Howard Brenton's play Dances of Death is an adaptation (from a literal translation by Agnes Broome) of August Strindberg's two plays, The Dance of Death Parts I and II (both written in 1900), about a marriage that has turned sour.
Dances of Death was first performed at the Gate Theatre, London, on 30 May 2013.
The play is in two parts, with Part One set on a military base on a small island, where Edgar (the Captain) and his wife Alice (a former actress), married for almost thirty years, are trapped in a relationship of mutual loathing. They have alienated their daughter Judith, and have developed choreographed routines for torturing one another. The arrival of Alice’s mild-mannered cousin, Kurt, brings new opportunities for vindictiveness, while in Part Two, set a couple of years later in a house on the other side of the island, the couple's ongoing battle threatens not only their future, but that of their friends and children as well.
The Gate Theatre production was directed by Tom Littler and designed by James Perkins, with Michael Pennington as Edgar, Linda Marlowe as Alice, Christopher Ravenscroft as Kurt, Edward Franklin as Allan, Eleanor Wyld as Judith and Richard Beanland as The Lieutenant.