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the pelican

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duration 1:30
premiere 23 Mar 2014

Strindberg’s taboo-shattering family portrait of a mother’s suffocating influence on her family.

Following the death of her long-estranged husband, a mother returns to her former home to find her sickly son and her daughter and son-in-law. The salon where the father expired on the chaise longue is still imbued with his presence. Fears long repressed resurface upon the discovery of a posthumous letter.

The Pelican is an intimate drama staged with a modest set and enacted by a small cast. Yet its formal simplicity only sharpens the intensity of the emotions.

Susanne Kennedy (1977) has a list of noteworthy productions on her record, thanks to her innovative approach. She finished the directing course in Amsterdam with an idiosyncratic version of Maria Stuart as her graduation piece. With the Nationale Toneel she mainly aimed for contemporary writers such as Sarah Kane and Elfride Jelinek. Johan Simons invited her as a guest director with the Kammerspiele in München, where she recently directed a much discussed Fegefeuer in Ingolstadt. In Susanne Kennedy’s staging, the essence lies not in the development of story and character in the traditional sense, but rather she creates a a theatrical and strongly sensory world in which the characters are often completely enlarged, right up to their make up and costumes. Emotions and actions that are deemed normal are presented in a surprising and alienating way. In her adaptations, Kennedy often picks a select number of dialogues from the original text, which she feels render the essence of the piece. She strives to attain a theatrical style in which music, sound, make up, costumes and movement call forth the bare essence of a play.


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