Through a Glass Darkly - Almeida Theatre

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Through a Glass Darkly - Almeida Theatre

Through aGlass Darklyby Ingmar BergmanAdapted for the stage by Jenny WortonRESOURCE PACK


IntroductionDimitri Leonidas and Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandWelcome to the Almeida Theatre’sproduction of Through a GlassDarkly.Through a Glass Darkly, the Oscar-winning film bySwedish director Ingmar Bergman, charts a turbulent 24hours in the life of a family on their annual islandholiday. Reunited after months apart, a father and histwo children navigate the unstable bridges holding theirfamily together, a family both distanced and united bythe mental illness of Karin.Although essentially a ‘chamber film’ and bearing anumber of innately theatrical traits on celluloid, as astage adaptation of a film, Through a Glass Darklypresented a number of challenges to adapter JennyWorton and Director Michael Attenborough. The mostnotable of these was the need to translate the film’siconic visual language into speech and action. Film is amedium where visual storytelling is king, but the stagedemands more from a script than sophisticated imageryalone; a director cannot focus the audience’s eye in suchas strict way nor can you, as Bergman does, cut away toa symbolic shot of stormy sea or barren landscape tounderline a particularly poignant line.The film viewed now may seem somewhat dated,particularly in terms of its handling of psychology andreligion, in light of what we now know about mentalillness and a more popularised and open debate aboutthe place of religion on a social and personal level. Forthat reason, we have kept the piece in its originalcontext, set in the early 1960s on the island of Fårö inSweden. Viewing the play in its original context allows usto see the timeless games at play within the family, theshifting loyalties and boundaries marked out betweenthose most complex of relationships.We look forward to welcoming you and your students tothe Almeida Theatre and hope that Through a GlassDarkly will challenge and inspire you to experience futherthe power of live theatre.Charlie Payne, Samantha Lane & Natalie MitchellAlmeida ProjectsFor more information about Almeida Projects and our recent work please visitwww.almeida.co.uk/education1Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


HOW TO USE THIS RESOURCE PACKThis Almeida Projects Resource Pack aims toprovide an insight into our process of taking theproduction from research stage to performance.We hope you will use it to help you in your owninvestigations into the play both before andafter your visit to the Almeida Theatre.The pack is divided into four sections: the firstcontains detailed information on the plot andcharacters to refresh your memory of the play inthe classroom. The second containsproduction-specific articles on the creativeprocess, with exclusive input from the artisticteam. The third section provides context bycovering background material and themes fromthe play. The final section contains suggestionsof practical exercises for drama teachers to use,to enable students to explore the play in furtherdepth, in the classroom and beyond.LEARNING AREASKey learning areas have been identified underthe following subjects:• AS/A Level Drama or Theatre Studies• AS/A Level English Literature• Psychology • Film or Media StudiesThis Resource Pack intends to supplementthe academic study of Through a Glass Darklyby providing context-specific informationabout the Almeida Theatre’s production ofthe play, covering the following areas:• Staging and world of the play• Production-specific research and context• Rehearsal processThis pack may supplement the exercisesundertaken in Almeida Projects’ IntroductoryWorkshop and is designed to give studentswider understanding of some of the issuesfeatured directly in the narrative of the play.Contents1. The Play Production Credits 3Synopsis 4Characters 5Detailed Plot Summary 62. Production and CreativesDesign 15Ingmar Bergman 17Bergman’s ‘Faith Trilogy’ 21Interview with Jenny Worton 23Interview with Dan Jones 28In the Rehearsal Room 313. Context ‘Through a Glass Darkly’ 35Schizophrenia 36Psychiatrist’s View 39From The Divided Self 424. Practical ExercisesPractical Exercises 43Script Extract #1 46Script Extract #2 50Script Extract #3 51Almeida Projects & Credits 52Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 2


Production CreditsThrough a Glass Darklyby Ingmar BergmanAdapted for the stage by Jenny WortonKarinMartinDavidMaxDirectionDesignLightingSound & MusicCastingAssistant DirectorFight DirectorProduction ManagerCompany ManagerStage ManagerDeputy Stage ManagerAssistant Stage ManagerCostume SupervisorWardrobe SupervisorDeputy Wardrobe SupervisorChief TechnicianLighting TechnicianSound TechnicianTheatre TechnicianStage CrewCostumes byProduction CarpenterSet built bySet painted byStage Management WorkPlacementProduction PhotographyRehearsal PhotographyRuth WilsonJustin SalingerIan McElhinneyDimitri LeonidasMichael AttenboroughTom ScuttColin GrenfellDan JonesJulia HoranKate HewittTerry KingJames CroutEmma BasilicoLaura FlowersRuth MurfittClaire JowettRachel DicksonEleanor DolanCharlie DamigosJason WescombeRobin FisherHoward WoodAdriano AgostinoPradeep DashBen LeeCarlo ManziKevin MathiusEmma JealouseGruff CarroMiraculous EngineeringCharlotte GaineyNatasha SheperdKathryn LinnellSimon AnnandBridget JonesALMEIDA THEATREArtistic DirectorExecutive DirectorArtistic AssociateALMEIDA PROJECTSDirector of ProjectsProjects Co-ordinatorProjects AdministratorProjects Admin AssistantMichael AttenboroughNeil ConstableJenny WortonSamantha LaneNatalie MitchellCharlie PayneAnaelisa Jaramillo3Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


