A Stringberg Sonata
Run time: 60 minutes
Cast: 2 actresses and 1 actor
Genre: Five Ten-Minute plays
Production History: “A Strindberg Sonata” opened in 2007 in Madrid’s Alternative Theater Festival starring Mercedes Herrero. The show went on to be performed in Universidad de Salamanca, the so-called Oxford of the Spanish-speaking world. Three of the pieces were also presented in the prestigious Off-Avignon Festival in France.
The English version of the show has received dramatized readings in New York, Baltimore and Mary Washington University in Virginia. Actor/Director Ricardo Birnbaum presented the US premiere of “A Strindberg Sonata” in Knoxville in 2011.
Plot: The bare to bones one hour show jumpstarts with a new version of August Strindberg’s turn of the 19th century classic “The Stronger.”
This influential piece, in which one actress speaks incessantly while “the other woman” who has the affection of her husband remains deadpan silent, inspired the author to write four additional pieces. All of them share the principles of “intimate theater” as delineated by Strindberg. The show becomes a chamber piece, at time side-splitting, at times devastating, where words and silence craft the music, while the three actors on stage becomes the sole instrument.
In “Damned Cordelia!” Goneril has, finally, a chance to explain her part in Shakespeare’s King Lear. The result is a hilarious monologue in which one of the most reviled characters in theater’s history tries to vindicate herself and place all blame on her father and two sisters.
In “The Hole” a young Spanish actress in New York vents her professional frustrations with her younger brother who has come to visit her in a sublet that is falling to pieces, literally.
In the dramedy, “The Biography”, a Spanish Grande Dame of the Avant-garde theater reveals thorny family secrets while giving an interview to an American visiting professor.
“Tomorrow will be Worse” is a choral monologue that ties and unties a true to life case in which a Canadian citizen was wrongly accused of being involved in terrorist activities and rendered by the US government to Sudan to be tortured. The victim, his wife, a journalist, a judge, an American senator and even a former US Secretary of Justice share the stage with the writer and actress in this heartrending monologue.