The Dance of Death (Strindberg)
The Dance of Death (Dödsdansen) is a play in two parts written by August Strindberg in 1900.
Influences and echoes
In its unsentimental, sometimes bleakly humorous treatment of a marriage gone diabolic, The Dance of Death looks forward to other contemporary dramatic treatments of matrimony. In Play Strindberg, Friedrich Dürrenmatt condensed Part I of Strindberg's play into a terse, brutal series of boxing rounds, without any of the hopes for salvation to be found in the earlier play. In its presentation of marital dysfunction, claustrophobic atmosphere and rounds of "Get the Guests" Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is highly reminiscent of The Dance of Death, as is Harry Kondoleon's sparring match between angry and spiritually despairing couples, The Houseguests. John Guare credited a production of Strindberg's play at the Royal National Theatre as an influence on his play The House of Blue Leaves.
Some notable productions
- With Anders Henrikson and Sif Ruud, Riksteatern (Sweden), 1940s.
- With Lars Hanson and Irma Christenson, Stockholm, 1959.
- With Laurence Olivier and Geraldine McEwan, London, 1967. This version was adapted for film in 1969.
- With Michael Strong and Viveca Lindfors, New York, 1971.
- With Robert Shaw and Zoe Caldwell, New York, 1974.
- With Alan Bates and Frances de la Tour, London, 1985.
- With Christian Grashof and Katja Parylas, Berlin, 1986.
- With Jan Malmsjö and Marie Göranzon, Stockholm, 1993.
- With John Neville and Gemma Jones, London, 1995.
- With Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren, New York, 2002.
- With Ian McKellen and Frances de la Tour, London, 2003.
- With Kurt Voss and Hannelore Hoger, Vienna, 2005.
- With Örjan Ramberg and Stina Ekblad, Stockholm, 2007 (both part I and II performed together; directed by John Caird).
- With Nello Mascia and Liliana Paganini, Palermo, 2012.
- With Paul Ahmarani, Denis Gravereaux and Danielle Proulx, Montréal, 2012.
- With Daniel Davis and Laila Robins, New York, 2013
Internet Movie Database entries