SynopsisRuth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandThrough a Glass Darkly follows Karin, her doctor husband Martin, father David, and sixteen yearold brother Max, on their annual family holiday on the island of Fårö in Sweden. Karin suffers fromschizophrenia, which is never mentioned by name but very strongly alluded to in Karin’s hearingof voices and moments of being ‘elsewhere’. Through the course of the play revelations emergeabout the family, and a picture becomes clear of each family member’s self-perceived inadequacyand struggle with their place, not just in the world, but in the family structure.Karin wants to bring the family together but only her illness – and therein her possible destruction– can seem do this; her husband Martin wants her to be well, but his doctor’s toolkit does notcontain what she needs as a cure; her brother Max, caught between manhood and boyhood,wants approval from their father and a closeness from the family that he has never reached; andfather David, a successful writer without having written a single piece of ‘great literature’, ispainfully caught up in his own inadequacy, both as a father and writer.Karin’s attempts at forging a closer a relationship between Max and David are thwarted by David’sreaction to his son giving him a play he has written. He leaves it on the dinner table and Max isupset. Karin soothes Max but he warns her that he is becoming a man and his feelings arechanging: she cannot hug and kiss him like she used to. David’s constant - albeit inadvertent -attempts to break away from the family do not go unnoticed by Martin, who warns David to takebetter care of his ill daughter. Meanwhile, Karin’s health deteriorates. Unable to sleep and madeanxious by the noise of birds, she enters another world where she hears voices calling her, in aroom hidden behind a wall where God is waiting for her. Alone with Max, she begs him to helpher and they end up committing an act of incest. Karin now realises she is too dangerous topursue a life in the real world. Finally, the illness dominates her mind and she needs to be sedatedand held down whilst an ambulance is called to take her to hospital. The play ends on a momentof hope where we glimpse the faintest chance that the family will pull together to help her recover.A detailed plot summary follows.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 4


CharactersKARINKarin is a young woman who suffers from schizophrenia. Shehas been looking forward to the holiday on Fårö for months, anddesperately wants to bring the family together. She has a playfulrelationship with her brother Max and a loving but remoterelationship with her father. She is unable any longer to feelsexually attracted to her husband, Martin, since spending timein a mental hospital. Her hearing has also become sharplyacute. During the holiday, her illness worsens. She hears voicesand feels drawn to a crack in the wall of a derelict room, whereshe believes God is waiting for her. Karin ultimately finds thatonly her illness can bring her brother and father together, whilstshe herself finds she cannot exist between two worlds.MARTINMartin is a general physician, and is married to Karin. He is verykind to her and tries to understand her condition. He isdesperate to help Karin and loves her dearly but his efforts arenever enough, his medical tools are inadequate for the task. Hefeels disappointed in himself for this failure. He disapproves ofDavid’s seeming disregard for his family in favour of his work:Martin’s line of work in caring for others is at odds with David’sartistic selfishness. As Karin moves further away from him,Martin tries to cling on to her but she is ultimately beyond hisreach. As a member of the family he is an outsider, never quitemaking it into the inner circle.DAVIDDavid is a successful novelist, having written many popularbooks. However, he feels he has never written anything of worth,and that a great piece of literature is still inside him, but trappedand unable to be released. He is wildly torn between his familyloyalty and his literary career, ultimately putting his work beforehis family. He sees himself as both an inadequate father andwriter, and is driven to using his closeness to his daughter as ameans to search for excellence in his writing. After his wife losther life to mental illness, David hadshut his children out of hislife, and only then gained renown as a writer. He is trying tomake good the damage but his efforts tend to misfire.MAXMax is sixteen and torn between boyhood and manhood. He isstruggling to understand his burgeoning sexuality and changingphysicality, and to come to terms with his shifting relationshipwith his sister, Karin, whom he feels uncontrollably sexuallyattracted to. He needs to feel close to his father and wants tohelp his sister, although he does not fully understand hercondition. His last year of school is coming up and he is keen topursue a career in writing. He has written many things, thequality of which may be doubtful. He desperately wants hisfather’s validation and approval as a writer. He feels verymisunderstood by his family – and the world.5Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Dimitri Leonidas and Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandScene OneDavid, Max, Karin and Martin have been swimmingin the sea. They emerge, happy and laughing, ontothe shore. They come on holiday to this place everyyear as a family. Karin admires the beauty of thesurroundings and expresses her wish thateverything will be perfect on this holiday. After abrief disagreement on who will do what next, Maxand Karin go to prepare dinner and David andMartin remain to put out the fishing nets.David and Martin begin gathering up the nets.There is a definite tension between the two men,the uneasiness of two people who instinctively donot get on well. David remarks on the storm cloudson the horizon; he is frightened of thunderstorms.Martin asks him about his time in Switzerland,where David has been working on his new book.David tells Martin his trip was work not pleasure:he was determined to finish the book regardless ofhomesickness. Martin enquires after his ulcer andDavid tells him he might need a prescription. Davidsays he will take the boat to town tomorrow to getsome medication; this surprises Martin, whothought that David intended to spend the day withthe family. David becomes quite defensive andinsists he cannot stop existing, merely because heis on holiday with the family. Martin warns him thatthe holiday means a lot to Karin and she has beenlooking forward to it for months. David dismissesthis: they come here every year.Plot SummaryJust... know how much thisholiday means to Karin. She’sbeen planning for it for months.MartinScene OneMartin asks David if he received the last letter hesent, with an update on Karin’s health. David hasnot: he was incommunicado, concentrating on hiswriting; meanwhile Karin was very unwell, in thethick of her psychiatric illness. Martin tells him theletter’s content: upon Karin leaving hospital, herpsychiatrist had said that he cannot promise anylasting improvement in her condition, which isimplied to be schizophrenia. David asks how Karinis now. Martin tells her she is all right, consideringshe is not on medication, although her hearing isoversensitive, she does not sleep and has littleinterest in seeing friends. David dismisses thesesymptoms as common enough in anyone, beforeasking what Karin knows of her condition. Martinreplies that she knows everything, apart from thefact that her illness is likely to be incurable. Martindoes not want to tell her this, because he retainssome hope of complete recovery, and does notwant to upset Karin. David remarks that he had toldKarin’s mother everything, to no benefit, and indoing so reveals that Karin’s mother suffered fromthe same condition. After an uncomfortable pause,Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 6


