BLACK GLOVE" BY AUGUST STRINDBERG
December 6 to
16, 2017 - Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street
Presented by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre in association
with Theater Resources Unlimited
Garcia as Tomte, Mary Tierney as Christmas Angel.
Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
people familiar with August Strindberg may be surprised to learn
that he wrote plays for children. The best example is "The
Black Glove," the fifth (and least performed) of his Chamber
Plays. Its place in history has been obscured by a historical
fluke: it premiered in 1911, after the close of Strindberg's Intimate
Theater, which it was written for. This kept it out of many anthologies.
August Strindberg Rep presented it at Gene Frankel Theatre in
the New York premiere of a verse translation by Anne-Charlotte
Hanes Harvey, directed by Robert Greer. The piece was recommended
for audiences age 8 and up and special family plans were offered.
In Strindberg's lyrical
fantasy, a lost black glove found in the entryway to a large apartment
building the day before Christmas Eve mystically passes through
the hands of many of its residents as it bestows a Christmas spirit.
The glove belongs to a young wife who has been mistreating her
servants and who is known as "too rich for her own good."
She has wrongly accused her maid of stealing the ring, but in
actuality it is lodged in the glove. Trouble is, there are only
two characters who know this: a Tomte (a mythological elf from
Nordic folklore typically associated with the winter solstice
and Christmas season) and the Christmas Angel. The angel commands
the Tomte to take away the young wife's baby daughter in order
to teach the wife a lesson about "what it feels like to lose
something," promising to restore the baby as a Christmas
gift. In the course of the play, the wife learns humility and
discovers her lost father.
The play was
acted by a cast of six women, in the British Travesty tradition
of the late 1800s (in which Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet, etc.),
in order to ensure that the play would be children-friendly. The
set was minimal because the primary visuals were projected graphics
by Donna Miskend, a children's book illustrator. The actors were
Amber Jean Crawford, Crystal Edn, Amy Fulgham, Pilar Garcia, Diane
Perell, Mary Tierney and Jo Vetter. Projection design was by Donna
Miskend. Costume design was by Janet Mervin. Lighting design was
by Gilbert Pearto. Sound design was by Giovanni Villari. Stage
Manager was Charles Casano.
wrote the playscript partly in verse (iambic unrhymed) mixed with
prose sequences. The translation by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey
rendered his lyrical passages in English verse whenever practicable.
Strindberg often concludes a scene with rhymed couplets or four
rhymed lines and this is followed in the transltion. Ms. Harvey's
translation had only been produced once to-date: by The August
Strindberg Society of Los Angeles (TASSLA) at The Norwegian Seamen's
Church in San Pedro December 18-19, 2011.
production centers on the lost object of the title, which seems
to confer the season’s spirit on anyone who finds it. Its
original owner, however, has none of that warmth. A mean-spirited,
wealthy young mother, she thinks that her maid has stolen her
ring, which is actually inside the missing glove. A tomte, similar
to an elf, conspires with the Christmas Angel to teach the woman
a lesson. Points are scored, but this being a holiday entertainment,
she ends up more like Scrooge than like Miss Julie."
-- NY Times, Events for
Children in NYC This Week by Laurel Graeber
Strindberg’s 'The Black Glove' Is a Cheerfully Morose Antidote
to the Holiday Spirit" -- Village
Voice, Dan Calllahan