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February 6, 2020

#Play Oslo

by N@ncy

  • Playwright:  J.T. Rodgers
  • Title: Oslo
  • Genre: political play
  • Reading time: 2,5 hours
  • Opening night: June 16 2016 – Newhouse Theatre, NYC
  • Trivia: Tony Award for Best Play  2017
  • Epilogue: “…out of the crooked timber of humanity
  • …no straight thing was ever made.” (I. Kant)
  • Wikipedia link:  J.T. Rodgers
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly reading plan


  1. Timeline: April 1992 – September 1993
  2. Structure: 3 acts



  1. Oslo tells the story behind the peace process that led
  2. to Israeli PM Rabin and PLO chairman Arafat
  3. shaking hands in Washington, with President Bill Clinton.
  4. Characters are Norwegian (9) , Israeli (5) and Palestinians (2).
  5. This moment was brokered by Terje Rød-Larsen
  6. …the central character of the play.
  7. He was a Norwegian diplomat who arranged secret meetings
  8. …between Israeli and Palestinian representatives.



  1. I thought this would be a great play to read
  2. on the heels of Trumps Peace Plan for
  3. the Middle East dd. 28 January 2020.
  4. This is a blueprint for a two-state solution
  5. …it was dead on arrival.
  6. At least the play OSLO….shows that negations are
  7. …needed before a peace can be brokered.
  8. Trump’s plan is a Netenyahu’s wish-list.
  9. Strong point: serious political ideas within the form of a thriller
  10. Strong point:  familiar narrative from a surprising angle. (Norwegian)
  11. Weak point: not a play you can  just dive into!
  12. I had to map out each act (scenes, characters)
  13. so I could at least follow the plot.
  14. Act 1 –> scenes change swiftly 18 x !
  15. Pacing: is also very smooth.
  16. Trivia: J.T. Rodgers read Noel Coward’s comedic plays
  17. …to get a sense of pacing for a political play!
  18. Storyline: entertaining though slightly predictable as
  19. we go towards the ending
  20. …the iconic shaking of hands Rabin, Arafat, Clinton.
  21. Strong point: its more about the journey of it all
  22. …the secrecy, the deal-making.


Last Thoughts:

  1. This was a difficult play to read.
  2. But the play has been  inundated with awards
  3. …so J.T. Rodgers must be doing something right!
  4. I included a quick scan of the play to
  5. …help you if you ever read it.


Characters: Act 1:

  1. 4 minor (Marianne, Holst (married), Toril and Finn domestic staff at castle)
  2. 7 major (Mona, Larsen (married)  (PL) Qurie and Afour – (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak and Beilin
  3. Mona “breaks the 4th wall” 16 xspeaks directly to audience

Setting: Act 1

  1. Larsen flat (home of couple Mona and Terje Larsen (5 scenes)
  2. Borregaard Castle (entrance hall reception, drawing and negation rooms) (5 scenes)
  3. Hotel Suite London (3 scenes)
  4. University lecture hall (1 scene)
  5. UN Club Gaza Strip (1 scene)

Characters: Act 2

  1. 4 minor ( Holst,Toril, Finn, Am diplomat, Trond and Thor (intel police)
  2. 8 major (Mona, Larsen, (PL) Qurie and Afour – (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak, Savir, Beilin
  3. Mona “breaks the 4th wall”  6 x

Setting: Act 2

  1. Borregaard Castle (castle grounds, reception, drawing, cocktail, negation rooms) (8 scenes)
  2. Oslo (Foreign Ministry, Fornebu Airport (2 scenes)
  3. Larsen flat (1 scene)
  4. Frogner Park near HotelBristol London (1 scene)


Characters: Act 3

  1. 9 minor (Marianne, Holst (married), Finn, Thor, Trond
  2. Swedish hostess, German man, German woman, Am. diplomat
  3. 10 major (Mona, Larsen (central characters)
  4. (PL) Qurie and Asfour
  5. (ISR) Hirschfeld, Pundak, Beilin Savir, Singer – Peres
  6. Mona “breaks the 4th wall”   13 x

Setting: Act 3

  1. Larsen flat  (1 scene)
  2. Jerusalem (foreign ministry)  (1 scene)
  3. Oslo (foreign ministry (1 scene)
  4. Stockholm (Swedish Guest House) (1 scene)
  5. Borregaard Castle (reception, drawing, negation rooms) (6 scenes)
  6. White House Rose Garden (1 scene)
  7. Center stage empty (last scene) only 2 main characters Mona and Larsen


Playwright J T. Rodgers

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