Plot SummaryDimitri Leonidas and Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandYou’d better watch out. Stayaway from me. I mean it Karin.You can’t be hugging and kissingme all the time anymore. Anddon’t lie there half-naked whenyou’re sunbathing, it makes mefeel sick to see you like that.MaxScene TwoDavid asks after Martin’s well-being. Martin gives astock answer, presuming the question to be merelypoliteness. He goes on to say that he has foundtimes hard, dealing with Karin, and he has adjustedhis work to be near her. Martin reflects on theirhappiness before Karin’s illness and how much heloves his wife. Now he feels he is the only thing shehas to cling on to.Scene TwoInside the house, Karin is drying herself afterwashing. Max is watching her. Karin notices himand playfully throws the towel at him. They teaseeach other play-fight. Max falls into her and he pullsaway quickly, uneasy. He tells Karin how he doesn’tlike hearing Martin and her together: the walls inthe house are thin and he can hear their intimacy. Itmakes him uncomfortable. He warns Karin to stayaway from her. As he is growing up, his sexuality isdeveloping and it makes it hard for him to see hersunbathing or naked. Karin fails to grasp it, butpities him, much to Max’s annoyance. Max tells hernot to tell their father.They move out of the bedroom to the kitchen wherethey prepare vegetables for the evening meal. Theytalk about their father. Max wants to talk to hisfather about his feelings but he is not there for him.There is a certain distance in the way they discusstheir father, as someone both omnipresent in theirlives and yet ever absent in person. Yet Karin ishopeful that this summer Max and David will havea chance to understand each other. Max is going togive a play he has written to David tonight. Karin isgoing to perform a small extract from its beginning.Max does not have high hopes that his father willlike the play. Karin urges Max to be flexible withtheir father – not to ask for too much from him.Max observes that David does not appear to behappy. Karin puts this down to a break up ofDavid’s last relationship with Marianne – whomneither Max nor Karin liked.They discuss their father’s writing. His books arevery popular but David does not care about theirpopularity: he wants to be seen as a genius ofliterature. Karin chides Max for taking matters veryseriously, and observes how much he has grown,now at 16. She wants to talk about him, not theirfather. Max becomes irritated and changes thesubject back to David’s books.Karin hears a bird call. She suddenly becomes onedge and Max is alert to her sudden change intemper. Karin remarks that birds sometimes terrify7Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ian McElhinneyPhoto: Simon AnnandMy book? You know, that’s got tobe finished and at the publishersby then. I’m going to get thetypescript off by the end of nextweek. That’s my plan. While I’mhere.DavidScene Threeher, in the way they look down and can seewhat they do. She tells Max not to be scared.Scene ThreeThe family sit around the table, which islittered with the remains of the evening meal.Karin compliments her father’s cooking andMartin raises a toast to their holiday reunion.David reminiscies on their previous visits intheir childhood, when their mother was stillalive. Max is aloof, dropping in cool commentsnow and again, piercing the attempts at a lightmood.David talks about his novel, and the process ofwriting which, even after two years, he stillfinds hard. He tells them he has beenhomesick and missed his children whilst hewas away and longed for this moment. Davidquestions Max, in an awkward exchange, abouthis future after finishing school. Max asksDavid if he will be around, to which Davidgives a vague answer. Karin expresses surpriseand shock that David may be going awayagain, while Martin reassures her it mustsurely be for a short trip. David can give noclear idea how long he will be away, but doesnot seem concerned of the impact on this onanyone but him. David says he will finish hisbook during the holiday. The conversationpeters out uncomfortably. David is aware of thenegative atmosphere but doesn’t understandwhy he should feel bad. Max is upset – hisfather promised he would stay at home moreafter finishing the latest novel. David attemptsto brighten the scene by producing presents hehas bought for all three from his trip toSwitzerland.As he leaves to fetch his tobacco, they unwraptheir gifts. Gloves, a watch and an electricrazor: they are meaningless items. Maxcynically believes they were bought at theairport. Meanwhile we see David, sobbing andin a state of utter despair. He finally managesto control himself, and returns to the table.The children thank him for their gifts. Karinthen tells her father that Max has a surprise forhim: his play. Max reluctantly gives his fatherthe play, placing them in front of David on thetable. David stares at the play but does notpick it up. Karin prepares to perform theprologue for the party, but David stops her –he would rather read it later. David gets up toclear the dishes, leaving the play on the table.Plot SummaryResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 8


