|Written by||August Strindberg|
|Date premiered||19 November 1900|
|Place premiered||Royal Theatre, Stockholm|
To Damascus (Swedish : Till Damaskus), also known as The Road to Damascus, is a trilogy of plays by the Swedish playwright August Strindberg. The first two parts were published in 1898, with the third following in 1904. It has been described as "Strindberg's most complex play" and as "his greatest play," due to its "synthesis of a wide variety of myths, symbols and ideas with a profound spiritual analysis in a new dramatic form."
Strindberg began writing Part 1 in January 1898 in France and by 8 March he had completed the manuscript.This marked the first time that Strindberg had written drama in five years. "If you find it good," he wrote to Gustaf af Geijerstam, "chuck it in at the theatre. If you find it impossible, hide it away." At this time, he considered the first part to be complete in itself; he did not originally intend to follow it with two sequels. He began writing Part 2 during the summer of 1898 in Lund and had completed it by the middle of July. The first two parts were published in a single volume in October 1898. Strindberg arranged for a copy to be sent to Henrik Ibsen, describing him as "the Master, from whom he learned much." Strindberg began to write Part 3 in January 1901. It was published in April 1904.
The dramatic structure of the first part utilises a circular, palindromic form of the Medieval "station drama."The protagonist, The Stranger, on his way to an asylum, passes through seven "stations;" having reached the asylum, he then returns to each in reverse order, before arriving at his starting-point on a street corner. Peter Szondi describes this form as a type of subjective theatre in which the classical "unity of action" is replaced with a "unity of the self":
In the "station drama," the hero, whose development is described, is separated in the clearest possible manner from the other figures he meets at the stations along his way. They appear only in terms of his encounters with them and only from his perspective. They are, thus, references to him.
This technique affects radically the way in which time operates in the drama, producing a static and episodic quality to the scenes.It belongs to what came to be known as "I-dramaturgy."
To Damascus received its première at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm on 19 November 1900, under the direction of Emil Grandinson.August Palme played the Stranger and Harriet Bosse played the Lady. The director hoped to utilise magic lanterns projected onto gauze as a means of tackling the many scene-changes that the play required, though he was forced to abandon the idea in the face of technical difficulties. The production ran for twenty performances.
August Falck directed a production of Part 1 at the Intimate Theatre in Stockholm, which opened on 18 November 1910.The theatre closed soon after under mounting debts. Another production was staged in Ystad in January 1912 as part of Strindberg's 63rd birthday celebrations.
Part 1 received its British première at the Westminster Theatre in London, in a production by the Stage Society that opened on 2 May 1937.It was directed by Carl H. Jaffé and starred Francis James and Wanda Rotha.
All three parts were performed at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, in a production that opened on 3 April 1975.It was directed by Michael Ockrent and David Gothard and starred Roy Marsden and Katherine Schofield.
A Doll's House is a three-act play written by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month. The play is set in a Norwegian town circa 1879.
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg wrote more than sixty plays and more than thirty works of fiction, autobiography, history, cultural analysis, and politics during his career, which spanned four decades. A bold experimenter and iconoclast throughout, he explored a wide range of dramatic methods and purposes, from naturalistic tragedy, monodrama, and history plays, to his anticipations of expressionist and surrealist dramatic techniques. From his earliest work, Strindberg developed innovative forms of dramatic action, language, and visual composition. He is considered the "father" of modern Swedish literature and his The Red Room (1879) has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel. In Sweden, Strindberg is known as an essayist, painter, poet, and especially as a novelist and playwright, but in other countries he is known mostly as a playwright.
William Archer was a Scottish writer, theatre critic, and English spelling reformer based, for most of his career, in London. He was an early advocate of the plays of Henrik Ibsen, and was an early friend and supporter of Bernard Shaw.
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Epic theatre is a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners who responded to the political climate of the time through the creation of new political dramas. Epic theatre is not meant to refer to the scale or the scope of the work, but rather to the form that it takes. Epic theatre emphasizes the audience's perspective and reaction to the piece through a variety of techniques that deliberately cause them to individually engage in a different way. The purpose of epic theatre is not to encourage an audience to suspend their disbelief, but rather to force them to see their world as it is.
The Moscow Art Theatre was a theatre company in Moscow. It was founded in 1898 by the seminal Russian theatre practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski, together with the playwright and director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko. It was conceived as a venue for naturalistic theatre, in contrast to the melodramas that were Russia's dominant form of theatre at the time. The theatre, the first to regularly put on shows implementing Stanislavski's system, proved hugely influential in the acting world and in the development of modern American theatre and drama.
Sigrid "Siri" Sofia Matilda Elisabet von Essen was a Swedish-speaking Finnish noblewoman and actress. Her acting career spanned about 15 years, during which time she appeared in a number of plays that the Swedish dramatist and writer August Strindberg wrote specifically for her.
Getting Married is a collection of short stories by the Swedish writer August Strindberg. The first volume was first published on 27 September 1884 and contained twelve stories depicting "twenty marriages of every variety," some of which present women in an egalitarian light. The volume also contained a long preface, in which, in addition to his support for women's rights, Strindberg offered criticisms of the campaign, as well as of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House. Strindberg finished a second volume of stories, dealing in part with "all the less common forms of 'marriage'" such as "pederasty and lesbianism," in the summer of 1885. After a delay caused by the unwillingness of printers and distributors to handle such a controversial volume, it was published in October 1886. While the first two stories are as sympathetic to women as some of those in the first volume, many border on misogyny. Its preface blamed women for religious persecution, war, and all of history's other misfortunes. Both volumes were written at a time when Strindberg was still married to Siri von Essen, though the publication of the second volume had a disastrous effect on their marriage.
The Swedish Theatre in Stockholm was, at the beginning of the 20th century, Sweden's largest dramatic theatre. It was located on Blasieholmen in central Stockholm. During its years in use, from 1875 to 1925, it was often considered as Sweden's foremost national theatre ).
Non-Aristotelian drama, or the 'epic form' of the drama, is a kind of play whose dramaturgical structure departs from the features of classical tragedy in favour of the features of the epic, as defined in each case by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle in his Poetics
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Per Egil Törnqvist was Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Amsterdam and an academic literary critic.
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