Ghost Sonata as an Expressionistics Play

Topics: Drama, August Strindberg, Theatre of the Absurd Pages: 1 (349 words) Published: May 1, 2013
he Ghost Sonata does not take place in the real world; or at least not in a world most people would recognize as reality. Strindberg originally subtitled his play "Kama-Loka," the name of a mystical dream world through which some mortals have to wander before reaching the kingdom of death in the afterlife. Accordingly, the characters in The Ghost Sonata speak, move and act as if they are part of a dream—or a nightmare. One sees glimpses of the future, another embodies tragedies from the past. There are literal ghosts and vampires in the play, as well as a mysterious woman known as the Mummy. The world Strindberg created in The Ghost Sonata was one he found in his own tortured imagination. On stage, his vision of an alternate reality was a forerunner to later twentieth century experiments in non-realistic dramatic literature, such as Expressionism, popular in Germany in the 1920s, and the Absurdist movement of the 1950s, made popular by writers like Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean Genet. When the play was originally staged at the Intimate Theatre in 1908, its strange, avant-garde style and grim view of the world made it unpopular with critics. It wasn't until the famous director Max Reinhardt staged the play in Berlin in 1916, then toured it to Strindberg's native Sweden in 1917, that it won acclaim from audiences and reviewers. Reinhardt's production toured central Europe through the 1920s, and the play was produced by Eugene O'Neill's Provincetown Players in New York in 1924 and at the Globe and Strand Theatres in London in 1926. In 1930 it was turned into an opera with music by Julius Weissmann and performed in Munich, and the British Broadcasting Corporation aired a television production of The Ghost Sonata in 1962. Reviewer Maurice Richardson noted that, even though the television production was probably seen by fewer than a million people, ‘‘it was probably a larger audience than the total number of people who had ever seen it before.'' Source:...
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