A play by Lene Therese Teigen – an international theatre project by Norwegian writer/director Lene Therese Teigen and Uruguayan director Cecilia Caballero Jeske. 

Tiden uten bøker (in Norwegian) is published by Transit Forlag/Solum|Bokvennen. FOR SALE.

READ THE ESSAY «DRIVING FORCE» – Lene Therese Teigen about her work with Time without books, to be published in Norwegian with the play, by Transit Publishers at Solum|Bokvennen. Translated to English by Neil Howard.


«Time without books», the Uruguayan production, will guest perform at the WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS INTERNATIONAL Conference in Santiago, Chile in October. Interview in Norwegian with Teigen, august 2018, about the Uruguayan success at: DRAMATIKER.NO. Read a review (in Norwegian) of the text: NORSK SHAKESPEARETIDSSKRIFT 2/2018.


TIME WITHOUT BOOKS explores how we relate to memories: What should we remember and why, what should we forget and why? What should be remembered from this moment? What kind of moment are we creating now? Theatre as ritual? Theatre as memorial? Theatre as future. 

TIME WITHOUT BOOKS by Lene Therese Teigen is a play about a country where there there has been a dictatorship, and now democracy is reinstated. What do you tell after this kind of national trauma? What is better to shut up about? For whom, and why? There is a shopping mall which used to be prison and a new generation who does not know anything about that. There are parents who want to give their children a happy life without agreeing on what that means, and there are children who want to understand why their parents never talk about how they really are. How individual is a memory?

At the center of the double row of spectators, the things that pass through that incredible text by Teigen, by the directing, by the actors, and a stack of papers marked by memory, pass by for us, they really happen, as if to move us and to pour down on us, cheeks down, memories that perhaps we did not know we had. And I talk about us, former political prisoners. But what about companions or daughters, like Cecilia Caballero, or that wonderful young audience, people who «had nothing to do with anything», also left with memories, which they did not know belonged to them, printed on the sensitive paper of the skin as if it were a photograph.by Fernando Gallardo

What should we share with others? Basically we can say that very much is related to who owns the stories. Does the ones who have experienced torture have exclusive rights to tell how the stories about that should be told? What about the people around them, what right do they have to talk about what has happened?

«The characters are struggling with language when confronted with their memories, and they are struggling with their memories when confronted with language. The balance between a languge that is stopping all the time, and one which is floating, creates both tension, flow and variation in the lines. (…) Teigen makes the manuscript into an open text which poses questions about how we, the reader or the audience, handle our own memories. She does that by evoking situations that are general and recognizable.» Karen Frøsland Nystøyl, Norwegian Shakespeare Magazine 2/2018

The Uruguayan production which is performing at the WPI-conference in Santiago is directed by Cecilia Caballero Jeske from Uruguay, with whom Lene Therese Teigen has collaborated. They met when Cecilia directed Lenes play «Square» in Montevideo, and decided to collaborate. Cecilia has lived in political exile in Oslo, Norway, with her family and has shared her family story with Lene. Lene has also talked to others, read and done research. There has been a workshop in Montevideo in january 2017, and in Oslo in september 2017, with two different teams, and both Teigen and Caballero has been present both places. On May 9th 2018 TIME WITHOUT BOOKS premiered at Teatro Solis in Montevideo, directed by Cecilia Caballero and with the same actors as did the workshop earlier. The production has been on for months, and is a big success in Montevideo.

«A stirring, authentic, emotional work which is concerned with human existence. Four actors, four stories, memories, questions, love, resistance and above all Memory. A powerful text, a solid cast without weaknesses. Lene Therese Teigen should be thanked for this writing, this testimony that not only is an existential record, but that also gives us hope charged by questions. A show that cannot, must not, be missed because memory saves us from oblivion and death. Theatre critic María Rosa Carbajal Spagnuolo (about the world premiere in Montevideo)


Director/set design: Cecilia Caballero, Composer: Tov Ramstad. Actors: Maria Jose Lage, Cecilia Martinez, Elena Peréz and Ivan Solarich. Light design: Nicolás Amorin, Costume design:Cristina Regueiro, Production: Mario Guerra, Technician: Tatiana TarocoThe play was originally written in Norwegian in 2017, with support from the The Norwegian Centre for New Playwriting (NCNP), the Freedom of Speech Fund and with support from STIKK at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry.

Dramaturge: Elin Grinaker. Translated to Spanish by Cecilia Caballero. Translated to English by Neil Howard. Faiza Mardzoeki is the Indonesian translator. In 2019 TIME WITHOUT BOOKS will premiere in Indonesia as well as Norway. The Norwegian play will be published by Transit Publishing House in november 2018.

