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Strindberg's Ghost Sonata

Strindberg's Ghost Sonata

Egil Tornqvlst
Copyright Date: 2000
Pages: 270
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  • Book Info
    Strindberg's Ghost Sonata
    Book Description:

    Generally considered one of milestones in the development of modern drama, August Strindberg's chamber play The Ghost Sonata (1907) has variously been hailed as the first expressionist, surrealist and absurdist drama. rIn this monograph of the play as text and as performance - the first of its kind - Egil Törnqvist examines, in four chapters, the source text, various translations of it into English, the stage versions of Max Reinhardt, Olof Molander and Ingmar Bergman, and select radio and TV adaptations. In two framing chapters the background and impact of the play are illuminated. Focusing on Bergman's 1973 production, the book in addition contains a rehearsal diary and a transcription of this production. It is concluded with an annotated list of select productions. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0580-7
    Subjects: Film Studies, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Prologue
    (pp. 9-16)

    An Important event in theatre history occurred III late autumn 1906 when the young actor and theatre manager August Falck met the elderly writer August Strindberg. It was then that the idea of founding an intimate theatre in Stock holm, solely devoted to Strindberg’s plays, arose. A year later the idea had become reality.

    Strindberg had several times earlier tried to set up a theatre of his own, notably In 1888 when he founded his shortlived Scandinavian Experimental Theatre In Copenhagen. Now, after the emergence of intimate stages in Paris (Antoine), Berlin (Brahm), and London (Grem), and encouraged by Falck’s...

  5. One: Source text
    (pp. 17-52)

    Several of the motifs dealt with inThe Ghost Sonatacan be traced back to Strmdberg’s jottings from around the turn of the century. Consider, for example, the following title suggestions: “The Last Sonata,” “Sunday Mcming,” “The Vampire,” “The Ghost House,” “The Ghost Hour,” “The House of Ba bel.” Among the outlines for plays from around this time,mostlyconsisting of brief, often cryptic notations, many links withThe Ghost Sonatacan be found. One of them carries the title “The Sleepmg City.” The protagonist is a “young student,” who “grows older during his journey [through life]”:

    He gets to...

  6. Two: Target texts
    (pp. 53-73)

    Strindberg’s plays in translation art texts not only for actors, directors and spectators, texts to be transformed into visual and aural reality in the theatre. When published, they are also texts for readers. A reader of the translated plays is only once removed from the Strindbergian text. For the spectator and listener, on the other hand, the director functions as a go-between. Few ooo-Scandinavian directors -and, we may add, actors, drama scholars and theatre critics - have any knowledge of Swedish. They are therefore totally dependent on translations.

    In this situation there is a risk that Strindberg’s text is criticized...

  7. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 74-104)
  8. Three: Stage productions
    (pp. 105-146)

    The world premIere ofThe Ghost Sonata,at Strindberg’s own Intimate Theatre, took place on a stage that was only 6 meters wide and 4 meters deep for an audience counting at most I6r persons. The play was subtitled “fantasy piece,” after E.T.A. Hoffmann, possibly in an attempt to counteract criticism.’ Nevertheless both the play and the performance were severely criticized and only twelve performances were given.’ One critic remarked:

    The play which when read is undoubtedly suggestive, seems completely unacrable even for the most artistic actors, while at the same time, with regard to direction, it demands such extensive...

  9. Four: Adaptations
    (pp. 147-164)

    Reading a play and listening to a radio performance of that same play are activities which have something in common but also differ markedly; In Martin Esslin’s words:

    1-) hy having to provide the visual component, which is undeniably present ill any true dramatic experience transmitted hy radio, [the listener] is an active collaborator with the producer. In this respect he is in exactly the same position as the reader of a hook who has to imagine the action in his mind’s eye. The difference, however, IS that the voices, music, and sounds of the radio play are of a...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 165-170)

    When the Markers’A History of Scandinavian Theatrewas published twentyfive years ago, Nora’s tarantella from the first production of lbsen’sA Doll’s Housewas reproduced on the jacket. When the revised version of this book appeared in 1996, Bengrsson’s unmasking of the Old Man at the ghost supper inThe Ghost Sonata,as recreated in Bergman’s 1973 production, was on the front cover. The change is significant. In the twentieth century, realism In the theatre has gradually lost ground. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the impact of psychoanalysis to the arrival of screen media which...

  11. Appendix I: Configuration chart of Strindberg’s drama text
    (pp. 171-172)
  12. Appendix 2: Configuration chart of Bergman’s 1973 production
    (pp. 173-176)
  13. Appendix 3: Short rehearsal diary of Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 production
    (pp. 177-188)
  14. Appendix 4: Transcription of Bergman’s 1973 production
    (pp. 189-228)
  15. Select annotated list of productions
    (pp. 229-240)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 241-250)
  17. Cited works
    (pp. 251-258)
  18. List of illustrations
    (pp. 259-260)
  19. Index
    (pp. 261-269)