Production: Stephen Shropshire / Danish Dance Theater / Holland Dance Festival
Premiere: February 6, 2018 Korzo Theater, The Hague NL
Dancers: Jessica Lyall, Stefanos Bizas, and Merete Hersvik (Danish Dance Theater)
Research assistants: Christine Ceconello, Ivan Montis, and Aimee Lagrange
Production design: Stephen Shropshire i.s.m Maria Ipsen (costume) and Mikkel Larsen (sound)
Lighting Design: Adalsteinn Stefansson
Written in 1888, August Strindberg’s naturalistic tragedy Miss Julie is a fatal discourse on class, sexual politics and the inequalities inherent in a patriarchal system. These themes, which Strindberg plotted to motivate Miss Julie’s tragic end, resonate still today and reflect imbalances that continue to divide contemporary society.
The story of Miss Julie follows the bored daughter of a wealthy count who escalates an affair with her father’s valet to devastating results. Set in the kitchen of a Swedish manor house on Midsummer’s Eve, the action is presided over by the valet’s intended fiancé (her father’s cook), who acts as moral surrogate in the unfolding tragedy.
About Miss Julie is an exploration of Strindberg’s narrative; an adaptation, abstracted and re-considered in movement. By focussing on the vicissitude of its characters, the work aims to explore the heat of their collision; to reflect both the multiplicity of their motives and the subjugation they endure to the conditional forces that are asserted upon them. It is intended both as incident and as allegory.
As a space for the recollection and reconsideration of shared cultural mythologies, the theater has long been a place to question held beliefs and modes of behavior, to measure and reflect the rate of sociocultural change. In light of the wave of current social injustices, Strindberg’s nineteenth century narrative seems once again relevant and necessary – if only to consider how little may have changed.