The film directors Elin Moe (Norway) and Oscar Estevez (Uruguay) are making a documentary film about the making of TIME WITHOUT BOOKS and Cecilia Caballeros family. Producer: Medieoperatørene (N)

Dramaturg Kristian Lykkeslet Strømskag: «A metaphorical sky lifts this from one time, one country, one frame, into more possible worlds, times, places today. TIME WITHOUT BOOKS is well constructed, the level of language is high, it is poetical, visual, with (good acting) situations, lines, characters. All in all: It is a good project. Important. Smart.»

The point of departure for “Time without books” are the people who are grown up/growing up today – who are looking back and wondering what was the story, how can we learn, what society do we want to make in our democracy, and can we make that happen? Do we need to learn to discuss, to ask for our stories, because silence also creeps into our bodies, and might not be the best substance when we try to keep our balance.









After seeing the general repetition the cultural critic Ariel Mastandrea wrote this on facebook:
“(…)Theater of voices, whispers and fragments that ask what happened inside and outside prisons and how it has been to go into exile and return from exile.(…)TIME WITHOUT BOOKS is a true existential experience with our recent past and its consequences. A roll of dice between what was lived and what was hidden for so long.A true settling of accounts and its dramatic, moving, endearing content.Essential to see and enjoy

Theatre critic María Rosa Carbajal Spagnuolo, published this on facebook a few hours after the world premiere: «A stirring, authentic, emotional work which is concerned with human existence. Four actors, four stories, memories, questions, love, resistance and above all Memory.A powerful text, a solid cast without weaknesses, (…)Lene Therese Teigen, the playwright, should be thanked for this writing, this testimony that not only is an existential record, but that also gives us hope charged by questions. (…) A show that cannot, must not, be missed because memory saves us from oblivion and death.

Theatre critic Jorge Mario Bologna CorbiI think that there should not be any Uruguayan who does not know this story, and that it somehow, directly or indirectly, for all must involve a minimum of emotion and feelings. (…)TIME WITHOUT BOOKS  by Lene Therese Teigen and directed by Cecilia Caballero takes us through those painful experiences from the perspective of a family that remembers those years from their own personal stories. A work where you delve into memories and relate to the feelings and the approaches to both today and to the future in a human and subtle way. What can a mother, a father and some daughters expect? How to recompose all that is lost? How to erase the indelible? How to continue living? A cast (…), consisting of Maria Elena Perez, Ivan Solarich, Maria José Lage and Cecilia Martínez achieve a very nice and sincere approach to the public, a scenography as delicate and subtle as the work but equally forceful when accompanying the story.”

About the Uruguayan performance by one of the many who was imprisoned during the dictatorship in Uruguay. (in Spanish): A propósito de “El tiempo sin libros” por Fernando Gallardo.


Cecilia Martinez Carlevaro:TIME WITHOUT BOOKS is the possibility to tell what others won’t. It is to open your heart to the past and bring it to the present with care and tenderness. It is an encounter with yourself, with the other, with our history and that of those who surround us. For me it is an emotional, mobilizing and destabilizing experience that doesn’t cease to amaze me.

María Elena Pérez: «Someone once wrote «Memories are a story we tell ourselves»
TIME WITHOUT BOOKS – pushes us to that dilemma. What stories are we encouraged to tell, or to tell to ourselves? What memories do we want to share and which ones do we prefer to keep
? Sofia, Lydia, Tatiana and Elena.All women, full of so much to say and so much to keep quiet about …»

María José Lage: «Stories, encounters, symbols that happen before the eyes of the spectator, and they become part of the game. But this time is different, this macabre game was real, once it happened in my country, in America, in my family … TIME WITHOUT BOOKS is a work that makes me travel through a dark path of silence, of pain, of non-humanity, and at the same time I feel that from a corner of our existence we decide to switch on the light.»

Ivan Solarich:  «WHEN THE WORDS OPEN THEIR WAY:The dictatorship not only detained, tortured and made people disappear; above all, it «locked» 3 million Uruguayans in the house of fear and distrust, fracturing families and every citizen’s sense of living.A lot had to be swept under the carpet – consciously and unconsciously – in order to continue living.
The imposing text of the Norwegian Lene Therese Teigen, rightly proposes that it is time to raise our carpet stained with blood, silence and half words, to look for the truths that allow sincere dialogue with the children, about experiences which are silenced by the impossibility of the own pain, and at other times for wanting to avoid the pain of others.
And to recompose the intergenerational dialogue, to recompose the family fracture, is to reinstate the possibility of the community as a whole.That intention is what Lene proposes with th e text, and that intention is what Cecilia Caballero finely weaves into her directing. The cast, in this case my great companions and I, with our own selves as the starting point, contributes to this in order not to keep any more silence.»

