OUR NEXT PRODUCTION


WORLD PREMIERE
FEBRUARY 6 TO 22, 2020
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY, 155 FIRST AVE.
AUGUST STRINDBERG'S "THE PELICAN" AND "ISLE OF THE DEAD"
TRANSLATED AND DIRECTED BY ROBERT GREER


Strindberg wrote "The Pelican" for his Intimate Theater in 1907 and penned "Isle of the Dead" (Toten-Insel) immediately after as a prologue. The latter was unpublished until 1918 and rediscovered in the early 60s, when it was found and dismissed as a fragment. The two plays were finallly reunited by Ingmar Bergman as a radio play in 2003. This production is the world premiere staging of the two works together, as they were written and intended by their author.

Thanks go out to Magnus Florin, former chief dramaturg of the Royal Theater in Stockholm (who produced Bergman's radio production). He tipped off Robert Greer, director and translator of both plays, to the opportunity in Strindberg's enormous oevre for this true world premiere.

In "Isle of the Dead," a middle-school teacher who has died in his sleep wakes up to find an enlightened spirit sitting next to him. This spirit tries without success to explain to the teacher that he no longer need concern himself with such mundane matters as grading papers before class. Finally, the spirit instructs the benighted teacher to watch a play with him. The play is " The Pelican."

In "The Pelican," a vivacious young widow has eyes for her newly-married son-in-law. The moral turpitude of it is driving her son to drink. Throughout her children's lives, the widow denied them food and firewood, unwilling to "squander" money that she is actually stealing for herself. The son finds a letter from his late father recounting her cruelty -- how will he avenge her betrayal? The play's title comes from an erroneous myth of nature: the mother pelican feeds her chicks ground-up fish from her beak, but in earlier times, this was thought to be her own blood, making the bird a mistaken example of charity and sacrifice. In a wicked note of irony, the mother was honored with verses about the pelican's sacrifice at her daughter's wedding.

First production of "The Pelican" at The Intimate Theater
August Strindberg

 


 


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