The primary purpose of this dissertation is to study the dialogue between the Scandinavian drama and the Uruguayan theatre; how drama from Scandinavia has been received in the Río de la Plata during the last hundred years; how it has been adapted and activated to be meaningful to the audience; how it has been integrated within the Uruguayan theatre and society and how the play changes with that new dialogue. As this is the first study of Scandinavian plays in Uruguay a secondary purpose is to document what has been put on stage; fifty-three productions, ninety percent of which were plays by Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg.
The study is organized in three parts: a) a historical and sociological description of the Uruguayan society and its theatre; b) a presentation of Scandinavian drama, staging of Scandinavian theatre and its reception during the twentieth century; c) a comparative analysis of the reception in its widest sense at different periods of eleven productions of two dramas by Ibsen and one by Strindberg. The work is thus part of a tradition of the history of reception. According to the hermeneutic method, the reading is done from the horizon of expectation at the time of the staging interwined with today’s perspective. I follow the Argentinean investigator of theatre Osvaldo Pellettieri’s definition of the concept “reception”: passive reception by the public; reproductive reception, reception including translation and criticism; productive reception, creative reception expressed as staging or as a text that is evidently influenced by another text.
In studying the process from the source text of a play to the reception of a performance, the four steps that Patrice Pavis has pointed out have been followed: 1) the interidiomatic translation of the text, 2) the translation of the text into a manuscript as base for a production 3) the staging and 4) the performance as received by the public. More emphasis is put on the linguistic aspect of the reception and reconstruction than is generally the case in theatre research, as this study lies on the border between literature and theatre studies.
Do the Scandinavian plays fall into the topics of the day, politically, socially, culturally and aesthetically? Ibsen’s and Strindberg’s dramatic production have drawn the attention of Uruguayan critics since 1894, four years before the public had the opportunity to see a play on stage in Montevideo. Their contents and dramatic aesthetics were evaluated and we can also see how their ideas are discussed and integrated in the social debate on womens’ rights and the economic consequences of divorce.
In order to see where the critics put their emphasis, the following aspects were considered: the author, the plot and its actuality, the audience, the translation, the direction, the scenography, the acting, the scenery and the music. The emphasis and interest of the critics have changed during this period of a hundred year. At the turn of the century 1900 they focused on the plot, the protagonist and also put a lot of emphasis on the public’s reactions. A realistic interpretation was appreciated but its content was not related to the situation in the surrounding society. During the first half of last century we only find visiting companies from Europe playing the Scandinavian dramatists. At first they introduced Ibsen and later Strindberg to the public in Montevideo via performances made by European actors for a European public. The Montevidean public was sometimes amazed by the new theatrical form and stunned by the contents of the play, but, according to the critics, the spectators eventually accepted it all and thus widened their horizon.
There is a great contrast in connection with the distribution of the critics' interests from the fifties onwards. The theme and its actuality were discussed, the author got a lot of space as did the director and the actors. The audience’s reaction was seldom commented upon, nor the scenography. Towards the end of the century the direction, the scenography and the scenery drew the critics’ attention on behalf of the actors, but the theme and its actuality preserved their interest. In the late forties the Uruguayan theatre had developed a theatre system. Scandinavian plays were now staged by native theatre groups and can be considered as integrated within the Uruguayan cultural and social system. We can see how the Scandinavian theatre performances accompanied theatre life in Montevideo; its rise during the fifties and sixties, its fall during the dictatorship of the seventies, its resurrection and its present condition, more free, more open and difficult to define in a few words.
The last three chapters are a study of A doll’s House, An Enemy of the People and Creditors in Montevideo. It is a more detailed analysis of the translation of the texts, the transposition to the stage, how the performances relate to the cultural, social and political context and how they are received by the critics. A comparative study shows how the directors and the theatregroups have searched for different solutions to represent the plays. It shows great differences in the realization, differences that depend on the varying conditions of the groups; if they are part of the official theatre or an independent group, their political and aesthetical orientation, their intentions and artistic level and the social context in which the staging takes part.
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2006. , 260 p.
translation studies, reception, hermeneutics, August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen, Scandinavian drama in Montevideo, Scandinavian drama in the Río de la Plata, Swedish drama in Uruguay, Norwegian drama in Uruguay
2006-09-30, hörsalen, Manne-Siegbahnvillan, Frescativägen 24-26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Oscar, Macotinsky, Fil Dr.
Rossholm, Göran, Prof.