Plot SummaryRuth Wilson and Justin SalingerPhoto: Simon AnnandMax runs off, hurt, and Karin starts to follow him; but Martin stopsher. Suddenly Karin is staring out, elsewhere, not listening to Martin.We witness her having a psychotic episode. The scene ends with Karinexpressing deep sorrow for her brother after her father’s ungenerousreceiving of the play.Why was he soungenerous aboutthe play? Maxie wasupset. What a mess.What a mess.KarinScene ThreeScene FourA moment later, in the bedroom. Karin is looking around the room,she does not feel tired. Martin is in the bathroom preparing for bed.Karin goes to get her nightdress out from her cupboard. She smells it;it smells bad and she goes to rearrange the cupboard under the bed.There she finds syringes and tranquilisers hidden amongst Martin’sclothes. Martin emerges from the bathroom and Karin stops.Suddenly she asks him if she can share his cupboard. He is bemusedbut Karin remains silent, challenging. He goes to organise thecupboard but Karin keeps trying to peer past him. She confrontsMartin about the syringes. He dismisses this as nothing – he is adoctor, after all, it is part of his kit and he didn’t think not to bringthem. Karin wants him to tell her why he has them – she needs toknow. Martin will not submit. He changes the flow of conversationback to the holiday and the pleasure he hopes Karin will find. Karin isafraid she has become a burden to Martin, and he tells her to trusthim. Karin says she just wants her father and brother to be happy, andthat she wants to solve their uneasiness.Martin tucks Karin into bed, stroking her tenderly. The strokingbecomes sexual but Karin remains still, tense, wrapped in theblankets. Martin gets into bed and goes to sleep.Scene FiveTime passes. It is four in the morning and Martin is still asleep butKarin is awake and restless. We see her experiencing another9Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon Annandpsychotic episode. She can hear the noise ofseagulls and it scares her. She starts to hearwhispering, voices calling her; she gets up andfollows the voices to another room in the house.This room is derelict and has long since beenunoccupied. There is a large crack in one wall andKarin is drawn towards it as the whispering voicesintensify. Karin concentrates, listening to the blur ofvoices. She begins to whisper in response to whatshe is hearing, we cannot hear all her words but sheis grateful for the voices being there and feelscomfort in what they are saying. Karin sinks to thefloor, now quiet, as the voices subside.Scene SixDavid is in his room. He has been up all nightworking on his manuscript. He reads aloud from asection of it, trying to find the right words, editinghis work. Suddenly overcome with frustration andself-loathing he begins hitting himself, over andover. Meanwhile, Karin has entered; she calls to himand he turns round, apologising. She asks himabout his work but he does not want to talk. He tellsher about his intense frustration as a writer, offeeling unable to grasp hold of the genius to writethe masterpiece he feels is inside him. Karin urgeshim to follow his calling and make difficult choices ifneed be. She tells him she feels that she too mayhave a calling, that they understand each other,whereas Martin does not. Karin begins to try toexplain something, but David stops her and puts herto bed, tucking her in. Karin sleeps.Plot SummaryThere’s something inside. Thereare times still when I can feel itburning inside me. But as I getolder it wavers. Oh God, thereare times, terrible times when Isee my life laid out before me.And away to the side there is thisother thing, this thing I wasmeant to write.DavidScene SixDavid moves to a chair and picks up Max’s script.He begins to read, but cannot manage more than afew lines. He puts the script down as Max enters.Max asks him excitedly if he wants to bring in thefishing nets. David goes to get his shoes. As hedoes this, Max sees his script with his father’sthings. Quickly, he snatches it up and tucks it intohis pocket before following David outside.He tells his father about his own writing, giving hima brief synopsis of the play that he’s written. David’sreaction gives nothing away but we sense that Maxhas not written a masterpiece. David asks his son ifhe is serious about writing. Max says he is and giveshis father the play for the second time. David pausesbefore taking it. When Max replies that he findswriting fun, David scoffs at this. Max takes offenceand snatches the play back and storms off. Davidremains, the picture of inadequacy.Scene SevenBack in David’s room, Karin has climbed out of bedResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 10


