August Strindberg

Plays by August Strindberg

Creditors (trans. Greig)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Anxiously awaiting the return of his new wife, Adolph finds solace in the words of a stranger. But comfort soon turns to destruction as old wounds are opened, insecurities are laid bare and former debts are settled.

Regarded as Strindberg's most mature work, Creditors is a darkly comic tale of obsession, honour and revenge. David Greig's version premiered at the Donmar Warehouse, London, in September 2008.

Julie (adapt. Harris)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

In the oppressive heat of Midsummer's Eve, Julie, daughter of the lord, is drawn into a dangerous tryst with her father's butler. As the night wears on, the couple, from opposite ends of the social spectrum, dance, flirt and fight towards an explosive conclusion that will shake the existing order to its core.

Zinnie Harris's new version of Strindberg's nineteenth-century masterpiece, Miss Julie, relocates the play to central Scotland between the wars.

The play premiered at Platform, Easterhouse, in a National Theatre of Scotland Ensemble production in September 2006.

Miss Julie  (trans. Brenton)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Howard Brenton's adaptation of August Strindberg's play Miss Julie (from a literal translation by Agnes Broome) was first performed at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, on 30 June 2017 and later at Jermyn Street Theatre, London, on 14 November 2017, in a production by Theatre by the Lake and Jerymn Street Theatre.

The play is set in the kitchen of a manor house on Midsummer’s Eve. The house's owner, the Earl, is away visiting relatives, but his 25-year-old daughter Julie, whose engagement has just been broken off, has stayed at home with the servants. When Julie gatecrashes the servants' party, she finds herself in a dangerous tryst with her father's valet, Jean. What begins as a flirtatious game gradually descends, over the course of a long and sultry night, into a savage fight for survival.

Howard Brenton, in a foreword to the published script, writes that 'I wanted to do something that’s impossible – to write a play so true to Strindberg that it would seem it was he, not I, who was writing Miss Julie in English. ... So what I wrote is, yes, a bold reworking, using all I could muster to make it alive. But I took nothing away nor did I add anything. I had a strict rule that all the thoughts, expressions and images must be from the original.'

The Theatre by the Lake/Jerymn Street Theatre production was directed by Tom Littler with set and costume design by Louie Whitemore. The cast was Izabella Urbanowicz as Kristin, James Sheldon as Jean and Charlotte Hamblin as Miss Julie.

Miss Julie (trans. Eldridge)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A conflict of sexual passion and social position that is jagged and gripping. Miss Julie is shocking in subject-matter, revolutionary in technique, and was fiercely attacked on publication for immorality.

It is Midsummer in Sweden and Miss Julie, the Count’s daughter, appears in the kitchen, confronting her father’s valet Jean. The restless and electric exchanges between them are a snarl of seduction and contempt, their unseen sexual transgression undoing the restrictions of servility and hierarchy. Strindberg writes with disdain of a woman deformed by her belief that she is equal to man, but Miss Julie emerges as a compellingly mercurial character, tense and hysterical and tragic.

Written in a fortnight and often regarded as Strindberg's masterpiece, the play's premiere at Strindberg's experimental theatre in Denmark in 1889 was banned by the censor and its first public production three years later in Berlin aroused such protests that it was withdrawn after one performance. David Eldridge’s contemporary and faithful translation was first performed in 2012 at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Picture of August Strindberg

August Strindberg (1849-1912) was born in Stockholm and began writing plays in 1869. He is considered the 'father' of modern Swedish literature and was an important precursor to both expressionism and surrealism. His first major play was Master Olof, written in 1872 but not performed for nine years. His other plays include The Red Room (1879), The Father (1887), Miss Julie (1888), Inferno (1897), To Damascus (1898), A Dream Play (1902) and The Ghost Sonata (1908). He died on 14 May 1912 at the age of 63.