music: Michael Mantler - The Remembered Visit
One week after having seen Ingmar Bergamn's Cries and Whispers I went to see Andrei Șerban's Cries and Whispers at the Hungarian Theatre.
Both the film and the play are so intense! Even though Harriet Andersson (Agnes) quoted Bergman as saying the four women in his film could have easily been four men, I don't subscribe to this universalism. (The way I see it, the mother's boredom as well as the fact that Karin and Maria are married to men who are not capable of satisfying them are connected to the cases of hysteria from the 19th / early 20th century. Obviously, the film can be read on many levels, but ultimately, it presents the portraits of four women. And it does that in such a way that one might think that Bergman has a deep understanding of what being a woman actually means. I really don't think the effect would have been the same had the main characters been men.)
What Andrei Șerban did with the play is quite clever. If he had stuck to Bergman's script, that might have been a bit boring for those who had already seen the film. Instead, he transformed Bergman into a character. This way, biographical elements intertwined with his creation -- for the cinephile in me, this was like Wonderland! It was like an exclusive behind the scenes. Oh, and I sat in the first row, and Agnes held my hand (it was unexpected and lovely, but at the same time a bit weird, I'll admit; I'm not that crazy about the breaking of the fourth wall). I so want / need to see this play again! (Also, I so have to start learning Hungarian. I already have a Hungarian accent anyways ;))
Cries and Whispers: behind the scenes