10 Euro/red. 5 Euro
BY AUGUST STRINDBERG
Director: Nicolas Stemann
In 1887, Strindberg’s “The Father” premiered in Copenhagen. This play was not the first in which the Swedish playwright expressed his scepticism about an emerging feminist movement, which in his eyes was too far-reaching in its demands. At the centre of the action is a father: first of all, as the master of the house, who by law and tradition directs the family finances—but also the education of his daughter. Towards the end, however, he is the one who has lost the most, worn down by the demands of women and those of a (patriarchal) society. Finally, his wife’s—alleged—conspiracy against him drives him to madness. Today, for all its mastery of inner drama, Strindberg’s play about the dawn of the end of patriarchy, or rather, about a patriarch at his wits’ end, seems at first glance to be reactionary. Or it might even seem to represent the delusions of a playwright who has thrown himself into a new role and is helplessly overburdened with the movements of his era.
2018— “Angry white men” are everywhere. Broad stratas of society challenge emancipatory movements that had seemed irreversible up until now. Badmouthing “gender obsession” has become socially acceptable, as has denouncing discriminated identities and forms of existence as “decadent establishment”, while at the same time inciting action to “take back control”. Not only this, but countless articles in quality newspapers publish features that seriously explore the topic of men as the weak, disadvantaged sex nowadays, and report on the vast majority of suicides, or conversely, assassinations and killing sprees committed by men. Against this contemporary backdrop, what veracity can Strindberg’s “The Father” still offer? Can this play be rendered without bias and put to the service of a collective, open-minded— even disturbing and unsettling—meditation on human existence in these times? The first block of rehearsals ends on 19 January with a behind-the-scenes look. The premiere will follow on 28 April, 2018.