HAMSUNSENTERET - PRODUCED BY SILENT SCREAM DIRECTOR CHRISTOFFER LOSSIUS - DESIGN FRIIS
From early on in the process there was a wish to underline Strindbergs intense interest in evolutionary theory and use this to shape the visual development of the play. The decision was made to allow the play to undergo its own evolution; from the classical 19th century revolutionary, naturalistic costume drama to our 21th century self-aware deconstructivism.
As the play starts the audience is presented with a visually familiar image which is lead though its own evolutionary destruction. Only the purely natural elements are left unchanged. Smell is used as an important element. As the downfall of the characters develop, the dirt surrounding the performance area is used more and more, allowing the dirt to be dragged on stage. Where it is transferred to objects, making everything dirty as the intense smell of raw nature becomes stronger.
Inspired by sacrificial rituals and ritual theatre traditions, the animalistic was incorporated in the actors’ movements, as this could give the characters the evolutionary journey the concept needed.
All the visual elements are slowly transformed throughout the process as nature is constantly infringing on their space and eventually engulfing them completely. When we start, the table is beautifully decorated for the midsummer celebration, but when Jean pulls the tablecloth away, it reveals a dramatically oversized bombastic table structure, resembling a combination of a butcher’s table and a modern industrial concrete structure.
Dirt is constantly being introduced as nature eats its way in to the man- made order.
The performance ends with a chaotic and deconstructed visual image, where the conflict between the primeval and modern creates a timeless image.
Symbolism. Miss Julie uses very simple, but effective design; furniture and a wall. All surrounded by genuine black rich soil, producing strong and powerful symbolism in several layers. With these tools, the three actors, along with designer Frans Friis and director Christoffer Lossius manage in a convincing way to convey that Strindberg’s drama from 1888 has relevance even today.
Øyvind A. Olsen