A battle of the sexes rages in The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film’s world premiere of Daniel Thobias’ translation of Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s foundational naturalistic text, “Miss Julie.”The play will open Friday through Sunday, Nov. 21-23, and Dec. 5-7, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m. and curtain time for Sunday shows is 2 p.m.
“Miss Julie” depicts a battle of class and gender as the title character strives to escape the restrictions of her upper-class lifestyle through a dangerous and rash relationship with one of her father’s servants. Julie learns the hard way that more than money and power are needed to triumph in the world, and that social status does not determine success.
The translation of the play by Thobias, UT assistant professor of theatre and a native Swede, captures the colloquial tone and poetic nature of Strindberg’s language that is often lost in English.
He said one of the primary goals for his translation was that it contains language that was both modern and yet period-free.
“Most English translations of the play are quite old and dated. I wanted a translation that conveyed Strindberg’s original meaning in language today’s audiences could readily understand,” Thobias said.
Another goal of Thobias’ translation was to use language as Strindberg did in Swedish to reveal the class level of the characters.
“Miss Julie is more educated, so her manner of speaking had to reflect that. Christine, the cook, is from the lower classes and her language skills reflect her station. Jean, the valet, is self-taught in that he learned by observing and mimicking the society people he emulated. But his education is incomplete. So the words he uses and his grammar are a mix of lower class and high society,” he said.
Cornel Gabara, UT associate professor of theatre, is directing the production. His approach to the play transcends the naturalistic and realistic approaches that most directors take for “Miss Julie.” In Gabara’s version, the audience will move with the characters of the play from the exterior reality of the physical world to the tumultuous interior labyrinth of the human mind and imagination.
Tickets are $12 for general admission; $10 for faculty, staff, alumni and seniors; and $7 for students. They can be purchased online at utoledo.edu/boxoffice, by calling 419.530.2375, or by visiting the Center for Performing Arts Box Office.