Plot SummaryRuth WilsonPhoto: Simon Annandand is looking through the papers on David’s desk.She begins to go through his drawers; she finds hisdiary and reads aloud from it. David has written abouther illness; Karin is stunned and appalled by therevelations contained therein. She continues to readand comes across the awful revelation that her fatheris morbidly fascinated in observing her decline, as awriter, for his own artistic gain. Karin puts the diaryaway and leaves her father’s room. She heads towardsthe derelict room but is stopped by Martin’s voice,calling her name. Reluctantly, she enters her ownroom.Scene EightIn Karin and Martin’s room. Martin is sprawled on thebed. Karin, agitated, tries to rouse Martin. She cannotunderstand why he is still asleep – she has been awakefor hours. Suddenly remembering her father’s diaryshe stops. Martin notices a change in her and Karinconfesses that she read the diary. She tells Martinwhat she discovered, Martin confirms sine if the barefacts but holds back from claiming full knowledge ofwhat David had written. They kiss and Karin breaksaway, apologising, asking Martin to be patient with her.She has lost her sexual desire. Karin wonders whethershe will ever be able to make Martin a happy wife.Martin tells Karin he is going into town with David.The only thing wrong with you asa member of our holy family isthat you can sleep. That’s theonly way you don’t quite make itinto the very inner circle. Yousleep and we are all totalinsomniacs.KarinScene SevenScene NineMax is alone, sitting reading his school books,however he is actually looking at a pornographicmagazine concealed in the textbook. Karin sneaks inbehind him and grabs the magazine away from him.She is laughing at him. Max is furious and snatchesthe magazine back from his sister, before angrilyinviting her to look at the magazine herself. Karin flicksidly through the magazine, admiring the images. AgainMax gets cross with Karin for mocking him, saying shedoes not understand him. Karin begs his forgivenessand hugs him. Max is struggling to come to term withthe changes going on in his head and body, as ateenager.Max asks her if she ever feels shut inside herself. Karindenies this. She puts down Max’s books and lies back,looking at the sky. She asks Max if he thinks she isreally ill. Max believes she is not: she is just bored; hedoesn’t see anything wrong with her. Karin asks herbrother what he remembers of their mother. Max doesnot remember much and Karin recounts a tale of theirtime together on holiday.Karin tells Max about what happened to her last night,hearing the voices and going to the crack in the wall of11Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Justin Salinger and Ian McElhinneyPhoto: Simon Annandthe derelict room. She offers to show him. A thunderstorm can be heard in the distance.Scene TenKarin shows Max the derelict room. She points out the crack in the wall that she tells him she goesthrough. Max is watching her closely, as she tells him about the voices she hears, and theincredible feeling she had. She tells Max that she believes God is inside the room, and He willappear when she enters; the people in there are all waiting for her. They love her, she is their hope.More quietly, she tells Max of her guilt at lying to Martin, for pretending that she belongs in thisworld with him when really she believes she needs to belong in the other world, behind the wall –the world of her psychosis is so much more real. Max replies that it is not real to him. She tellsMax that she has let go of Martin. Max is uneasy. He tries to change the subject, asking Karin tocome for a swim. Karin lies down on the floor, sleepy. Max makes to leave, but Karin jumps up andpulls him back into the room, asking him about his homework.Plot SummaryThere is a crack of thunder and the sound of rain pouring down. Karin tells Max how lonely she is,although she believes Max understands her. Karin holds onto Max, and hears whispering again. Shefalls to her knees and pulls Max down with her. She kisses him. Max is confused. Karin pleads withhim to help her. Max kisses her back then suddenly tries to scrabble away. Karin pulls him back. Atfirst Max resists but soon they are locked together. The rain continues to pour down.Scene ElevenMartin and David are on their way back from the mainland in the boat. The atmosphere is tenseand hostile. David asks Martin why he is being so cold; Martin replies that he just wants David tolook after his daughter. He tells David that Karin read her diary, and asks what she would have seenthere. David tells him and confesses his terrible interest in Karin’s condition, as a writer. Martin isdisgusted and David is mortified with himself, although he cannot justify his actions. Martincriticises David’s egocentricity; David retorts that Martin does not understand. But Martin is tooappalled by David’s utter disregard for Karin’s health at the cost of his ‘great’ work of literature thatwill result from her downfall. Martin criticises David’s work as sloppy and heartless, criticism thatcuts to David’s core. Martin despairs that his love for Karin cannot save her, and she is movingaway from him into the depths of illness. David confesses that he finds being a father hard andfeels a failure. Writing books is his consolation. He admits that he tried to kill himself his trip toResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 12


Plot SummaryJustin Salinger and Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandSwitzerland, driving his car out onto a clifftop, but hecould not go through with it. Martin scoffs at his accountof this as dramaticised – and tries to bring the subjectback to Karin’s health. David replies that a new love forhis children was born that day of the failed suicideattempt. He wants now to stop running away. Martin isunconvinced.Scene TwelveThe rain swells and then stops. Max and Karin are lying,limbs entwined, on the floor. The pages of Max’s play arescattered over the floor. Martin and David stand, lookingon. There can be little doubt as to what has just takenplace. Max stares out; suddenly becoming aware of theirpresence, he springs up. Karin wakes and calmly rises,aware of what has happened. Martin moves towards herbut she stops him, asking to speak to her father alone.Max runs out of the room. Martin leaves, preparing tocall an ambulance to take Karin away.Karin tells her father she wants to stay in hospitalpermanently: she does not want to live between the twoworlds and wants to be safe there. She does not wanttreatment in hospital, just its sanctuary. She asks herfather to help her. Karin tells him that the voices ask herto do bad things and she cannot stand being confusedand dangerous any more. She admits to him that sheread his diary.I’m not dreaming, it’s thetruth, I can’t even completelydescribe it to you becausewords wouldn’t be enough.There are two worlds and Ihave to choose. Why would Inot go where I am mostneeded?KarinScene TenDavid asks Karin to forgive him, for the suffering he feelshe has allowed for the sake of his work. He tells Karinabout her mother: his literary success came after herdeath; he confesses that the success meant more to himthan the loss of his wife. Karin asks him not to blameMax for what happened between them.Martin enters quietly with his doctor’s bag, in case Karinneeds a sedative. She tells him she is quite calm. Theclouds have broken outside and light streams into theroom. The sudden light distracts Karin and she is drawnback to the crack in the wall. Martin moves to give Karinan injection but David holds him back. Karin is becomingmore agitated as Martin tries to lure her away from thewall and back to the room. Karin suddenly becomefurious with Martin and shouts at him to leave her alone.Martin steps back, defeated. David watches Karin closely.The noise of the helicopter approaching overheadincreases. The noise has terrified Karin and she begins toscream. Hysterical, she throws herself into Martin whotries to hold her but she wrenches herself out of hisgrasp. The noise in her head is horrific and she cannotbear it. Martin gets a needle from his bag and tries toinject Karin, but she is kicking away from him and hecannot hold her. Martin begs David to help him hold her13Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ian McElhinney, Dimitri Leonidas, Ruth Wilson and Justin SalingerPhoto: Simon Annanddown. Max is watching now, waiting to see what his father will do. David stares at Karin for amoment and then goes to help Martin hold her down. Martin administers the sedative and Karinsoftens and calms.David tells Martin to let Karin go – she is not his prisoner. David looks at Max, who runs out of theroom. Karin tells them that her hope inside the wall is lost – they told her she is not worthy, thatshe has failed: the door is now closed to her. Karin turns her head from the crack in the wall andcloses her eyes. Max re-enters with a glass of water. He gives it to David who passes it to Karin.Martin and David lift Karin to her feet: the helicopter is waiting for her at the jetty. Karin leaves,supported by Martin. She does not look at Max. Max follows them out, as David begins to pick upthe pages of Max’s play, strewn over the floor.Plot SummaryMax comes back and faces his father. There is a deep uncertainty between the two of them, andneither quite knows what to say. Max tells his father that something changed whilst he was withKarin – he believes he is losing his mind. David tells him to find something to hold on to – if notGod then love. Max asks whether this will help. David does not know for certain but he copes itwill help Karin. Helping Karin can be something they can do together. Max goes to take his playfrom his father’s hands, but David holds on to it.I’ll have to start again. I’ll have to go back to the beginning andprove myself. However long it takes.KarinScene TwelveResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 14


