A Dream Play – Production History – curious arts

A timeline of past productions of A Dream Play by August Strindberg

By Dana Tanner-Kennedy, John Battye and Rohan Kulkarni

Harriet Bosse as Agnes

Harriet Bosse as Agnes


Directed by Victor Castegren and designed by Carl Grabow, the play premiered at Svenska Teatern (The Swedish Theatre). The staging was very literal, and the acting wavered between Naturalist and Symbolist styles, confusing the audience. Strindberg’s ex-wife, Harriet Bosse (pictured here), played Agnes.


The German premiere, directed by Rudolf Bernauer, was a highly Expressionist, fairy tale-like drama, hugely influential on all future productions. Designer Sven Gade used hues of blue to create the feeling of an open, starry sky. Several images blurred and blended into each other, making the characters seem like apparitions.


Antonin Artaud directed a Surrealist-inspired version in Paris, which was performed on a bare stage and used props to animate the dream world. It was a noisy fiasco, with the audience yelling insults at the stage, and a riot broke out after Artaud began to shout profanities at the audience.


Directed by Olof Molander, the Swedish Dramaten production became the standard for a ‘good’ interpretation of A Dream Play. It was hyperrealistic, minimalist, and poetic.


Performed at Dramaten, Swedish director Ingmar Bergman radically re-imagined the play,retitling it The Dreamplay and clearly casting the character of the Writer as the play’s central dreamer. The staging was stark and contained, and the part of Agnes was played by two actors simultaneously.Bergman also directed it in 1977 and 1986 (pictured here.)


Directed by Robert Lepage at Dramaten, the entire action was confined to a claustrophobic,three sided cube suspended above water, and it used several projections and lighting changes to create the dream.


Robert Wilson’s production in Stockholm featured his characteristic hyper-visual style, using lush imagery and hieratic movement to colour the action.

National Theatre, 2005


Katie Mitchell’s production for the National Theatre in London combined Caryl Churchill’s adaptation of Strindberg with stagings of the actors’ personal dreams.

A Dream Play Timeline

Presenter: U of A Studio Theatre
Event Title: A Dream Play by August Strindberg. Adaptation by Caryl Churchill.
Dates: March 26 – April 4 at 7:30 p.m. No show Sunday.
$5 preview Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Matinee Thursday, April 2 at 12:30 p.m.
Venue: Timms Centre for the Arts, University of Alberta
Single show tickets: $11 student, $22 adult, $20 senior available online now at TIX on the Square and at the Timms Centre box office one hour before each performance.

Directed by David Kennedy, A Dream Play is Zsofia Opra-Szabo’s MFA Theatre Design thesis, featuring the work of the BFA class of 2015, including BFA Acting performers, BFA stage management, BFA theatre design and BFA technical theatre students.

For full cast, creative team and production team see show page: http://uofa.ualberta.ca/events/a-dream-play

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