– I had soufflé [var sufflør], and stood at the far right bottom – she was standing on the stairs. I see that the actors are breaking, they get very, very nervous. Afterwards, we sit down and talk about what we will do if this happens again, and decide to break up. We can not accept that people stand and film, says Pia Maria Roll in the witness box in Oslo District Court.
The flash went off
Roll directed the play “Ways of Seeing”, which is central to the criminal case against Laila Bertheussen. The event she describes took place on 26 November 2018, when Bertheussen appeared at a performance, and was filming the stage and the audience. She was repeatedly asked to quit, eventually leaving the theater.
– Was she thrown out? prosecutor Frederik Ranke asks.
– No, she was asked to stop filming. Afterwards, the flash went off on the mobile, so we saw that she continued to film, says Roll.
– We were very close by canceling, Roll says to Dagbladet after the diploma.
After being talked to again, Bertheussen left the theater.
A few days later, on December 1, Bertheussen went hard against the play in a VG chronicle, called “They call it art, I call it a gross invasion of my private life.” So, on December 6, the first attack on the Wara / Bertheussen home took place.
Roll says that the suspicion that Bertheussen himself could be behind the repeated threats and attacks against Wara, grew.
– After that incident at the School of Photography, we were pretty sure. To the extent that you can be, says the director.
The event Roll is aiming for was a lecture she and “Ways of Seeing” actor (and former Supreme Court judge) Ketil Lund gave on 17 January last year, where Bertheussen also appeared. A few hours later, one of Wara / Bertheussen’s rubbish bins burned, and the family received a threatening letter.
– Provocative grip
When asked by prosecutor Ranke if she understands that Bertheussen thought it was uncomfortable to have the house filmed, Roll answers:
– Yes, I myself have had my house filmed many times. But it is not the task of art to make sure that the country’s leaders do not feel uncomfortable, on the contrary, says the director, and elaborates:
– This was a provocative move that we made quite deliberately. But we never filmed people, always far away, never in windows, and never addresses, as claimed.
Roll says she does not buy the production that Bertheussen should have been afraid of the house being filmed.
– There is a big difference between feeling uncomfortable and being afraid. That things can be unpleasant, I have no problem understanding.
Ask about «kutryner»
Berteussen’s defender John Christian Elden pushes Roll in the way “Ways of Seeing” was marketed. Among other things, it was stated in the theater Black Box ‘review:
“We are waiting for you now: sows, sows, the root-eating parasites of hope.”
– What do you think about such a description for a person at the other end of that society? asks Elden.
Roll answers that the wording is full of metaphors, and that not everything is meant to be taken literally.
– We have been sitting outside the houses for two years, that is what art does, she says.
The artists behind the play were exposed to a number of serious threats in the wake of the attacks on Wara. When asked by Dagbladet if she would enter the project with open eyes, even with everything that has happened in retrospect, the answer is:
Roll repeats her criticism of the press, which she believes bought Bertheussen’s narrative until she was charged on March 14 last year. She also draws clear lines between the accused and the Human Rights Service, who were regularly the first to mention the allegations against Wara.
– We realized early on that she collaborated with the Human Rights Service. A few days after filming, the action was reproduced on Rights [organisasjonens nettsted], very detailed, and the rendering ends exactly where Bertheussen was asked to stop. We know with great certainty that Bertheussen handed over the material to Hege Storhaug or Rita Karlsen, says the director.
Filmed surveillance video
According to Roll’s diploma, PST chief Morten Bøyum explains himself. He presented electronic tracks from the night when Wara and Bertheussen’s Ford S-Max burned – including data from the Health app, when her iPhone was illuminated and was charging, etc.
Towards the end of his explanation, Bøyum shows a series of videos from the defendant’s mobile, taken at 04:00, ie a few hours after the car fire. They show a PC screen where the surveillance footage from the fire and the police investigations is played back.
The main hearing has taken significantly less time than originally planned, and the procedures are planned for next week.
Before today’s presentation of evidence, Laila Bertheussen (55) asked for the floor. She strongly opposed PST’s investigation.
– PST went from broad investigation to total tunnel vision, she said.
Bertheussen is today dressed in white with a gray-green shawl. She has a blue version of her purse with the e-mail quote that she will not prove her innocence.
The 55-year-old emphasized that PST says she has been reluctant to appear for questioning.
– I have done everything to help solve this case. I am offended, no matter what PST may think, she said firmly.
Bertheussen emphasized that she volunteered in a number of interrogations, and submitted DNA and submitted lists of medicines. But in August last year, councilor John Christian Elden advised her to stop appearing for questioning before more documentation was presented.
– I’m glad I followed that advice. PST had decided. They did everything to push everything into the narrative that I was guilty, she said.