birtingur1Title of performance:

Birtingur (Candide)

Theatre Group: Leikfélag Selfoss

Country: Iceland

Director: Ólafur Jens

Date and time: Thursday August 13, 16.00 – 17.30

Candide, ou l’Optimisme (Birtingur in Icelandic) is a French satire written in 1759 by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment. It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with optimism by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt change of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow, painful disappointment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes with Candide, if not outright rejecting optimism, advocating an enigmatic principle, “we must cultivate our garden”.

Candide is characterized by its sarcastic tone and its erratic, fantastical, and fast-moving plot. It parodies many adventure and romance clichés, the struggles of which are caricatured in a tone that is matter-of-fact. Still, the events discussed are often based on historical happenings, such as the Seven Years’ War and the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Voltaire ridicules religion, theologians, governments, armies, philosophies, and philosophers.