EXIT Press announces the official publication of The Chamber Plays of August Strindberg translated by Paul Walsh. The translations from the Swedish of all five of these landmark plays mark the latest book published by EXIT Press, the publishing arm of San Francisco's EXIT Theatre.
The book launch coincides with the Chamber Plays being presented in repertory by The Cutting Ball Theatre, in residence at EXIT on Taylor, 277 Taylor Street in San Francisco, through November 18.
The five Chamber Plays in the volume are Storm, Burned House, The Ghost Sonata, The Pelican, and The Black Glove.
Translator Paul Walsh provides the Foreword to the EXIT Press edition of these plays, which Strindberg penned between 1907 and 1909. Walsh, a member of the faculty of the Yale School of Drama, is an experienced translator, dramaturgy, and Strindberg scholar. He has worked with companies like Théâtre de la Jeune Lune, American Conservatory Theatre, and The New Harmony Project, where he was Artistic Director.
"Each play is as experimental as the others, from the seemingly experimental realism of Storm to the outlandish dream quality of The Ghost Sonata to the lyrical sweetness of The Black Glove. And none proposes a clear solution to the problems it reveals. Instead, Strindberg embraces the possibility of multiple responses. And this makes his plays perennially modern." – Paul Walsh, from his Foreword
The Introduction is by Rob Melrose, Artistic Director of The Cutting Ball Theatre. He emphasizes that the five translations "are meant for the theatre. They are meant to be acted."
"If Leonardo Da Vinci was the first Renaissance Man, then August Strindberg was in many ways our last. He, along with Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov, is one of the three major pioneers of modern realism in the theater.
"In addition, he singlehandedly ushered in a new kind of drama that found its inspiration in dreams: A Dream Play, Ghost Sonata, To Damascus.
"These plays became the prototype for expressionist drama and later absurdist theater. It is hard to imagine the plays of Tennessee Williams, Albee, O'Neill, Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett without August Strindberg.
"All five of the Chamber Plays feature themes that obsessed Strindberg throughout his career…jealousy, settling accounts, reconciling with life, clinging to memories and exacting revenge." – Rob Melrose, from his Introduction.
Strindberg provides a memorable definition of a chamber play: "The name itself suggests its hidden program, the idea of chamber music brought into the drama: an intimate experience, a meticulous treatment…bound only by the unity of the conception and the tone."
Here was Strindberg's recipe for experiment. It embraced the possibilities of intimate revelations, unbound by conventional notions of dramatic form and structure, to provide the audience with an intimate experience and an experience of intimacy.
The Chamber Plays of August Strindberg, Translations by Paul Walsh
EXIT Press, an imprint of EXIT Theatre, San Francisco
October 2012/Plays/Paperback, 222 Pages, $20.00 (US)/ 978-0-9774684-8-5.
EXIT Theatre has established its publishing wing, EXIT Press, to preserve the art that has been produced at EXIT Theatre, and to create opportunities for future productions of that work. The goal of EXIT Press is to publish multiple plays by two or more playwrights per year.
EXIT Artistic Director Christina Augello explains that "since our beginning in 1983 we have been dedicated to collaborating with playwrights in support of new work. For decades, talented theatre artists have been contributing to the new American theatre on the EXIT stages. It is our hope that EXIT Press will help this important work find a home on many other stages in the future. Through art we can change the world."
EXIT Theatre's first venue was founded on Eddy Street in downtown San Francisco in 1983. EXIT Theatre now operates a five-venue 270-seat theatreplex, ranging in size from 35 to 80 seats hosting up to75 indie theater companies annually. Over the years, hundreds of new plays have been commissioned, premiered and presented on the EXIT Theatreplex stages. The local alternative press has named EXIT Theatre "Best Local Venue", "Best (3,000 miles) Off-Broadway Theater", and "Best Off-Beat Theatre." Visit the EXIT Theatre web site at www.theexit.org.