On Our Shelves Now
The five Chamber Plays of August Strindberg, written in 1907 and newly translated by Paul Walsh, including "Storm," "Burned House," "The Ghost Sonata: "The Pelican," and "Black Glove." Strindberg began writing his chamber plays early in 1907 for a group of young actors embarking on a new endeavor: to open a small theater in the center of Stockholm dedicated to the Strindberg plays. The theater would be called Intima Teatern (The Intimate Theater), and it would explore the possibilities of a new kind of drama for the new century. In his Open Letters to the Intimate Theater, Strindberg provides a memorable definition of a chamber play: "The name itself suggests its hidden program," Strindberg wrote: "The idea of chamber music brought into the drama: an intimate experience, a meaningful motif, a meticulous treatment. ... No predetermined form should bind the author, for the motif should command the form. In other words: freedom of treatment, bound only by the unity of the conception and the tone." Here was a 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. Included are Storm, Burned House, The Ghost Sonata, The Pelican, and The Black Glove. Paul Walsh (translator) is Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama. Prior to coming to Yale, Walsh taught theater history, dramaturgy and dramatic literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and at Southern Methodist University (Dallas). He served as senior dramaturg at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) from 1996-2005, and as Artistic Director of the New Harmony Project, a new play development residency program in southern Indiana, from 2006-2012. Walsh's translations of Ibsen's A Doll's House (2004), Master Builder (2006), and Hedda Gabler (2007) have been produced at A.C.T., Yale Repertory Theater, Williamstown Festival, People's Light and Theater, Aurora Theater, and by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, among others. His translation of August Strindberg's Creditors has been produced by A.C.T., Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Kitchen Dog Theater after premiering at the Classic Stage Company in New York in 1992. These translations of August Strindberg's Chamber Plays were produced in repertory by San Francisco's Cutting Ball Theater in the fall of 2012 as part of the international Strindberg year celebrating the 100th anniversary of the author's death. Walsh has worked as dramaturg with theater companies across the country, including the Minneapolis-based Theatre de la Jeune Lune, with whom he collaborated on such award-winning project as Children of Paradise: Shooting a Dream, Don Juan Giovanni, Germinal and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol that Walsh co-authored with A.C.T. artistic director Carey Perloff has played at A.C.T. since 2005. After completing a master's degree in English literature at the University of Minnesota in 1978, Walsh received a guest fellowship from the Swedish Institute to study at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He continued to live in Sweden for several years before enrolling in the doctoral program at the Graduate Center for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto, where he received a Ph.D. in drama in 1988 with a dissertation on the early works of August Strindberg.