Saturday, 12 February 2011

frøken else

i've just come back from an evening at the theatre. i saw, and heard, and felt, a monologue, a stream of consciousness.

frøken else, originally a novella by arthur schnitzler, is an innocent young lady of 19 when she is invited to stay at a hotel with her rich aunt. she receives a letter from her mother, telling her that her father is bankrupt and asking her to see with an old friend of the family, who also stays at the hotel, if he couldn't help out with the much needed money. else, who is disgusted by the man, fights with herself if she should do what her family asks her to. the man offers to give the money, but only if she will undress for him and let him look at her for a quarter of an hour. being forced to decide between her family's ruin and her own integrity as a woman, she panics, creates a scandal and then takes her own life.

the way all this is transported by only one person during the course of little more than an hour on an almost empty stage is fascinating. the one dominant thing on the stage is an overdimensional birdcage, which becomes almost something like a dancing partner for else. it encloses her, like her life until that point has been something of a golden cage. it is a prison, and one that she realises she can never escape from, whatever she does, however she reacts. she may escape for a short while, but is always drawn back, and even though it sometimes casts her out it is also a protection from whatever lies outside waiting.

elses story is not only put into words. the play is a monologue gone physical, and it was this physical intensity that struck, that almost shattered me. shyness, anxiety, panic, disgust, every possible feeling was displayed through short, intense movements, like ticks that your mind cannot controll. as if your soul seeks your muscles to express a deeper truth, and cuts off your brain before it starts showing. it was eerie, frightening, and stunningly beautiful. true art.

pictures from

1 comment:

Andreas said...

I wish I could have seen this with you.