From Oedipus to Hamlet to Ms. Julie [ tragic & tragedy ]

... CHEKHOV PAGES * : Vsevolod Meyerhold was certain that there needed to be a new "theatre," though his trials in Symbolism were experiments... Egocentric Revolution: "Supermen, exeptional men, geniuses, giants, demi-gods, 'men too strong for their social milieu', wrote Neitzsche to Strindberg, that other forgotten precursor of German expressionism." (Virilio, Ground Zero)

Strindberg Page? Strindberg v. Strindberg (naturalism v. expressionism)

Miss Julie (script)

Thr413 "A Dream Play" 1901 (145)

Logic of Dreams = Feelings

Symphony, polyphonic -- fugue. Bakhtin and multi-vocal. Musical treatment.
Cyclic than linear, montage technique of film (Woyzeck), Brecht's episodic?

Inner reality -- new individual (deviduals, Deleuze)

Life as "a tale told by an idiot."

New "naturalism" ("Zola of the occult"): expressionism and symbolism (morality-play) as a reaction

Poetry visual, verbal, narrative and symbolic

From the Preface to Miss Julie (1888): "Miss Julie is a modern character."


"mother's crime"

"The type is tragic, revealing the drama of a desperate struggle against Nature."

"Master and Servant" in themes directory





Analysis of the monologue from "Miss July" (or "Miss Julie"):

JEAN: Do you know how people in high life look from the under world? No... of course you don't. They look like hawks and eagles whose backs one seldom sees, for the soar up above. I lived in a hovel provided by the state, with seven brothers and sisters and a pig; out on a barren stretch where nothing grew, not even a tree, but from the window I could see the Count's park walls with apple trees rising above them. That was the garden of paradise; and there stood many angry angels with flaming swords protecting it; but for all that I and other boys found a way to the tree of life-- now you despise me. You say you don't, but you despise me all the same. No matter! One time I entered the garden of paradise-- it was to weed the onion beds with my mother! Near the orchard stood a Turkish pavilion, shaded and overgrown with jessamine and honeysuckle. I didn't know what it was used for and I had never seen anything so beautiful. People passed in and out and one day-- the door was left open. I sneaked in and beheld walls covered with pictures of kings and emperors and there were red-fringed curtains at the windows-- now you understand what I mean-- I ... I had never been in the castle and how my thoughts leaped-- and there they returned ever after. Little by little the longing came over me to experience for once the pleasure of-- enfin, I sneaked in and was bewildered. But then I heard someone coming-- there was only one exit for the great folk, but for me there was another, and I had to choose that. Once out I started to run, scrambled through a raspberry hedge, rushed over strawberry bed and came to a stop on the rose terrace. For there I saw a figure in a white dress and white slippers and stockings-- it was you! I hid under a heap of weeds, under, you understand, where the thistles pricked me, and lay on the damp, rank earth. I gazed at you walking among the roses. And I thought if it is true that the thief on the cross could enter heaven and dwell among the angels it was strange that a pauper child on God's earth could not go into the castle park and play with the Countess' daughter. Oh, Miss Julie, a dog may lie on the couch of a Countess, a horse may be caressed by a lady's hand, but a servant--yes, yes, sometimes there is stuff enough in a man, whatever he be, to swing himself up in the world, but how often does that happen! But to return to the story, do you know what I did? I ran down to the mill dam and threw myself in with my clothes on-- and was pulled out and got a thrashing. But the following Sunday when all the family went to visit my grandmother I contrived to stay at home; I scrubbed myself well, put on my best clothes, such as they were, and went to church so that I might see you. I saw you. Then I went home with my mind made up to put an end to myself. But I wanted to do it beautifully and without pain. Then I happened to remember that elderberry blossoms are poisonous. I knew where there was a big elderberry bush in full bloom and I stripped it of its riches and made a bed of it in the oat-bin. Have you ever noticed how smooth and glossy oats are? As soft as a woman's arm. -- Well, I got in and let down the cover, fell asleep, and when I awoke I was very ill, but didn't die--as you see. What I wanted-- I don't know. You were unattainable, but through the vision of you I was made to realize how hopeless it was to rise above the conditions of my birth. (This monologue is reprinted from Plays by August Strindberg. Trans. Edith and Warner Oland. Boston: John W. Luce and Co., 1912)


