Founded in 1997, Kómedíuleikhúsið, or the Theatre of Komedia
, is the first professional theatre in the Westfjords. Its founder, Elfar Logi Hannesson, is a gifted actor with endless of energy for the stage. He organizes and presents nearly 130 shows per year. While its primary residence is in Ísafjörður, and most of the performances are staged there, its shows have traveled all around Iceland. Theatre of Komedia has no real roof over its head, and it works whereever there is space for it. But Elfar Logi is working to find it a home in Ísafjörður city.
Kómedíuleikhúsið doesn‘t have any speciality type of performance. It puts on a range of shows including plays, readings, and festivals, and other sorts of theatre related activities. The Theatre does a number of Icelandic pieces that are focused on stories which have their historical basis in the Westfjords, such as Gisli´s saga, which is one of Iceland´s most famous stories.
Once a year the theatre puts on a big show called Actalone
which features actors doing one-man performances. Elfar Logi gets actors from all over the country, and many foreigners have participated over the years. All the events take place in Ísafjarðarbær area. Last year was the seveth time it was held and there was seven events then, including readings, music and acting. Actalone will be held next on the 13-15th of August, 2010.
In addition to doing shows that have been written by others, Elfar Logi also writes and directs many of his own pieces. About a year ago, he put on a big show based on songs after the brothers Jónas and Jóns Múla Árnasons. The play was called “Við heimtum aukavinnu” or “We want more extra work” and was very successful, filling the house on many occasions. That play was so successful Elfar Logi went on to do another project, currently in performance, with songs from Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson and his sister Ellý (who were a popular pop duo in Iceland back in the 70s). Around 20 people perform in this piece and a live ensemble provides the music.
Elfar is very keen on working with other people, and brings in actors, screenwriters and directors. At the moment, he is also working with the theatre of Þingeyri and is a director in one piece there. At the same time he is acting in a play called “Seinustu dagar Sveins skotta” or “The last days of Sveinn skotti”. He also plays in the piece “Heilsugæslan” or the “Health care” which is a comedy about the health care system in Iceland. This play went national and has been very well recieved and popular around Iceland. So Elfar has many faces and keeps himself busy all year around.
While he does most of the writing, directing, and media for the plays, Elfar Logi isn‘t working alone. He has great support and assistance from is wife Marsibil (or Billa as she is always called), who is, in effect, is his right hand. She makes most of the stage acessories and props, and assists with the production of many of the performances. Billa, too, is an artist, who does mainly traditional painting and drawing. She has had many exhibitions of her work around the country, and has been named the 2010 Isafjordur artist of the year, having been nominated by the town‘s cultural committee. Between the two of them, Elfar Logi and Billa have made an enormous contribution to the cultural life of Ísafjörður specifically and the Westfjords more generally.