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from the life of the marionettes

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duration 1:45
premiere 05 Nov 2017


With her first stage directing, film director Nanouk Leopold adds a fifth Ingmar Bergman title to our repertoire. The story is about the unhappy marriage of Peter and Katarina Egerman. Peter loves his wife. But he would prefer to kill her.


Everything is seemingly under control in the life of successful businessman Peter Egerman. But during a visit to a brothel, he suddenly snaps: he kills and rapes a prostitute. What caused this outburst?

Ingmar Bergman wrote in an explanation: ‘In fairly short, often interrupted or deliberately torn apart scenes, I attempt (as an outsider) to give a kind of account. I have abandoned every kind of interference. However, none of the occurring characters can make claims to explain or clarify the drama. They are all involved and therefore confounded.’

In short, engaging scenes that take place before the murder, an image of model citizen Peter Egerman is created. He is caught in a web of social expectations, woven by his wife Katarina, his mother, his psychiatrist and his friends. In their testimonies after the murder, Bergman gauges the smallest vibrations hidden deeply within the layers of the human psyche like a seismograph. From the life of the marionettes is more than the investigation into the motives of an opportunity murderer. The play exposes the suffocating patterns in a society where success is too often regarded as a replacement for genuine tenderness and love.

Bergman himself thinks that everyone should draw their own conclusions. People are like marionettes, suspended by strings they don’t control themselves. Beneath the surface of a successful and controlled life, there are passions struggling to get out. Or like Tim puts it: ‘I’m being driven by forces I can’t control. Doctors, lovers, pills, alcohol, work: nothing helps. They are secret forces. Do they have a name? I don’t know.’

With her first stage directing, film director Nanouk Leopold adds a fifth Ingmar Bergman title to our repertoire. Previously, Ivo van Hove directed Scenes from a marriage, Cries and whispers, After the rehearsal and Persona at Toneelgroep Amsterdam.


Leopold about From the life of the marionettes

‘Fear, lust and aggression. Three emotions that fight, strengthen and blind each other. People are at the mercy of their emotions. Civilization and intelligence don’t provide any consolation. Only destruction can bring peace.
 
I love the characters in Ingmar Bergman’s work. They are almost an abstract translation of what makes people do what they do. The idea that I am allowed to paint my own picture with these characters is very inspiring. Film and theatre maker Ingmar Bergman will serve as a kind of bridge, between me – a film maker – and the stage.

I will be making an adaptation of the feature film Aus dem Leben der Marionetten, a slightly more unknown Bergman from the 1980s. It will be a performance consisting of both filmic and theatrical means. The story is about the unhappy marriage of Peter and Katarina Egerman. Peter loves his wife. But he would prefer to kill her.’


The production was realised in collaboration with Auteursbureau ALMO bvba commissioned by Josef Weinberger Ltd, London and the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.


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