* 2005 updates Ms. Julie * [ preface ] Suggestions for the Final Paper:

"6 Characters" (Compare with Strindberg's Symbolism):
* The trope of the mirror in the play, in particular as it relates to the Actor and Character -- What is the relation between the mirroring that happens between these figures and estrangement?
* What is the significance of the Child and Son's muteness? What is the effect of their silence?
* Consider the function of reminiscence in the play. Who remembers and when? What do they remember? What is the significance of these reminiscences to the Characters' drama? What is their significance to the rehearsal? Isolate two or three reminscenes for comparison
* What is the significance of the Son's self-presentation as an "unrealized character?" SYMBOLIST TRAITS:
the verse is musical.
words should not state something, but they should suggest things.
most symbolist writing was free verse (free from the constraint of past poetic structures)
Beauty is the central focus of symbolist ideology.

Language: ® Naturalists’ language ‘copies’ the world.
Symbolists’ language creates a new poetic world.

The Possessed 2003
Colour: The Symbolist imagination was colourful. The dominant colour was BLUE (or GREEN).

Flora: Flowers became recognised as being marshy and disquieting. The lily and the rose were important for the symbolists.

Alexey Losev: Äë˙ ěĺí˙ ńčěâîëčçě -- ýňî íŕčâűńřčé đĺŕëčçě, ŕ íĺ ńóáúĺęňčâčçě. Ńóáúĺęňčâčçě -- ýňî äĺęŕäĺíňńňâî. [For me symbolism is the hiest realism, a not subjectivism. Subjectivism is decadence.]

Strindberg: The Plays (Oberon Book) -- The Chamber Plays (The Storm, The Burned Site, The Ghost Sonata, The Pelican, The Black Glove) and The Ghost Highway. Gregory Motton's translations combine an unprecedented faithfulness to Strindberg's original texts with the natural fluency of one of our most linguistically able contemporary playwrights. 1840020628

Miss Julie and Other Plays (Oxford World's Classics) 0192833170

Strindberg: Five Plays -- Strindberg's most important and most frequently performed plays: The Father, Miss Julie, A Dream Play, The Dance of Death, and The Ghost Sonataare gathered together here in translations praised for their fluency and their elegance. 0520046986

Strindberg: Other Sides: Seven Plays -- 0820436917

Strindberg's Letters, Volume 1 : 1862-1892 (Strindberg's Letters) 0226777286

Strindberg and Modernist Theatre : Post-Inferno Drama on the Stage 0521623774

Strindberg & His Women: 3 One-Act Plays (1997) DVD 6304723024

Symbolism, indirectness, figurality of literary representation
Layers of meaning: literal and symbolic
Ideological meaning generally beyond the literal

Connections with "Fantastic Realism" or/and "Magic Realism"...

Readings (myself):

Symbolism by Robert Goldwater; Westview Press, 1998 * [ - 2: From Synthetism to Symbolism - 3: Suggestion, Mystery, Dream - 4: Supernaturalism and Naturalism ]

The Heritage of Symbolism by C. M. Bowra; Macmillan, 1943

The Literary Symbol by William York Tindall. 278 pgs.

Cultural Symbolism in Literature by Robert A. Hall Jr. 170 pgs.

Symbolism in Art [ example ]

Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism by Mircea Eliade, Philip Mairet. 189 pgs.

Symbolism and Semiotics

Paul Valaery and the Civilized Mind by Norman Suckling; Oxford University Press, 1954 (?) Valery's Notebooks

"New Drama"? Monologue analysis in class (could/should be done with Ibsen or Chekhov). Why do we need new actor (Method Acting)? Jean (above), Julie (left)?

The subtext idea: interpretation = required "character study" (actor as artist, author). Stanislavsky called it "LIVING A PART" -- full indentification with a character.

Philosophy references: Bergson + Existantialism

New Drama and "Film Acting" ("Silent Acting" and "Pre-Acting"). Bergman and Tarkovsky pages.

from Sparknotes:

* A number of critics have identified Strindberg's tendency to at once idealize and degrade his female characters. Discuss one example of this in Miss Julie.


* How does the story of Saint John the Baptist function in the play?

