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Strindberg - Other Sides

Seven Plays- Translated and introduced by Joe Martin- with a Foreword by Björn Meidal

Joseph Martin

Strindberg - Other Sides: Seven Plays presents fresh translations based upon the new national Swedish edition of Strindberg's works, hewing close to Strindberg's techniques of «scoring» his scripts for actors and directors. The plays are illuminated in introductory essays revaluating Strindberg's role in transforming theatre (and art) with his extraordinary new forms. The Ghost Sonata is a keystone in the construction of the expressionist theatre; in The Pelican Strindberg goes «over the top» with his own form of psychological drama until it soars beyond the realm of realism; The Dance of Death is a battle of the sexes rendered absurd, as a series of games played against the void; and Carl XII is an epic play portraying the last months of the king who brought Sweden's history as a great power to an end. Three one-acts from the late 1880s foreshadow the striking ambiguity of Strindberg's later works.


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The Plays Introduced 25


Strindberg-A Revaluation 25 from the period after his breakup with Harriet Bosse, in a passage of unusual tranquility, our "narrow-minded" and "obsessive" author perhaps reveals the secret of his broad register as a playwright: When I ... have arrived home and am sitting at my writing table, then I live again .... I am living, and I live over and over again the human lives I depict; I am happy with those who are happy, irate with those who are irate, and those who are good make me feel good. I creep out of my own personality and speak out of the mouths of children-of women-of old men; I am king and I am beggar; I am the highly placed one, the tyrant, and the most despised among men, the oppressed hater of tyrants; I have a multitude of opinions, and confess to all religions; I dwell in all ages and have ceased to exist as myself. And all this is a state of mind which gives me an indescribable joy.30 THE PlAYS 6. The Ghost Sonata, of all the plays from this period, provides perhaps the best example Strindberg's striking attempts to create a synthesis of his social thought and his spiritual concerns. It is a play which provides the key to his late innovations. A close probing of just this play-which demanded such a radical new approach to theatre per- formance at the dawn of the twentieth century-and an understand- ing of the context in which it was written, can...

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