Salome is the myth of the Oriental princess who dances for her stepfather, Herod the tetrark at his banquet. He becomes so enchanted by Salome's dance that he allows her to wish for what she wants. On the advice of Queen Herodias, Salome's mother, she asks the head of prophet John on a platter. Herod is horrified, but grants Salome's desire.
This is the first in a series of Salome petitions as Mark and Matthew in the New Testament. Salome has since then never ceased to fascinate artists and writers through the ages. From the medieval petitions with the focus on Salome's dance of the Renaissance with the shift from dance to John the Baptist's head on a plate, the romanticism of Heine and the amazing climax in the late 1800s feverish petitions, symbolism, decadence and modernism's painterly hallucinations of Salome as the castrating woman par excellence, of Salome as the terrifying Femme Fatale and "La belle dame sans merci".
Ann Jäderlund's Salome is the latest of Salome petitions of all time. An unbroken tradition of a blood-red thread spinning throughout history, from Biblical days until our days, and postmodernism. Jäderlund's Salome is a fascinating creation, just as exciting and alarming as the Salome character herself. The sliding movement between irony and sentimentality in the narration of the text is a complication, and one senses that the author's intentions are far more complex than what the current research today suggests. How can we understand the incomprehensible, the recurrent male-killing in the play? Literally and realistic in feminist psychoanalytic tradition, or figuratively and symbolically, in accordance with the mature and masculine tradition? Should we focus on the content of the text as the gender-oriented studies sought to assert, or should we instead focus attention on the text and dramaform as such? What happens if you problematised Jäderlund's drama based on Peter Szondi's and Mats Ödeen's genre determinations, is it possible at all to identify Salome as a modern drama then, or are moving in a new land, in such a postmodernist? And what characterizes in this case this as compared to the prior art tradition?
These questions may form the basis for my thesis after prolonged inability to find a theoretical input to a text reminding much about the author's other works, a lyrical souterraine to get lost in, to immerse and musical dream of, and be attracted to as be attracted to a dark star or the surrealist black sun. The black sun of the soul with its dazzling, and at once obscure perversion.