Late in the play, Christine mentions to Jean that the priest will be discussing the story of Saint John the Baptist in church. We can connect this mention to other elements of the play. The name "Jean" is French for "John," which suggests a link between John, the beheaded saint, and Jean, the man emasculated by Julie. Soon thereafter, Jean decapitates Julie's pet canary, Serena. This suggests that Jean is reversing the story of Saint John by beheading a bird who symbolizes Julie, a woman. This reversal indicates the play's misogynist trajectory.
The subject of much late 19th-century literature, the stories of Saint John's execution vary greatly but almost all revolve around Salome, the daughter of Herodias and King Herod. Salome urges Herod to arrest the saint for his public invectives against the king's adultery. On his birthday feast, Herod, consumed with incestuous desire for his daughter, promises to grant Salome a wish if she performs the infamous dance of the seven veils. She performs the dance and then, at the request of her mother, demands the head of the saint on a platter. John is executed, and Salome presents her head to her mother. As interpreted by Freud and others, decapitation is often a symbol of castration. Thus the story of Salome has become a touchstone for fantasies of monstrous, castrating women.
Both Julie and her mother are, metaphorically, castrating women. Jean is Julie's would-be victim. Jean tries to reverse the Saint John parallel by playing the executioner to Serena, who is a double for Julie. Julie is the victim of this cruel execution. "Kill me too! Kill me!" Julie screams masochistically, making her identification with the bird clear. Miss Julie effectively inverts the gender dynamics of the biblical allegory: the woman who would castrate becomes the castrated woman.

Ms. Julie in acting/directing classes


Strindberg - Theatre Books


François Sarcey: "When I understand a few phrases here and there, I tell myself: this is a Decadent poet. When I understand practically nothing, I say to myself: this must be a symbolist!"

Oh, you, the unfortunate, the undergrads, you have to struggle with definitions and dates! God, have mercy on them!

August Strindberg (1849 - 1912): Playwright, Novelist, Essayist, Poet Swedish vagabond playwright known for his contributions to the naturalist, symbolist and expressionist theatre.

sym-bol-ism 1. the art or practice of using symbols esp. by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations...
Strindberg Themes: Corruption of the male's vitality and social role because of the'emancipated woman," rebellion and defiance of God and society (Nietzsche), search for some sense of salvation and reconciliation with the world, the hidden symbolism of the spiritual and natural worlds, the interconnectedness of the all things material, scientific and spiritual, the Occult, Alchemy social inequality, Swedenborg.

"Yes," I said, I saw the hand and I knew the question.

"But, Anatoly, isn't it about art in general... this symbolism?"

And knew that I have to spend the whole hour talking about "symbols" and after the class they will be even more confused. Why confused? Well, because it is about art! (See page on Semiotics at Drive-Through Film Theory Page

What is the difference between IMAGE and SYMBOL?

What is a METAPHOR?

What is SIGN? [see Semiotics THR Theory]


Cultural reading is reading the context and subtext -- beyond the text!

Symbolism opened 20th century, the first decade -- and the last decade of realism Era. It's ended in WWI... The rest is "subjective" realism, from within, Reality of mind, thought, feelings...

What are the limitations of Realism? "Realism without Borders"... links

Next step: Cubists and early Surrealist painters

[ Symbolism as a movement begins in poetry (mid nineteenth century with the poets Baudelaire, Verlaine and Rimbaud) where it had always existed. ]

... Before getting to Appia and Craig there is one last nineteenth century figure we need to consider: Richard Wagner (1813-1883). The theories of the Symbolists have much in common with the ideas already put forward Wagner's The Art Work of the Future (1849). [ archetype, myth, dream and supernatural and mythical elements ]

"Art for Art Sake": "Theatre for the sake of theatre, theatre as an art governed by laws unrelated - even opposed - to the workaday world..." (Gorelik p196)

Craig: "Not realism but style" and "the triumph of the emotion of beauty over the lie of Naturalism" (Maurice Denis, Symbolist painter); "The condition of dramatic life is poetic truth and not reality." (Hildebrand); "The theatre will be what it should be: an excuse for dreams." (Quillard).


