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"It is humorous and effective and gradually builds to culminate in a moving whole." Aftonbladet
"Lyrical atmosphere." Svenska Dagbladet
"Playfulness and humour." Svenska Dagbladet
"Striking beautiful and thoughtful meditation..." Dagens Nyheter
"...subtle humour..." Dagens Nyheter

Opinions on Swedish icon author August Strindberg are many and divided. In director Melanie Mederlind's new work for Cullberg Ballet; Translations, the company encounters Strindberg in a new form. Exclusive, unexpected and up close. Translations is one of two works in The Strindberg Project with premiere in March 2012.

In the final years of his life, Strindberg largely abandoned literature and dedicated himself to attempting to master Chinese. “Now the Chinese are coming, it might perhaps be time to learn their language!” he bursts out in one of his texts. While the published conclusions of Strindberg’s linguistic studies were rejected by contemporary linguists and their successors, they are nevertheless the result of a huge effort by Sweden’s greatest author and demonstrate his tremendous power of association.

In the form of a stylised language lesson, Strindberg’s paths of free association and mental leaps serve as a starting point for Melanie Mederlind’s and the dancers’ exploration of the language. They listen, repeat and translate. Out of the incomprehensible suddenly emerges something beautiful and fragile that everyone can understand and share. The multilingual ensemble is enveloped in echoes and projected images, words and pictures combine with memories and imagination. The language collides with a constantly shifting concept of China from the past and from the future – as a landscape, a dream and a poem.

"Cullberg Ballet is a context in which I am a stranger and at the same time at home, considering the company’s tradition of dance theatre. I have great respect for dance and am inspired by its proximity to contemporary art," says director Melanie Mederlind.

"Today, a hundred years later, Strindberg's words on China seem almost prophetic. The performance is based on Strindberg’s linguistic texts and is a playful and stylised language lesson. I wanted to take in the different linguistic backgrounds of the dancers and create an ensemble piece out of language, associations and images," continues Melanie Mederlind. 

2012 is the hundredth anniversary of August Strindberg’s death and the year will see a number of events in Sweden and abroad based on Strindberg’s works in different cultural spheres. 

Concept, direction, dramaturgy and set design: Melanie Mederlind
Choreography: In collaboration with the dancers   
Costumes: Ulrika van Gelder
Sound design: Mårten Ihre
Dramaturge: Marc Matthiesen
Dancers spring 2012: Alexandra Campbell, Johanna Lindh, Åsa Lundvik Gustafson/Fem Rosa Has, Andrea Martini, Shumpei Nemoto, Victoria Roberts, Csongor Szabó and Kristóf Várnagy

The performance lasts approximately 55 minutes.


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Melanie Mederlind

Melanie Mederlind
Director Melanie Mederlind, born 1972, graduated from the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts’ director’s course in 2004. The Strindberg Project for the Cullberg Ballet sees her creating a work for dancers for the first time. She started working at Riksteatern in 2004 where she directed five productions, the most recent being Innocence by Dea Loher. She has made a name for herself as a director of primarily German contemporary drama and has introduced several German dramatists to the Swedish stage. She directed Elfriede Jelinek’s Swedish premiere. She was nominated for a Hedda Award in 2008 for best direction for her production Ulrike Maria Stuart at the Norway’s National Theatre in Oslo. Her productions have been invited to festivals in Norway and Finland and most recently to the Swedish Theatre Biennial in 2011. Last spring she directed Saint Joan of the Stockyards by Bertolt Brecht at Folkteatern in Gothenburg, where she is currently artist in residence.



Rehearsal images Translations