Hanif Sabzevari, Varför tiger du? Expositionen i Strindbergs Den starkare, Paria och Samum. (Why are you Silent? The Exposition in Strindberg’s The Stronger, Paria and Samum.)
The essay deals with three one-act plays that August Strindberg wrote 1889 and analyses the exposition, a structural-temporal element in drama, in relation to the analytic drama and metadrama in Strindberg’s The Stronger, Paria and Samum. A main purpose is to show how Strindberg arranges expository information in the three plays. When the term exposition is used in the study, it refers to all elements in the one-acters that expose pre-scenic events, events that have taken place before the scenic events start when the curtain goes up in the play script. These expository elements are not restricted to the lines, but can be found in sounds, clothes, properties, stage directions, titles and other textual components that are not part of the written words or the dialogue. Expository information is neither restricted to the beginning or the opening of a drama.
The paper starts with a presentation of the Théâtre Libre in Paris and the genre history and development of the one-act drama. The term exposition is then introduced, together with a brief outline of its development through the drama history. It is also suggested that dramatic reading demands that the reader activate his or her own imaginary performance. Every reader of a dramatic text must then apply a semiotic approach, wherein the letters of the script are to be regarded as signs.
The drama analyses show that Strindberg uses the exposition to illustrate a very central theme in his naturalistic plays from 1880’s: the battle of the minds, a psychological duel between two individuals. The exposition is very important in this battle between the characters. The investigation shows how the dramatic personae try to defeat their opponents by ascertaining their history and events in the pre-scenic time.
Exposition is a fundamental element in the analytic drama, in which the expository information is presented successively, why the reader is constantly curious about the development of the scenic events. The analyses also demonstrate, however, how Strindberg complicates the analytical technique by, for instance, letting one of the characters in The Stronger be quiet. The reader is thrown into a confusing situation where the boundaries between truth and lie, reality and fiction, life and theatre become very vague. Thus it is interesting to discuss the three one-acters in relation to metadrama, a drama that has itself as object, a drama about the drama. The metadramatic technique in theatre is often used to evoke the question of the dramatic form and its complicated relation to the reality. Through a brief comparison with Pirandello’s play Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore, our analysis shows that Strindberg, in a very elegant and discreet way, raises the same questions about drama and reality as Pirandello illustrates in his play. By doing so, Strindberg dissolves the naturalistic form and creates a metadramatic atmosphere that is much more intense than in Pirandello’s drama.
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2006. Vol. 127, 178-231 p.