Vrubel described the Demon as "A spirit which unites in itself the male and female appearances, a spirit which is not so much evil as suffering and wounded, but withal a powerful and noble being." And -- Klimt

Klimt and The Possessed

Style: Generally Strindberg's style can be divided into two periods, the pre-Inferno naturalism and historical realism and the post-Inferno symbolism and expressionism. The early plays unmasked the base drives of man and showed human nature in its rawest and often most vile form. Most of the action in these plays takes place through dialogue and the settings are usually small-scale domestic situations depicted realistically. They are also very compact, high in dramatic tension and extremely focused on exploring the concept of the play rather developing the characters or settings. The post-Inferno plays are also focused on exploring concepts but they are more imaginative and poetic. The action takes place as much in the actions of the characters and the sets, which are often heavily symbolic, as the dialogue. The plays usually focus on more basic spiritual matters - on the general misery of man and some form of redemption, often using religious symbolism. The symbolist plays, such as the Chamber Plays, are set in realistic domestic situations but everyday items, the characters and their actions are giving symbolic, often religious, significance. The expressionist plays deal more abstractly and poetically with similar spiritual matters, using symbolic names like The Stranger or the Lady, and idealized, often other worldly, settings, like monasteries, and features from nature. Supernatural acts, such as Indian gods becoming human and the appearance of ghosts, are common in the expressionist plays. Strindberg seems to have given little thought to staging his plays because his stage directions are often scant and give little direction on how to produce the effects described. Characters appear and disappear with entrances or exits noted and set descriptions often focus more on the effect they are to produce that what will actually be seen on the stage. Strindberg had a very vibrant prose style in both his fiction and non-fiction. In non-fiction, he launched a full assault on whatever he was assaulting, but often fictionalized facts to fit his symbolic schemes or other purposes.

My favorite -- Russian Silver Age (1900 till WW I)

Don't ask! I will confess. Yes! Because, finally, the artist became a hero for artists Because art became a subject of art. Yes, you heard it before -- "Art For Art's Sake"! Russian Symbolism *

Bakst and Vrubel (+ Klimt)

Alexander Block and Andrey Bely

Early Meyerhold (before 1917, when he became constructivist and communist).

Interesting how style became so important! Aha!

Also, Commedia D'Arte was resurrected. The theatricality of stage. What a powerful reaction to naturalism and realism!


I see hands again!

No! No more questions! Go to and take Theatre History Class! Go to graduate school! Go away!

... well, we have to talk about symbolism in order to understanding so many "isms" are there to follow. Like "expressionism" -- no, there is no web-page on expressionism. Go for Dada or Futurism pages. Go and see Pre-production pages for "Fish in A Tree"! Close enough!

Music & Images. I'll find them, the decadents, who became our classics. It was the end of the great European civilization after all. They were the last sounds of it.

Miss July

[ ... Miss Julie is Strindberg's masterpiece, written at the height of his powers as a dramatist. It treats sexuality and human struggle with a frank realism previously unknown in the theatre. ]

JULIE: We must go away, but we must talk first. That is, I must speak, for until now you have done all the talking. You have told me about your life--now I will tell you about mine, then we will know each other through and through before we start on our journey together. You see, my mother was not of noble birth. She was brought up with ideas of equality, woman's freedom and all that. She had very decided opinions against matrimony, and when my father courted her she declared that she would never be his wife--but she did so for all that. I came into the world against my mother's wishes, I discovered, and was brought up like a child of nature by my mother, and taught everything that a boy must know as well; I was to be an example of a woman being as good as a man--I was made to go about it boy's clothes and take care of the horses and harness and saddle and hunt, and all such things; in fact, all over the estate women servants were taught to do men's work, with the result being that the property came near being ruined--and so we became the laughing stock of the countryside. At last my father must have awakened from his bewitched condition, for he revolted and ran things according to his ideas. My mother became ill--what it was I don't know, but she often had cramps and acted queerly--sometimes hiding in the attic or the orchard, and would even be gone all night at times. Then came the big fire which of course you have heard about. The house, the stables--everything was burned, under circumstances that pointed strongly to an incendiary, for the misfortune happened the day after the quarterly insurance was due and the premiums sent in by my father were strangely delayed by his messenger so that they arrived too late. My father was utterly at a loss to know where to get money to rebuild with. Then my mother suggested that he try to borrow from a man who had been her friend in her youth--a brick manufacturer here in the neighborhood. My father made the loan, but wasn't allowed to pay any interest, which surprised him. Then the house was rebuilt. Do you know who burned the house? [Pause] My mother. Do you know who the brick manufacturer was? [Pause] My mother's lover. Do you know who's money it was? [Pause] My mother's. There was no contract. My mother had some money which she had not wished to have in my father's keeping and therefore, she had entrusted it to her friend's care. All this came to my father's knowledge. He couldn't proceed against him, wasn't allowed to pay his wife's friend, and couldn't prove that it was his wife's money. That was my mother's revenge for his taking the reins of the establishment into his own hands. At that time he was ready to shoot himself. Gossip had it that he tried and failed. Well, he lived it down--and my mother paid full penalty for her misdeed. Those were five terrible years for me, as you can fancy. I sympathized with my father, but I took my mother's part, for I didn't know the true circumstances. Through her I learned to distrust and hate men, and I swore to her never to be a man's slave. (Plays by August Strindberg. Trans. Edith and Warner Oland. Boston: John W. Luce and Co., 1912)