Director Cecilia Caballero: TIME WITHOUT BOOKS is a project that has embraced me, pushed me, challenged me, shaken me and made me discover a lot about who I am, who we are today. This subtle, poetic and reflective text that challenges us from the heart, in a brave and innocent way at the same time, is a marvel.

When the unspoken, the unquestioned, has acquired a weight within a society, within families; who cries out to be spoken about. When we cannot reflect as a society on our problems, it is in the theater that the door to dialogue opens. How are my family’s memories from the times of the dictatorship? How are mine and how are others from within my own family?

Exile, identity, belonging. Remember, forget. The memory. It has been an intense, deeply thoughtful, healing journey and as an artist I can only thank projects like these.

Ana Valdés, swedish-uruguayan writer/journalist: «I was at Teatro Solis

and saw a great play which I recommend for my family and friends. Cecilia Caballero, the daughter of Carlos Caballero, have directed a work by the Norwegian playwright Lene Therese Teigen. Half of the public were crying (myself included) because of all we recognised and all we remembered. The play is loosely based on the stories of Carlos and others, and it is about the activism, being imprisoned, exile and the sometimes painful return, the feeling of being on the other side, and of having landed in some sort of «no mans land». How do you tell our family and friends, those who did not experience the same as yourself? You don’t put on a victims’ coat or want people to feel sorry for you. There are no words …»

TIME WITHOUT BOOKS will be produced in Norway in 2019 with Teigen as director, Mari Lotherington as set designer, composer Tov Ramstad, light designer Inger Johanne Byhring, and with actors Sara Baban, Sulekha Ali Omar, Tiril Pharo and Randolf Walderhaug.

«El Tiempo sin Libros», directed by Cecilia Caballero, is still playing in Montevideo with full houses, and will be touring in Uruguay and Argentina.


In the development process of this text we have conducted one 2 week workshop in Montevideo/Uruguay in january 2017 and a 1 week workshop in Oslo/Norway in september 2018, both times with Teigen and Caballero present. In september composer Tov Ramstad integrated his music during the workshop.

SOFIA: Jeg sier: «Jeg husker», og da hører jeg med en gang: «Glem det».  Jeg sier: «Jeg husker ikke, det er tåkelagt». Da hører jeg: «Ikke glem» .                                

SOFIA: Yo digo: “ Yo  me acuerdo”, Y enseguida oigo :” Olvidate”. Yo digo: “ No me acuerdo, esta todo borroso». Entonces escucho: “ No olvides”.


Actors Tiril Pharo, Paul-Ottar Haga and Lene Therese Teigen.

Directors Teigen and Caballero.


(for spanish text see further down)

TIDEN UTEN BØKER undersøker hvordan vi forholder oss til minner: Hva skal vi huske og hvorfor, hva skal vi glemme og hvorfor?

Utgangspunktet for hendelsene som beskrives i sceneteksten er Uruguays periode med diktatur (1973-1985) og årene etter. De som er blitt voksne/vokser opp i dag ser tilbake og lurer på hva som egentlig var historien, hvordan kan vi lære, hva slags samfunn vil vi skape nå når det er demokrati, og kan vi få det til å skje?  Det er fokus på erfaringer som overlevelse, redsel, venting, omsorg, straff og usikkerhet. Hva som skjedde utenfor fengslene, og innenfor. Om å måtte dra i eksil, og å komme tilbake etter å ha vært i eksil.

Målet har vært å skape en scenetekst som ikke postulerer sannheter, som ikke dramatiserer tortur eller romantiserer ofre, men å behandle spørsmål om hva glemsel, fortielse, stillhet og ytring er, også på et overordnet plan, men først og fremst for det enkelte individ.

Teksten er et resultat av omfattende research og dybdeintervjuer. Intiativet til dette arbeidet kom gjennom møtet mellom regissør Cecilia Caballero Jeske og Lene Therese Teigen da Caballero Jeske  i 2015 regisserte sin versjon av Teigens scenetekst Square i Montevideo. Cecilia Caballero Jeske har bodd i politisk eksil med sin familie i Oslo, og har vært en av Teigens informanter. Med støtte fra Dramatikkens Hus og med Elin Grinaker som dramaturg skrev Teigen første og andre versjon av sceneteksten. Resultatet var utgangspunkt for et to ukers tekstuviklingsverksted i Montevideo i januar 17. Tredje versjon kom til underveis i verkstedet. Fjerde versjon ble skrevet med støtte fra Stiftelsen Fritt Ord. Teksten er skrevet for fire skuespillere.

TIDEN UTEN BØKER hadde en ukes workshop i Norge ved Dramatikkens Hus 11.-15.9. 2017 med de norske skuespillerne Hege Aga Edelsteen, Paul-Ottar Haga, Tiril Pharo og Sulekha Ali Omar. Scenograf Mari Lotherington, lysdesigner Inger-Johanne Byhring, komponist Tov Ramstad og dramaturg Elin Grinaker medvirket også i verkstedet. Teigen var regissør med Cecilia Caballero Jeske som co-regissør. Teksten ble bl.a. utsatt for spørsmål om hvordan den kan fungere som referanse også til andre deler av verden.