DesignAlmeida Theatre - empty stagePhoto: Lara PlatmanDesign is one of the most thrilling aspects of theatrecraft. The look of a show helps to set mood,atmosphere, time and place. Design elements forany production include set, lighting, sound andmusic.At the Almeida Theatre the set design is the first and last thing theaudience sees. As soon as the audience enters they can see the setand this, together with any sound effects, or music, will begin todetermine how they will experience the production. This initialimpression helps to set the tone for the story to come.15A BRIEF HISTORY:The Almeida Theatreseats 325 people, andre-opened in 2003 afterextensive refurbishment.The building dates backto 1837, and wasoriginally the IslingtonScientific and LiteraryInstitution. During thewar it was used as aSalvation Army Citadel,and was later a toyfactory, before it wasconverted into a theatrein the late 1970s.The designer, therefore, has to consider what impression he wantsto make on the audience before the play begins. The designer willlook for clues in the play text and will liaise with the director andthe playwright about these.There are also practical considerations for the designer, such ashow big the stage is; what kind of flexibility is required in terms ofentrances and exits; and whether the play is set in a specific timeperiod. The designer often has to be very creative designing a setwhich calls for several different locations.Designing for the Almeida TheatreThe Almeida Theatre was not purpose-built as a theatre so doesnot have the specialised architectural features which typify mostpurpose-built performance venues: a flytower, orchestra pit, wings,offstage area (indeed our ‘back stage’ is actually ‘sub-stage’ in theexcavated basement directly below the stage floor). This meansthat our designers and production teams have to come up withingenious solutions to create innovative sets in our ‘found space’.The building is famous for its large curved brick wall at the back ofthe stage. This feature of the building is used as part of the setdesign for many of the Almeida’s productions. Even when theactual wall is not visible in the set, the brickwork is often echoed asa feature in the design.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


DesignClockwise from top left: Model Box, open stage; Model Box with revolve feature; photograph of actualset in Almeida Theatre. Design by Tom Scutt.Photos: Stage Management and Simon AnnandThe designer for Through a Glass Darkly is Tom Scutt.Tom worked closely with director Michael Attenborough to create the visual aesthetic for thisproduction. A large part of the function of the design was to encase the drama in an appropriateatmosphere. Bergman’s films make intricate use of visual imagery to convey mood; theatre is unableto do this in the same way. As Through a Glass Darkly is a chamber piece, set over 24 hours and inone location on the island of Fårö, the set can be fairly simple, but also needs to be fluid and flexibleenough to show a variety of spaces within its location, such as the beach, house interior, bedroomand Karin’s derelict room where she succumbs to her hallucinations.Tom and Michael decided that the desolate, remote location was best conveyed minimally, and moresymbolically, rather than drawing on naturalism in the design. Large walls of dappled grey give asense of open space, a clouded sky, and can be at once claustrophobic and expansive, depending onthe lighting states. Shards of light pour in from outside, giving a sense of enclosure and a worldbeyond the microcosm that is the family’s holiday home. The back wall can come forward todelineate a smaller, more intimate space, such as the bedrooms. The back wall also revolves 180degrees and its reverse shows the cracked wall of the derelict room where Karin hears voices. Thisgives a sense of its symbolic and physical separation from the rest of the house. A trap in the floorgives added flexibility and is used to bring in the table, which doubles as a bed, and the boat, fromScene Eleven.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 16