[ Miss Julie (1888) remains Strindberg's most famous work. In the history of drama, it is primarily canonized for its stylistic innovations. Its preface serves as a classic manifesto of late-nineteenth century naturalism. In defining the new naturalist theater, Strindberg makes two major demands of contemporary playwrights. First, he demands that they adhere to an unflinching realism, whether in content (for example the explicit references to menstruation, blasphemy, lust, and bodily functions in Miss Julie); staging (the elimination of footlights and makeup); and time (Miss Julie, for example, takes place over a single, compressed, and unbroken ninety-minute episode). Strindberg also demands that the naturalist playwright strive toward a new conception of character. Eschewing the one-dimensional stock figure of the melodrama, the playwright must people his stage with full, lively beings. Characters must not be collections of idiosyncrasies and catch phrases coupled with simple motivations. Instead, the playwright must craft a psychology, a "soul". Strindberg is also venerated as a progenitor of the expressionist theater, though he did explicitly theorize about expressionism as he did about naturalism. Expressionist devices are present throughout Miss Julie and Strindberg's other works. Key examples include continual allusions to mystical forces, the use of symbology and ritualized dance, the backdrop of the pagan festival, and the construction of an absent, shadowy, and yet precipitating center of authority in the figure of the Count.

Pre-publication version of a review that will be published in The Moscow Times April 22, 2005. Any and all quotations of, or references to, this article must cite John Freedman. © 2005 John Freedman. The final version will be available (with accompanying photos) on Friday in the Context section of The Moscow Times at -- By John Freedman

What a strange thing – the almost sudden appearance of Andrei Konchalovsky in Moscow theater.

Konchalovsky, of course, is a famous filmmaker whose career in cinema commenced over 40 years ago. He began by assisting the legendary Andrei Tarkovsky in the making of “Ivan’s Childhood” and “Andrei Rublyov.” Konchalovsky’s own Russian films such as “Romance for Lovers” (1974) and “Asya’s Happiness” (filmed 1967, released 1988) are classics. Some of his Hollywood films, most notably “Runaway Train” (1985) enjoyed significant success. His made-for-U.S.-television mini-series of “The Odyssey” (1997) is often rerun on cable.

And now at age 67 he is making theater. His Moscow debut as a theater director took place last season with an energetic, beautifully detailed production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” This season, in a joint production for the Theater na Maloi Bronnoi and his own Andrei Konchalovsky Production Center, he has created an exquisite and compelling rendition of “Miss Julie,” August Strindberg’s tale of sexual and class warfare.

These two productions appeared with little or no fanfare at all. But it’s not fanfare, hype or their lack that is of interest here – it is the depth, the quality, one is even tempted to say the perfection of the work that is. The fact is that Konchalovsky has moved into Moscow’s theater space as though he should have been there all along. As silly as it may sound in this city rich with talented directors of diverse styles, Konchalovsky offers something no one else does – a fine-tuned, subtly nuanced universe based solidly in the traditions of psychological, realistic theater.

