In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 561 with the English for the Russian Market in the Seventeenth Century (1924), a theme behind many of Massa's declarations. Finally for historians of seventeenth-century art, the new accessibility of these texts offers real insight into the personality of this man destined to be known perhaps as much as anything for the three and almost certainly four important portraits (three are illustrated) commissioned from his friend the famous Haarlem painter Frans Hals. It is quite wonderful to recognize how this extremely sensitive artist has introduced a distinctly new vocabulary of gesture and body language - definite innovations in the history of art- all evidently in seeking to give expression to the vigour and real boldness of character that start from these pages. The most famous portrait of Massa, painted in 1626 shortly after the sitler's return from his fifth and penultimate journey to Moscow, hangs in the Art Gallery of Ontario. (J. SPICER) Lise-Lone Marker and Frederick J. Marker. Ingmar Bergman: Four Decades in the Theater 'Directors in Perspective.' Cambridge University Press. xviii, 262, mus. $37.50 Such a study is long overdue. Bergman's enormous artistic output is remarkable for its diversity, but the English-speaking world, while it has acclaimed his films, has generally neglected his work in other media, especially the live theatre. Faced with his more than seventy professional stage productions, the Markers have an impossible task and have wisely opted for selectivity, devoting three long chapters to his responses to Strindberg, Moliere, and Ibsen. While this strategy successfully gives the book a unity and organization, it is admittedly at the cost of other important facets of his art. One would certainly like to hear more about, for example, his Woyzeck, his Twelfth Night, and his Ur-Faust, though skilful cross-connections enable them to include his innovative 1980 production of Gombrowicz's Yvonne in the chapter on Moliere. Of the three playwrights selected, Strindberg is given first place, as the one to whom Bergman himself feels closest. The book not only examines their spiritual and artistic consanguinity, but adroitly uses specific productions to establish some of his general theatrical principles and tendencies: his progressive abandonment of representational scenery , in favour of a more 'scenographic' approach; his emphasis on theme and characters; his bold disregard for mere 'word-fidelity' in handling the printed text. Meanwhile, major productions, such as the early Pelican and Crown Bride, the three versions of The Ghost Sonata, and the recent Dreamplay and To Damascus, are reconstructed in such detail (aided by a profusion of photographs) that important scenes come vividly alive. OccaSionally, the authors' explanations of Bergman's innovations leave 562 LETTERS IN CANADA 1982 questions unanswered; for example, the rationale for his extraordinary transposition of the Dreamplay Prologue is persuasively defended, but why was the scene handled so derisively in performance? The Moliere chapter is rather unbalanced by its emphasis on the Copenhagen Misanthrope (with perceptive comparisons to the earlier Malmo staging), so that Bergman's Don Juan, Tartuffe, and School for Wives (his 'bitterest and least humorous Moliere production') are rather neglected. However, the Misanthrope pages are such a splendid reconstruction of this innovative project, balanced by examination of general issues - such as his linkage of Moliere to the farce tradition, his insistently theatricalistic approach, and his debt to Jouvet - that the sacrifices seem justified. The productions of Ibsen are more equally covered, though the desentimentalized , uncut staging of Peer Gynt (comparable in importance to Peter Stein's politicized spectacular in Munich) might benefit from more detailed treatment. No such restrictions limit the fine accounts of the Stockholm and Munich Hedda Gablers (the London version is appropriately disposed of in a few lines). The ever-present, brooding Hedda, her claustrophobic, red, box-like environment (in which an important mirror replaced the traditional portrait of the General), the slow-motion effects, and the bold textual cuts are analysed in a manner that suggests that the Markers actually witnessed performances. That the pages on the 1972 Wild Duck do not quite achieve such a high standard is perhaps because they seem to depend more on newspaper reviews and do not as successfully capture the pulse of a...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 561-562
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.