THE Royal Lyceum travel all the way back to 1888 for inspiration as their 2017/18 season continues next week with Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s Creditors.
A naturalistic tragicomedy, it tells the story of a young artist, Adolph, who is in love with his new wife, the successful novelist Tekla.
And why would he not be? Charming, vivacious and experienced, she has been his passion, his inspiration and his education.
As he anxiously awaits her return to their seaside retreat, Adolph finds solace in the words of a new friend, Gustav, who offers astute advice and insight into everything from art to sex.
But comfort soon turns to destruction as old wounds are opened, insecurities are laid bare and former debts are settled in a tight spiral of psychological manipulation, love, betrayal and revenge.
Strindberg, a great master of modern drama, considered this portrait of an intense sexual triangle to be his one true masterpiece, and it will be brought to life on the Lyceum stage for the first time by Stewart Laing, one of the country’s foremost theatre makers.
Laing says, “I love Strindberg’s plays and Creditors will be the third Strindberg play I’ve directed in Scotland.
“His plays are funny and twisted and almost unbearably honest.
“Creditors explores how men see women; dependency, misogyny, fear and lust are all part of the mix.
“The play was written before a century of Feminist theatre and achievement, before the emergence of an idea of a reconstructed heterosexual male.
“We’re now in a time when notions of fixed gender identities are in flux, while men in power still boast of their aggressive sexual advances.
“I’m interested in what this 19th century Swedish play’s power might be for an audience in the 21st century in Edinburgh.”
The Scottish premiere of Creditors, which has been adapted by Artistic Director David Greig, stars Edward Franklin and Adura Onashile. The cast is completed by Stuart McQuarrie.
Greig adds, “I love adapting Strindberg. His plays crackle with the unsayable, unthinkable, improper darnesses that men and women conjure between them.
“In Creditors, as in Miss Julie, Strindberg packs wild erotic energy into a perfect dramatic mechanism and the result is explosive.”
Creditors, Royal Lyceum, Grindlay Street, 27 April-12 May, 7.30pm (matinees 2pm), £14-£32, 0131-248 4848