There are those who might suggest that this traditional kind of theater is old hat. Maybe I have said something like that a time or two. Which is just where Konchalovsky comes in – to show us by example that the problem is not in a style that is out of date. Rather, the problem is that precious few directors are capable of exploiting its riches any more. Realistic, psychological theater has been so diluted and battered by the influence of inane television sitcoms and so-called “reality programs,” that it presently teeters on the verge of extinction. With his two recent productions, Konchalovsky has revived the form in all its splendor. I wouldn’t be too optimistic about a long-term prognosis. Perhaps these shows are the final bright flare before the final, destructive blow-up. But if that’s so, it makes them even more precious.

Konchalovsky has a way of setting the tone before his shows even begin. In “Miss Julie” it is Lyubov Skorina’s weighty, detailed set that stands before us empty, cavernous and promising. Gray and grungy, with a tangible lived-in atmosphere, it represents the kitchen in which three lives will be upended in the course of one night. The monotony of the set’s color, combined with its array of spare, minuscule details, offers an impression of a world filled with far more than meets the eye. Adding to it in the course of the performance is the lighting by Andrei Izotov. It serves primarily to highlight key details at crucial moments – the glow of an oven fire ominously reflecting off a wall; the unseen master’s reddish riding boots appearing to glow in the darkness as they stand alone on a table at center-stage; the appearance of morning light in the lush garden beyond the kitchen windows.

Strindberg’s play is one of the harshest in the canon of world drama. It tells a tale of seduction, disillusionment and bitter betrayal that sweep like the plague over the lives of the noblewoman Julie, her father’s man-servant Jean and his fiancee, the servant Kristin on a magical though ill-fated Midsummer’s Eve. The playwright’s personal pained outlook on the antagonistic relationship between men and women was reflected with especial venom here. He also gave vent to his belief that the differences of class are an insurmountable obstacle to humans finding common ground.

Konchalovsky did not soften these broadside attacks one bit. What he did was expand the play’s scope to include the gray emotional shadings and psychological half-tones that we generally expect from a contemporary work of art. Through his careful structuring of the characters’ interrelations, he revealed them as complex, living, breathing individuals. Their weaknesses and failures in no way overshadow their charm and innate humanity. Konchalovsky’s cast provides believable, engaging performances that invariably avoid the cliches that can easily accrue to Strindberg’s drama.

More than a tale of sexual antagonism or social injustice, Konchalovsky staged “Miss Julie” as an exploration of the human craving for freedom. That such an endeavor is fraught with danger and tragedy makes it all the more compelling.

As Jean, Alexei Grishin displays a chameleon-like ability to transform before our eyes. Moreover, there is nothing flashy or showy about his work. Everything he experiences takes place internally. We see his changes through his eyes, through his manner of interaction with others – his brusque, possessive arrogance with Kristin being replaced instantly by shyness and contriteness when Julie first appears. This then melds into an uneasy mix of nasty superiority and childlike vulnerability once he has allowed Julie to seduce him and the pair briefly plan to run away.

As played by Grishin, Jean cannot be pinpointed, cannot be labeled simply as crude and mercantile, although he certainly is that. He is, as they say, a person, and is capable of experiencing everything any person can, from the worst almost to the best.

Yulia Vysotskaya’s Julie is aflutter with confusion. Brought up by her mother to hate men, she is no mere man-hater. She is sincerely attracted to Jean and, what would seem to be to her advantage, she genuinely wishes to believe she does not care that her liaison with her father’s lackey will mean her downfall in society. Indeed, she does believe as long as she is in the grips of the sexual attraction that drives her to join Jean in his bed. But when reality settles in, she becomes a bundle of contradictions and inner conflicts. Alert to her desire to break free of the restrictions laid on her by family history and social dictate, she cannot act in accordance with her aspirations.

Julie’s story, in Vysotskaya’s interpretation, becomes one of a valiant but doomed effort to achieve personal independence.

Darya Grachyova turns in a fine, earthy performance as Kristin, the spurned fiancee whose natural wisdom and understanding of life provide a counterbalance to the chaotic emotions that temporarily seize Julie and Jean. Not the least important aspect of Kristin’s personality is the dignity that she maintains even as she is humiliated by her lover and her mistress.

Konchalovsky’s calibration of the characters’ interaction can be astonishing. One tangibly feels the on-stage gravitational field change each time someone exits or enters, or each time the relationships are altered by new developments. It is one of those theatrical realities that cannot be shown or defined in a concrete way, but which is sensed deeply and immediately by an audience. It is one of the signs of a masterful director at work.

