a play by August Strindberg
directed by Rebecca Scott
1 Text. 2 Women. 4 Versions.
Lucie Aron, Judith Shoemaker
and Anton Pohle
stage design: Nina Kay
sound design: Alberto Sanchez Nue
choreography: Manuel Meza
Strindberg originally wrote ‘The Stronger’ in 1888, a play where two women meet in a Ladies Cafe. Only one women has dialogue and the other is silent for the duration. The narrative centres around the relationship between married Mrs X and single Miss Y, who once seemingly had a very close relationship but something happened causing them to drift apart, which they have never spoken about until the play begins. Throughout Mrs X’s dialogue she convinces herself that Miss Y has had an affair with her husband and eventually makes her exit.
At the time Strindberg was writing about the way people trap themselves in cycles of thought and patterns of behaviour which are difficult to escape from. How do people with very different lifestyles understand one another? He was predicting a mental health epidemic, which he thought was a consequence of the population moving away from societal structures; royalty to governance, religion, tradition and (more pressing for Strindberg) the domestic hierarchy; the rise of the emancipated woman threatening the male dominance of society. If we don't have any structure imposed upon us then are we just humans beings acting on emotions, on the whim of the moment? Is that dangerous? What does that mean for our relationships and the dynamics we have become accustomed to?
Today these questions are still just as relevant to ask, both on an everyday psychological human level and on a much larger scale, in relation to how we want our systems to change once the world rebuilds itself after this crisis. It is also an interesting challenge for 3 women to analyse a text and essentially attempt to dissect this misogynist viewpoint from within it but at the same time maintain what resonates within Strinbergs' observations about the human psyche.
Since the beginning of 2020, citizens all over the world are living through unprecedented times, altogether facing the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on our lives. A crisis breeds concern and naturally urges us to reach out to others; to our loved ones and to relationships that got lost in the past, starting all kinds of conversations and is some cases confrontations. The physical and social isolation also provides space for personal reflection. Every issue and problem in a relationship AMPLIFIED and EXAMINED under a microscope. Is it possible to have too much time to think? Or is it the way we think and process information that can be a problem?
Director Rebecca Scott is interested in how we can replicate this psychological process of confrontation and reflection on the stage. She is fascinated by the idea of working on a text where we are only given one persons perspective and is interpreting this as an invitation from Strindberg to invent the secret life of the silent character.
When we know it is important to have a difficult conversation (whether it be at work, with a family member or a friend) we think about what we might say, how, where or when we might say it: and based on those decisions we imagine a possible reaction from the other person. In our production we want to play out 4 possible versions of this confrontation. What could be happening outside of Mrs X’s monologue? Our goal is for the audience to feel as if they are sitting in the mind of Mrs X and watching her kopfkino, her stream of consciousness.
The concept then hinges on the link between perception and reality: how well do we really know the people closest to us? How well do we really know ourselves?
You can still visit our Indiegogo page to learn the story behind "The Stronger. Psychological Porn"