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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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Notes to the Introductions: 361


Notes to the Introductions ABBREVIATIONS IN THE NOTES: SS: August Strindberg, Samlade Skrifter [Collected Writings], 55 vols., ed. John Landquist (Stockholm: Bonniers, 1910-23). SV: August Strindbergs Samlade Verk [August Strindberg's Collected Works], 73 vols. (Stockholm: Norstedts, 1981- ). This is the new national edition of Strindberg's works, published in collaboration with the State Council for Culture and Stockholm University. PREFACE I. On the script as a "score" for actors, Strindberg writes: "Being the character portrayed intensively is to act well, but not so intensively that he forgets the 'punctuation'; then his acting becomes flat as a musical composition without nuances, without piano and forte, without crescendo and diminuendo, accelerando, and ritardando. (The actor should know these musical terms and have them constantly in mind, because they say ahnost everything.)" Open Letters to the Intimate Theatre [Oppna brev till intima teatem], trans. with introductions by Walter Johnson (Seattle: University of Washington Press, n.d. ), 132. STRINDBERG-A REVALUATION I. Bentley also begins his remarks noting Shaw's donation of his Nobel Prize money to the cause of translating Strindberg's works, O'Neill's tribute to the "Master" in his own Nobel Prize acceptance speech-and even Ibsen's remark, "I am an enemy of his-but I cannot write a line except when this bold man with his mad eyes looks down on me." Eric Bentley, The Playwright as Thinker (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1946 & 1967), 159, 160, 158-80 passim. 2. Ibid., 166. 3. One of those writers whose work is reduced by the labels used to describe it-avant-garde...

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