Shadow" by Stig Dagerman (Sweden)
premiere translated by Nancy Pick with
Lo Dagerman and directed by Whitney Gail Aronson
March 4 to April 1, 2017 - Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street
Presented by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre in association
with Theater Resources Unlimited.
Presented in rotating
repertory with "Journey in Light
and Shadow" by Stig Dalager (Denmark),
translated and directed by Robert Greer, adapted by Natalie
as Gabriel in "Marty's Shadow." Photo by Remy.S.
"Marty's Shadow" by Stig Dagerman is
a Hitchcockian thriller set in Paris after the Second World War.
A wealthy widow is consumed with grief for her beloved elder
son, Marty (a slain war hero of the French Resistance), and resentment
for her living son, Gabriel (a coward who did not fight). Gabriel
desperately wishes to win his mother's respect and the love of
the girl Marty left behind. So, when his mother brings a
handsome decorated war hero into their home, the family is thrown
into conflict, which culminates in the play's shocking denouement.
Playwright Stig Dagerman had been sent on a commission to post-war
Paris to write a book, but after meeting Etta Federn, an Austrian
Jewish refugee, who made a living translating with her younger
son, and whose elder son died fighting in the Resistance, Dagerman
wrote this play instead. The actors were Ivette Dumeng, Jackie
Maruschak*, James McKinney and Jimi Stanton*.
Jackie Maruschak and Jimi Stanton in "Marty's Shadow"
Stig Dagerman (1923-1954) was one of the most
prominent Swedish authors writing in the aftermath of WWII, but
his existential texts transcend time and place and continue to
be widely published in Sweden and abroad. Between 1945 and 1949,
he enjoyed phenomenal success with four novels, a collection of
short stories, a book about postwar Germany, five plays, hundreds
of poems and satirical verses, several essays of note and a large
amount of journalism. He committed suicide in 1954, apparently
from depression. Dagerman's works deal with universal problems
of morality and conscience, of sexuality and social philosophy,
of love, compassion and justice. Critics have compared him to
Kafka, Faulkner and Camus. Many see him as the main representative
of a group of Swedish writers called “Fyrtiotalisterna”
(“the writers of the 1940s”) who channeled existentialist
feelings of fear, alienation and meaninglessness common in the
wake of the horrors of World War II and the looming Cold War.
He was husband of Anita Björk, who played Miss Julie in the
film version that won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at Cannes in
1951. "Marty's Shadow" (1948) has been produced in seven
languages but never before in English.
was by Jen Price-Fick and lighting design was by Jason Fok. Costume
design was by Jessa-Raye Court. Sound design and original music
was by Andy Evan Cohen. Nancy Pick was executive producer.
Nancy Pick and Lo Dagerman are co-authors of the
book, "Skuggorna vi bär (A Story of Shadows:
Stig Dagerman and the Monster Mother)." They began collaborating
on the book after a chance meeting: Lo Dagerman was following
the trail of her famous father Stig, the Swedish literary wunderkind
while Nancy Pick was researching the lives of her radical cousin,
Etta Federn, a Viennese-Jewish writer and anarchist, and her two
sons. The back story of "Marty's Shadow" is now documented
in their book. Dalager and Federn met in 1947 in Paris, where
Federn, a refugee, was trying to survive as a palm-reader. She
wanted help getting her books published. Stig Dalager, a journalist
on assignment, was looking for a good story. Following their encounter,
Dalager rushed home to Stockholm to write a play about Federn
and her sons, titling it "Marty’s Shadow." But
the play did not have a happy ending. In fact, it was brutal and
shocking: a mother murdered by her son. At the time of this production,
the Swedish publication of the book was forthcoming from Norstedts
appeared courtesy of Actors Equity