Okay, I admit, I'm prejudiced. I try to keep an open mind, but sometimes it's hard. Like when I hear of a theater company called Teater Tillsammans (Theatre Together); immediately I create certain preconceptions. Theatre Together, it almost sounds a bit religious, a bit like: Everyone can sing. Rather than good, as well. Conflict Resolved. As something where everyone are holding hands and sweep the problems under the carpet. Figuratively. Literally you can not hold hands and sweep at the same time.
I go to their website, and the interest meter goes up a little. It's a very good looking website, and photos of finished works look very professional. What is this theater company? They make guest appearances at the Moment: theater, so I wonder if they even are based in Stockholm? Maybe they're huge in Gothenburg or Malmö, or ... some other small sized Swedish town.
”Teater Tillsammans goal in the long run is to work towards young people's community involvement by presenting German drama that never or rarely been played in Sweden."
What the F? Talk about a limiting yourself. Okay, my interest meter is up a little more, a tiny little bit. German drama? Goete and Schiller? Really?
I read more about the show, and gets more interested. A 60-century play about the persecution of homosexuals? I googled the author, and spend hours on Google Translate to translate German wiki information into English. There is not much, either in English or Swedish of Martin Sperr, but now I'm quite properly interested.
And the poster is very, very stylish. So neat, in fact, that I the day after the show bikes to Hägerstensåsen, where I remember that I after a Parkteater (Public park theater) show have seen a poster on a bulletin board. But someone else has got there before me. Someone who loved the poster. Or who hated it. Or someone who just wanted to destroy things, nothing personal.
I'm very rarely sick, but the day before the show I get one of this darn summer colds. Nose’s running, and I am periodically shaken by virtually explosions of sneezing, the likes that could cause a herniated disc, if one does not take brace oneself. I had to re-book the ticket, to the next. My eyes were running, and my nose was completely unusable as respiratory organ: sometimes an open faucet, sometimes completely blocked. I would have been completely useless as an audience.
But the day after I feel so much better. A little nasal spray is all it takes. And one rely good blowing of the nose, occasionally.
I do not want to be too early, but I also do not have to rush. If I cycle from home two hours before the show starts, I have one hour to get there, and then an hour there, for coffee or sightseeing. I decide to leave my apartment at 17:00 and 16:45 I already sit on the cycle. Patience; your name is not mine.
The map function on my iPhone leads me over the tram tracks in Årsta, (an suburb of Stockholm) and at Valla Torg I find a second hand shop, where I spend a long, fruitless visits. Empty-handed, I come to Gubbängen 17:37. Almost an hour and a half before it starts.
The Gubbängen Square reminds me of something Gertrude Stein wrote in Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography; "There is no There there." It feels, I think, as if you stand in a back alley, behind the center, and it is only after a quick look around in the neighborhood that you realize that this is actually the very center. Not that it's dead, there are several interesting shops and restaurants, it's just that everything feels just weirdly decentralized, off balance, off on the sides. As if it can not decide what kind of suburb it wants to bee, as if someone built a center around a square that does not exist.
Moment:Teater in Bredäng has one of Stockholm's most beautiful foyers. It's like something created by Tom Ford. Panels, wood, leather, marble, 50-60s, swivel chairs in black leather. One almost expects Colin Firth, from the Ford film A Single Man, after Isherwoods book, to come in, coat over his arm, glasses and hat, walk up to the counter and order a black coffee.
Behind the counter stands a woman with long red hair, gathered in the back. She looks like she would fit in an Elizabethan play, where she would wear one of those low-cut white blouses, corset and ankle-length skirt, bare feet, and could have worked as a barmaid, or maid to the Count's daughter Olivia.
I'm a little early, she says, but I get my ticket and goes out intent on finding if there is a "here" in Gubbängen.
I'm still not convinced that I found it, but I found an enviable and well-stocked and enormous Konsum(Swedish grocery retail shops).
Back in the theater, after a small tour around the neighborhood, I buy coffee and a cheese sandwich with tomato, spices and olive oil, and find that the group has even printed up bags with the show's logo on it. Which free group is so ambitious that they even produce bags? I’m very impressed, and a little eager to buy one, but I think of all the bags by ICA (Another chain of swedish grocery retail shops) lying unused in my kitchen cabinets and brace myself.
Some of the show's actors are sitting in the big leather couch and are talking about their experiences trying to ride the subway without paying.
I blow my nose and take out my book, a biography of Barbra Streisand, from 1997, by Anne Edwards. It is just interesting enough for me to go on turning the pages, but seems to never end, and the impression I get is of a woman I do not like.
The cast disappears into the theater and after a while I can hear them start singing Where Have All The Flowers Gone, in German. Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind. I get a little worried, again. It is a very overused song, and I associate it with Marlene Dietrich sketch of French & Saunders. Will it be sung ironic, or is it gonna be a bit like when that lady from the Liberal Party sang We Shall Overcome?
I blow my nose.
People, the audience, starts to arrive. One of the actors who will play the unfaithful peasant servant, and who had just talked about trying to go on the subway for free, comes out and introduces a woman with a guitar. She, who is soon to play the butcher's wife, begins to sing Somliga Går Med Trasiga Skor(Some People Walk In Broken Shoes), and two women, one with a face like a boiled potatoes with a pony tail, and the other, an elongated Susan Sarandon, are talking louder and louder to drown out the vocals. They seem not to have seen each other in a long time, and I hear they have a lot to tell about themselves, and little time to listen. I blow my nose.