Ingmar BergmanIngmar Bergman at Dramaten looking at the set of hisproduction, A Dream Play, 1986.Photo: Bengt WanseliusErnst Ingmar Bergman (14 July 1918- 30 July 2007) was a Swedishdirector, screenwriter and producerof films. He worked widely in boththeatre as a director, and film, wherehe also wrote the screenplays hedirected.Ingmar Bergman was son of a Lutheran priestand his religious upbringing influenced hisartistic outlook and thematic body of his work.Bergman was married five times and had eightchildren.Bergman's work often involved an explorationof the overarching concept of faith, and withinthat themes such as bleakness and despairfeature highly, yet alongside comedy and hope.His is a complex psychological world wherethe search for identity and acceptance oftendrives narratives or dominates his characters'internal worlds. Most of his films were set inthe landscape of Sweden. Major subjectstackled in many of his films are death, illness,betrayal and insanity.Bergman has called himself an atheist, having later in life rejected the religious beliefs instilled inhim by his Lutheran upbringing. Although he rejected the accusation that his films were‘pessimistic’; he believed that his atheism brought him a type of mental health and artisticsustenance that he never had before. He ascribes the unhappiness in his former (religiously‘indoctrinated’) state to the idea that he must always emeulate and revere a model of perfection thatis the source and ultimate meaning of all existence. The notion of the personhood of God wasessentially what he rejected, as an oppressive source, creating a sense of worthlessness in himself –compared to the ultimate perfection, incarnate. Upon abandoning these values, he found it easier tomake contact with other people, without placing an ultimate judgment on himself in advance.Bergman fell in love with the theatre at the age of five, after seeing his first play, and at the age ofnine fabricated up a toy theatre under a table in his playroom. Whilst a student at the University ofStockholm, he became involved in stage production, as an actor and then as director. Upongraduating in literature and art, he became a trainee director at a Stockholm theatre. During thatperiod he wrote a number of plays, novels and short stories, most of which he failed to have to haveproduced or published.He entered the Swedish film industry in 1941 as a script doctor. His big opportunity came in 1944when he was assigned to write the script for Hets (titled Torment in the US, Frenzy in the UK) fordirector Alf Sjoberg. The film became an international success and the following year Bergman wasassigned his first film as director.Bergman stood out for making disturbingly psychological films that explored emotional isolationand spiritual crisis, often about living in a nuclear age. Women were especially prominent inBergman's films. Bergman's female characters usually stood on the brink of mental collapse,confused by their doubts and passions. Bergman’s early films typically dealt with problems andfrustrations of the young and the generation gap in Swedish society. Bergman’s first notable film17Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


was Fangelse (Prison in the UK), realeased in 1949. The psychology of women was anotherconsistent Bergman theme and their introspective inner world began to emerge in his next film,Torst (Thirst in the UK). The inner world of women remained an integral part of Bergman's work,within the context of broader issues and personal concerns.Immanentism is a term that has been applied to Bergman’s view of religion across the range of hisfilmmaking, although it can be misleading when applied to a singular picture. Immanentism is aterm that pertains to the history of pantheism, specifically the attempt by Christian scholars tounderstand the idea that God is physically in the material world, although his very existenceconstitutes a transcendental and spiritual realm beyond that of said material. The extreme end ofimmanentism implies that God’s being is solely in his presence in the things of this world; yet thiswas strongly rejected by the Church as heretical.The supernatural dogmas of Bergman’s youth had created feelings of guilt for doing and desiringeverything that he naturally cared about, filling him with self-hatred, as well as anger andaggression that he turned against his fellow humans. ‘Everybody has a sort of holiness in him’,whilst no one knows where it originates, Bergman believes it must be something in nature. Hisatheism was not a terrifying prospect, but a feeling of security, of solidity and certainty in thematerial world around us with the ‘great unknown’ of theistic belief nonexistent to instil any shadeof doubt as to our real-ness.‘This is the earth, we are here, and the holiness that exists – because it does exist – isinside us. It is a creation of generations and generations of hope, fear, desire, creativeminds, prayers – that still exists, in me, and I am happy to have it in me… I try to be asgood as possible…to be a human being on the dirty earth and under the empty heaven.That is my aim.’Interview with Bergman in Man Alive, Canadian Broadcasting Company, 1970 taken fromThe Ingmar Bergman Collection: Supplemental Materials, MGM DVD 2004.Bergman's ‘faith trilogy’, which consisted of Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963) andThe Silence (1963), met with mixed critical reaction, possibly because of the director’s overlyambitious attempt to deal in physical film terms with the complex metaphysical question of theexistence of God and the equally difficult to sustain phenomena of human isolation and alienation.Ingmar BergmanThe faith trilogy formulates and ultimately encapsulates Bergman’s views into a coherent system ofideas about those very religious problems: man’s grappling with faith and his own identity apropos an ideal ‘Creator’. The three films have small casts and can be described as chamber films,located in small, largely internal environments, featuring characters often simultaneouslyundergoing dramatic emotional or mental crises. The emotional element is often internalised andsubtle, and therefore the films do not adhere strictly to a naturalistic style.The triad of chamber films can be united as such under the ‘faith’ banner because each containscircumstances, often emerging through the course of the narrative whilst not evident at the outset,that reflect back upon problems of faith, or the absence of it, which occur within the other two.In 1976 Bergman was charged with income tax fraud, he suffered a nervous breakdown and as aresult he was later hospitalised and went through a state of deep depression. He was for a whiledisconsolate fearing he would never be able to direct again; he later recovered but despite attemptsat persuasion from the Swedish prime minister, public figures, and the film industry, he vowednever to work again in Sweden. He closed down his studio and went into self-imposed exileabroad.Over the course of his long career, Bergman directed over 60 films and documentaries for cinemarelease and for television, most of which he also wrote, and directed over 120 plays.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 18