Ved å utvikle prosjektet i to ulike land med ulike teaterkontekster, skaper vi en unik tilblivelsesprosess som vi tror vil høyne kvaliteten både på det endelige manuskriptet og på forestillingene som blir resultat av arbeidet.

Dramaturg Kristian Lykkeslet Strømskag:  “En metaforisk himmel over løfter det fra en konkret tid, et land, en ramme, opp til flere mulige verdener, tider og steder i dag. Det er godt konstruert, et språklig nivå, poetisk, billedrikt, med (sceniske, spillbare) situasjoner, replikker, karakterer. Ja, alt i alt; TIDEN UTEN BØKER er et godt prosjekt. Viktig. Smart.

Lene Therese Teigen med forestillingen fra Uruguay er invitert til Santiago de Chile på konferansen 11th WPI Conference i oktober 2018. Premiere i Norge og Indonesia planlegges i 2019.

Filmregissøren Oscar Estevez fra Uruguay lager dokumentarfilm om prosjektet i samarbeide med den norske regissøren Elin Moe. Coprodusert av Medieoperatørene og Guazu Films, bla støttet av Fritt Ord.



Yo digo: “ Yo  me acuerdo”,

Y enseguida oigo :” Olvidate”

Yo digo: “ No me acuerdo, esta todo borroso”

Entonces escucho: “ No olvides”


EL TIEMPO SIN LIBROS investiga como nos relacionamos con los recuerdos: ¿Que debemos recordar y por qué, qué debemos olvidar y por qué?

El punto de partida de lo que se describe en el texto es el período de dictadura en Uruguay (1973-1985) y los años después. Los que se han convertido en adultos, los que crecen hoy y miran hacia atras y se preguntan; ¿como es realmente la historia?, ¿como aprender?, ¿que sociedad queremos crear ahora que hay democracia? y ¿podemos lograr que eso suceda?

El foco está en las experiencias como; sobrevivencias, el miedo, la angustia, el castigo, el duelo, la espera, la inseguridad y el castigo. Lo que sucedía fuera de la carcel y dentro. Sobre el haber tenido que exilarse y el tener que  volver luego de un exilio.

La meta fue crear un texto que no propone verdades, que no dramatiza la tortura, ni hacer romanticísimo sobre las víctimas. La idea es manejar las preguntas sobre qué es el silencio, el  olvido, el ocultar, y pronunciarse. Desde un plan global, pero principalmente desde un individuo.

El texto es un resultado de una investigación y de distintos procesos de entrevistas con varias personas involucradas. El inicio de este trabajo fue el encuentro de la directora Cecilia Caballero y Lene Therese Teigen cuando Caballero en el año 2015 dirige su versión de Square en Montevideo.

Caballero ha vivido en exilio político con su familia en Oslo, y ha sido uno de los informantes de Teigen. Con apoyo de Dramatikkens Hus y junto a Elin Grinaker como asesora dramática, Teigen escribe primer y segunda versión de este texto.

El resultado fue el inicio de un laboratorio de investigación  de texto de dos semanas en Montevideo en Enero del 2017. La tercera versión se obtuvo durante este laboratorio y la cuarta versión ahora.

Desde el 11 de Setiembre habrá un nuevo laboratorio esta vez en Oslo con Caballero presente.

Ahora el plan es involucrar a actores noruegos para que el texto pueda ser cuestionado desde otras realidades y de otras partes del mundo con similares y distintas realidades. Con estas respuestas será el punto de partida para para uno o más  procesos de producción con posibilidades de representaciones.

Desarrollar el proyecto de este modo-en dos países distintos con distintas visiones teatrales/conceptos, creamos un proceso de vivencia único que pensamos mejorará la cualidad tanto del manuscrito final como de las presentaciones de la obra que será el resultado final del trabajo.

El texto está escrito para cuatro actores.

El realizador y guionista Oscar Estévez realiza un documental sobre El tiempo sin libros.

¿Que son las memorias, que hay que recordar de este momento? ¿Qué clase de momento creamos ahora? ¿Teatro como ritual? ¿Teatro como herramienta de documento? Teatro como futuro.



Tiril Pharo, Paul-Ottar Haga og Hege Aga Edelsteen

Sulekha Ali Omar og Hege Aga Edelsteen

Hege Aga Edelsteen, Sulekha Ali Omar og Tiril Pharo



Ivan Solarich, Cecilia Martinez, Maria José Lage

Cecilia Martinez, Maria José Lage, Maria Elena Perez y Ivan Solarich

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