It is getting crowded in the foyer. People are drinking wine. There are female friends throughout. Mature female friends, middle-aged female friends, young female friends. A gray-haired man in turquoise and black checkered shirt and a denim jacket seems to know everyone, and as a social butterfly he flutters from table to table.
Finally we are let into the auditorium. I use my nasal spray spray and hope for a dry but easily breathed performance.
When you have reached a certain age comfort will be more important. It idoes not completely determine, I'm still lgoing to shows in theaters where you have to sit on the wooden benches, #Årsta Theatre(A community theatre in one of Stockholms suburbs, but a comfy chair can really enhance the pleasure.
Here they have burgundy, puffy cinema chairs, and it's a bit like sitting on memory foam. Tempur for your rump.
The stage is made up of fresh, new pallets, and a facade of untreated plywood, with door, window and porch stairs has been erected downstage. Almost a bit like a building barracks. Something temporarily.
On pallets, on the sides of the stage, waiting to make their entrance, actors sit.
It is the story about a small village, in 1948, in post war Germany. No jobs, no money. Abram, a young man who had been in prison, have just arrived in the village. His mother, Barbara, does not want him there. It is rumored that he is one of those who does it with men. The people in the village, previously most gossiped about the farmer's wife, who after her husband disappearance in the war, is now living with her servant, and the village whore, and peasant wife's strange son, now weather of a new prey. Hunting season has begun.
The author, Martin Sperr, who was also an actor, made his debut in 1962 at Theatre 44 in Munich as Lennie in Of Mice and Men, and it's Steinbeck I sit and think about, more and more, as the piece is played out. And, George Büchner's Woyzeck. And to some extent Tennessee Williams.
The make-up, hair and costumes are remarkable. I sit, Anna Wintor-like, at the front, like at a fashion show. The clothes are chocolate brown, beige, white, solid or discrete, interesting, typical patterns, and each suspender, every apron, every earring or watch feels selected. This is not just costumed or made up. It is styled. And consequently, each actor has a style, an appearance, an interesting face, a look. Really neat. Without exhausting its realism of postwar fashion, something modern, enviable is created. Each garment is fascinating, and the whole is like something out of a prêt-à-porter collection. Wartime Vintage. Or as a something signed Grace Coddington.
It's scarily well played. They do not offer any mitigating circumstances, but there is no excessive enjoyment in the Sturm und Drang. It's in the seemingly normal reasoning that is scary. There are no monster, and that is what upsets. Characters become inhumanly human.
The cast is perhaps in some cases a little too young for the roles they play, but it works because they are focusing on the role's intentions rather than its age.
They have made many impressive choices: the really nasty scenes unfolds in the back of the theatre, behind us, the audience, in the stairs out to the foyer, and as we only can hear it makes it that much more frightening. They have also chosen to play several scenes inside the house, so that we only see what we manage to glimpse through the window.
Perhaps most impressive is that I do not feel neither sympathy or aversion to anyone in the show. All are human, and everyone makes terrible choices.
The homosexual aspect of the witch hunt gets minimal space, and it feels right, because it basically is not about homophobia. It's about us and them, and the idea that in order for there to be an Us there must be a Them. The other team. The other country. The other people. The Enemy. Someone to fight jointly. United we stand, but we must have an enemy, otherwise we fall.
This is a notion that is needed, especially now, when so many in our country have started pointing fingers, look for the guilty, spreading rumors.
Joakim Clifton Bergman
Free, thanks Julia and Teater Tillsammans.
So far, the performing arts in 2014 has cost me 6240: - (941,57 USD)
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CYRANO, in a park in Hägerstensåsen:
"Behind me, they have finished the cheese platter and instead switched to coffee and cake. A great big saffroncolored, plump jelly roll is dumped in to a tupperware, and they drink coffee out of real china cups. There is no bottom in these here hags.
(The following is a made up verse in alexandrine that is untranslatable:)
It's crazy, where does all that food go?
Do they vomit on the sly, or use the back door?
How do they accommodate everything? The food and cheese and drink?
To me half is enough, of all I would erupt! "
Sounds interesting? Here's the rest:
ESPRIT! with Loa Falkman, at Drottningholm Palace Theatre:
"The girl in the white empire dress rush up the stairs and to our bench, leans forward and whispers:
"I'm sorry, but is not allowed to take photos in here ..."
She was fast. I had only managed to take two photos and one of them a completely useless selfie, where I'm too close to the screen and Achromotrichia is so dark that he disappears in direct light from the stage.
There is a flash somewhere behind her, and she turns round: A little further away is a woman taking pictures of the ceiling. She rushes over, fast as greased lightning from the early 1800s. "
ROCK THE NIGHT, with Scandinavian Dancers on Silja Serenade.
"The singer seems to still have some problems vocally, but her mood is great.
The four female dancers are often barely dressed, but also two of the four male dancers are baring naked chests and six-packs, to the delight of many ladies in the audience and at least two middle-aged men. "
Sounds interesting? Here's the rest:
(Sorry, I have as yet not translated this page:)
#Huntingscenesfromlowerbavaria #Martin Sperr #Parkteatern #Publictheater #Teatertillsammans #Googletranslate #Gubbängen #Moment:teater #ColinFirth #TomFord #Asingleman #Konsum #Ica #Barbrastreisand #AnneEdwards, #Biography #Årsta #Germany #TennesseeWilliams #Woyzeck #GraceCoddington #Gay #WitchHunt