIMAL ARMY (Copenhagen, Barsebaeck)
June 1978 MURDER AT THE MOTEL (Salt Depot, Cph. and North Zealand)
Autumn 1978 TURDS ON THE BATH MAT (Rock Machine, Christiania)
Dec. 12 1979 STREET THEATRE IN BRUXELLES
August 1980 THE WHITE CASTLE, Grey Hall
Oct. 1981 RATHER CRACK THAN COCK, “The Copenhagener”
Nov. 1981 CHARTERTOUR AMORA, Camera
August 14. 1983 We shut down THE Chariot Of The Sun at Store Kongensgade 108.
2006 THE Chariot Of The Sun IS RESURRECTED AT CHRISTIANIA AS THE THEATRE GROUP TRUNDHOLM BOG
THE THEATRE GROUP TRUNDHOLM BOG
THE PARADE OF THE GUANTANAMO PRISONERS
The 4. of July on USA’s Day of Independence an on the 30-year day of the Rebild Happening
From the Ministery of Defense to the American Embassy
THE Chariot Of The Sun was resurrected in the summer of 2006 as THE THEATRE GROUP TRUNDHOLM BOG (The name of the bog where the cult Chariot Of The Sun from the bronze age was found)
This “bog find group” organized people of all ages in yet another big spectacular happening where chained prisoners in orange uniforms had to march from the Ministery of Defense to the American Embassy where they sang the old national hymn “Amazing Grace.”
This was in order to support the about 450 prisoners still left at the GUANTANAMO PRISON without a chance to have their case tried.
The goal was to mobilize as many theatre activists as there were prisoners at the Guantanamo Prison. That goal was almost reached with 350 participants.