One is tempted to say the Konchalovsky brings cinematic detail and veracity to the stage. But I have seen many famous film directors stumble badly while translating the laws of film into theater. Konchalovsky, on the contrary, has an innate grasp of what makes theater work. It’s good to have him making theater for us.

***“Miss Julie” (Miss Zhuli), a joint production of the Theater na Maloi Bronnoi and the Andrei Konchalovsky Production Center, plays May 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. at the Theater na Maloi Bronnoi, 4 Malaya Bronnaya. Metro Pushkinskaya. Tel. 290-4093. Running time: 2 hours.***

Read semiotics pages.

[ The pix are lost! ]

Is symbolism a kind of realism?

Was symbolism a reaction to naturalism?

Symbolism in Beckett's Endgame.

Symbolism in your favorite play...

Next: theatre theory directory
THE LAWYER: Look at these walls. Does it not look as if the wall-paper itself had been soiled by every conceivable sin? Look at these documents into which I write tales of wrong. Look at myself -- No smiling man ever comes here; nothing is to be seen here but angry glances, snarling lips, clenched fists -- And everybody pours his anger, his envy, his suspicions, upon me. Look -- my hands are black, and no washing will clean them. See how they are chapped and bleeding -- I can never wear my clothes more than a few days because they smell of other people's crimes -- At times I have the place fumigated with sulphur, but it does not help. I sleep near by, and I dream of nothing but crimes -- Just now I have a murder case in court -- oh, I can stand that, but do you know what is worse than anything else? -- That is to separate married people! Then it is as if something cried way down in the earth and up there in the sky -- as if it cried treason against the primal force, against the source of all good, against love-- And do you know, when reams of paper have been filled with mutual accusations, and at last a sympathetic person takes one of the two apart and asks, with a pinch of the ear or a smile, the simple question: what have you really got against your husband?--or your wife?--then he, or she, stands perplexed and cannot give the cause. Once--well, I think a lettuce salad was the principal issue; another time it was just a word--mostly it is nothing at all. But the tortures, the sufferings--these I have to bear-- See how I look! Do you think I could ever win a woman's love with this countenance so like a criminal's? Do you think anybody dares to be friendly with me, who has to collect all the debts, all the money obligations, of the whole city?-- It is a misery to be a man! (Strindber, The Dream Play, from Plays by August Strindberg, v. 1. Trans. Edwin Björkman. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1912)

2008 Ms. Julie : dramaturgy
This page is for Strindberg studies (Ms. July). BTW, why did he chose this name (July)? It was too easy. In class they got the answer right away.

All bold words (terminology) must be checked out in the Glossary -- you can expect them during WW Test 2.

School/Movement    -   Symbolism       Dates  1885-1895 
     Very early reaction to realism 
     People are too dependent on surface of things - all life has an essence beneath the surface that is 
     just as real and deserves respect 
     Some mysteries are mysteries and should remain that way -  acknowledge that, use art to 
     explore them not solve them 
     Takes one on a descent from rational to subconscious. 
     Religious/mythological themes, highly allegorical treatment of these  themes   Visuals on stage for 
     symbolic reasons - to create moods and  manipulate the audience  Acting style- less about 
     conveying literal  meaning of words, more  about tone of voice 
     Not suggesting character- suggesting archtypes 
Founder/Key Influences 
     Gustave Kahn (manifesto) 
     Influences by Beaudeliare - off writing poems no one understood 
      (ex. of impoverished, misunderstood poet living for his art) 
    Manifesto 1889 - Gustave Kahn 
         Theatre of the future, the profession of faith of a modernist 
Plays and Playwrights 
     Strindberg - Dream Play, Ghost Senada 
     Paul Claudel, Edward Dujardin - France 
     Josephine Peladon  Villiersde ilsle - Adams 
     Maurice Maeterlink - Blue Bird, Palleas and Melisande 
Other Important Names 
     Stephan Mallarme - poet  Appia, Craig - designers 
     Myerhold - director Lugne Poe - (partial) symbolist director 
For Future Reference 
     The Avant Guarde Theatre 1892-1992  - Christopher Innes 
     Symbolist Theatre: the Formation of an Avant Guards - Frantisek Deak

High Modern & Symbolism