UT theater gives Swedish tale ‘Miss Julie’ modern twistWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In the world of theater, few plays are considered as transformational and groundbreaking as August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie.” Originally written in 1888, the tragic tale of an upper-class woman desperate to escape the trappings of her world through an affair with a servant has resonated with audiences around the world.
Now, the University of Toledo Department of Theatre & Film brings Strindberg’s tale to life once more in a new production directed by Associate Theatre Professor Cornel Gabara from a new translation of the original Swedish text by Daniel Thobias, assistant professor of theater.
The show began its run Nov. 21 and will continue with a second weekend of performances 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5-6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at UT’s Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Tickets cost $7-$12.
“I’ve been translating things here and there, mostly modern pieces, and I wanted to try something a little more difficult,” said Thobias, a native Swede, in an interview with Toledo Free Press. “Strindberg is — it’s not modern Swedish, but it’s not that far removed, so it’s not too difficult to translate.”
“When Daniel proposed a new translation of the play, I was immediately interested,” Gabara said.
“Strindberg describes ‘Miss Julie’ as the first true Swedish naturalistic play. Starting from this statement, I consider this play to be about a woman who tries to live ‘truly’ to her nature, in spite of differences established by different social classes, gender relationships and religious dogma.”
For Thobias, “Miss Julie” is a text that has had resonance throughout his life. He was first introduced to the play in grade school in his native Sweden, where it is a standard.
“When you read the original language, it actually comes across as fairly contemporary,” he said. “Even though the idioms and certain expressions aren’t used anymore, it still feels very vibrant and new.”
Gabara believes that even though the class structure Strindberg depicted and deconstructed may be obsolete, the emotional core of the piece remains as relatable as ever.
“The play has endured more than a century because Strindberg was able to understand human nature, and human nature has not changed.”