Enter with gun and dead seagull

Amanda said it was the weirdest thing she’d ever seen live on stage. And, to be fair, it was not a traditional version of Chekhov’s The Seagull that we watched in the Strindberg Intimate Theatre tonight. However, as we left the theatre, I proclaimed that it was exactly the sort of thing I loved.

It was a new interpretation of a classic play. It pulled out the original comedy and counter balanced it with the inherent pathos and tragedy already present in the classic work. It was also highly original. The group, a mix of performers from Austria, Sweden and the USA, played multiple parts as well as providing a soundscape at various points. There was also a lot of gender switching proving that it doesn’t really matter what gender you subscribe to, in performance, acting is acting.

It would be impossible to pull out a single performance as better than the others because the cast was one, very cohesive whole. It really was a superb piece of ensemble acting. The directing, too, was outstanding. As was the adaptation.

The cast was Magdalena Köchl, Mira Mitchell, Rachel Marie Starkey, Tiffani Grace, Hailey Foss, Dorothea Norling, Cornelia Longueville and Andrej Agranovski. It was produced by the collective Pöl and Theater Chronos. The original translation in English was by Albert Nygren, and it was directed by Corre Longueville.

Going to live theatre in Stockholm was a real treat as, generally and obviously, it’s usually in Swedish. But Enter with gun and dead seagull was in English, making it perfectly accessible to us foreigners.

The performance was so good that it managed to occupy us while we waited 90 minutes for the last train home. Apparently there isn’t one at 21:43, although they generally run hourly from Stockholm. No, the last train back to Vagnhärad was 22:43.

We sat in a small bar at Stockholm Central until they closed. They have a very effective way of getting people to leave at 10pm. One of the staff comes around with a bottle of foul smelling chemicals which he sprays on the tables around the malingering customers. It appears that he is disinfecting the surfaces but we reckon it’s like insect repellent. At any rate, it made us fly away very quickly.

But, as I said, we spent a lot our waiting time discussing the play. We agreed that the cast and the rest of the creatives would have been overjoyed that we came away from their performance with so much to discuss. We also discussed our visit to the August Strindberg Museum earlier in the day.

It was a fascinating place. And, it seems, I share a few of Strindberg’s character traits. I came away thinking I need to read his writings. I read Miss Julie many years ago as well as seeing a performance once but, that was so long ago, I’ve forgotten it all.

Strindberg, for instance, lived in 24 different houses in Stockholm in his 63 years of life. And that’s not counting the times he lived in Paris, Berlin and Switzerland. I managed 28 houses, in two different countries, by the time I reached 63.

He also married three times, which is not like me. Except for Ann-Marie, who Mirinda calls my first wife, I’ve only been married once and never divorced. August, who was a bit of a ladies man, married the woman from the iPhone, actor, Siri von Essen then, after divorcing her, he met and married writer and translator, Frida Uhl. That relationship was a bit tumultuous and ended soon after it started. His third and final wife was another actor, the gorgeous Harriet Bosse.

Unlike her predecessors, Harriet didn’t put up with August’s shenanigans and misogynistic views. She went off with another man who treated her a bit better. Well, I hope he did. Poor August kept waiting for Harriet to return to him. Finally, accepting the inevitable, he moved into the fourth floor flat which now houses the museum.

The museum also houses his final house. We had no idea until the woman behind the desk pointed out the small entrance into the flat.

The furniture is original and, with the inclusion of sound effects (hacking cough in one room, ringing telephone in an alcove and, most disturbing, a flushing toilet in a corner) it is almost as if he had just stepped out.

An excellent museum. They also run the Strindberg Intimate Theatre, where we saw the play. The theatre started life in 1907 then was forced to close down in 1912 after Strindberg’s death though it went bankrupt in 1910. It then reopened in 2006 with more comfortable chairs.

All up, it was a marvellous day – the girls spent the day with Christina – spent being terribly intellectual. Amanda and I even managed to discuss various South Korean dramas as we sat on the train.

Amanda shouted us an interesting and delicious lunch, too.

This entry was posted in Amanda 2023 (2), Gary's Posts, Museums & Galleries, Red House Guests, Review, Theatre. Bookmark the permalink.

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