Ingmar Bergman1918 Ernst Ingmar Bergman born in Uppsala, Sweden on 14 July1928 Begins to visit the Royal Opera in Stockholm on a regular basis.1930 Bergman’s first experience of theatre; he attends Alf Sjoberg’s Big Claus and Little Claus at theRoyal Dramatic Theatre (Dramaten).1938 Begins directing an amateur ensemble at Master Olöfs-gården theatre in Stockholm, leads tohim leaving university. His decides on Outward Bound (Sutton Vane) for his debut production.1939 Applies unsuccessfully for a job at Dramaten but lands a temporary job as Director’s Assistantat Royal Opera.1940 Establishes a connection with Stockholm Student Theatre (Studentteatern). His first play forthem opens on 1 November; The Pelican (August Strindberg).1941 With growing reputation and media attention for his work he is chosen as head of Sweden’sforemost children’s theatre, Sagoteatern.1942 Directs first play he has written at Studentteatern called Death of Punch. Gains first job in filmindustry joining Svensk Filmindustri as a screenwriter and Assistant Director where he writesscreenplay for Torment and on which he makes his film directorial debut.1944 Takes over as head of the Holsingborg City Theatre, becoming, at 26, the youngest head of amajor theatre in Europe. On the brink of ruin he turns it around in one year, ensuring they regainstate funding.1946 Moves to Gothenberg and is invited to direct at Gateborgs Stadsteater, Sweden’s most politicaltheatre at the time. Opens with Albert Camus’ Caligula. Crisis, Bergman’s film directorial debutpremieres but bombs with audiences and critics alike.1952 Moves to Skåne and is appointed as Director and Artistic Advisor at Malmo Stadsteater, hedescribed this period as the best in his career and it marked the beginning of his heyday as a theatredirector.1955 Premiere of his film comedy Smiles of a Summer Night which became his internationalbreakthrough.1956 Shooting of film The Seventh Seal in Skåne and Stockholm.1961 Premiere of Through a Glass Darkly for which Bergman wins Oscar for Best Foreign Languagefilm. Is also appointed artistic advisor at Svensk Filmindustri.1963 Accepts post of head of Dramaten. His first production is European premiere of Edward Albee’sWho’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Winter Light (The Communicants) and The Silence also premiere thisyear, completing a film trilogy with Through a Glass Darkly.1966 Resigns as Head of Dramaten.1970 Guest at the National Theatre in London where Laurence Olivier had persuaded him to stageHedda Gabler with Maggie Smith. On his return to Dramaten, Bergman directed an average of oneplay a year until his departure in 1976.1976 Leaves Sweden in voluntary exile.1977 After a brief spell in Los Angeles, Bergman moves to Munich where he staged his firstproduction at Munich Residenztheater.1982 Premiere of Fanny and Alexander for which Bergman wins four Oscars.1984 He returns to Sweden and Dramaten and begins his directorship with Shakespeare’s King Lear.2002 Bergman stages his farewell production at Dramaten: Ibsen’s Ghosts.2007 On 30 July, Bergman passes away at his home on the island of Fårö aged 89. Bergman is buriedon the island, which served as the location for Through a Glass Darkly.19Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


The following is an excerpt from The beginning, the end and almost everythingin between: Bergman and Dramaten, by Dag Kronlund, Head of Archives andLibrary, Dramaten. It is taken from Ingmar Bergman International TheatreFestival 2009 programme, at which the Almeida Theatre presented a rehearsedreading of an earlier draft of Through a Glass Darkly.In his autobiography The Magic Lantern Ingmar Bergman described the great impression theSwedish fairy tale Big Claus and Little Claus made on him as a twelve year-old in 1930: ‘I rememberevery detail: the lights, the set, the sunrise over the small elves in national costumes, the boat onthe river, the old church with St Peter as doorkeeper.’ It was Christmas and it was the first timeBergman saw a performance at Dramaten.He would often return to his seat in the upper circle: ‘Occasionally over the years, in the quiet hourbetween rehearsals and performance, I used to go and sit in the old seat and give in to nostalgia,feeling with every beat of my pulse that this impractical and faded place was really my home.’ Hisrelationship with Dramaten was deep and life-long. Or to use his own words, ‘the beginning and theend and almost everything in between.’Bergman, who directed over 120 productions during his lifetime, was appointed Head of Dramatenin January 1963. Bergman certainly stirred things up. More actors were employed and a six-day-weekwas introduced, another stage was added, the actors were given influence over repertoire andcasting and were allowed to appoint representatives, salaries were greatly increased and the dramaschool was turned over to the State.During his three years as head of Dramaten Bergman directed seven productions. The onlyperformance he was pleased with was Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, in 1964. Bergman opted for a radicalapproach. No cluttered, ‘Ibsenesque’ middle class setting with heavy furniture, velvet curtains,carpets and plants. Only the bare essentials: plain, dark red flats, a couch, a cupboard, a mirror anda piano. It was the characters, their expectations and their conflicts that were important.At the age of seventeen in 1935, night after night Bergman watched Strindberg’s A Dream Play froma hide-out backstage. He described the experience as ‘combustive’. Bergman himself directed theplay for the first time at Dramaten in 1970. He removed the mystique, the weight of religiousruminations and most of the theatrical ballast. The play was performed on an empty stage wherethe black concrete walls, light battens and spotlights became prominent features. The scenerysimply consisted of a chair, a table and a few grey flats.Ingmar BergmanBergman staged another two Strindbergs, Ghost Sonata in 1973 and To Damascus in 1974, and in1976 began rehearsals for The Dance of Death, which were do abruptly interrupted by the tax police.The dramatic consequences resulted in a period of self-imposed exile. He was not to direct anotherplay – Shakespeare’s King Lear – at Dramaten until 1984.Then followed an emphasis on the classics: Strindberg, Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen, O’Neill andEuripides; with some contemporary names too, for example, Mishima, Strauss, Tabori andGombrowicz.Bergman said that the production that was closest to his heart, was Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale in1994. It is not hard to understand. The slightly curved back wall featured the windows in the MarbleFoyer and details were taken from the auditorium. In the ceiling was Carl Larsson’s painting TheCreation of the Drama, with its sky, branches and green foliage. The set design was a fantasyinspired by the theatre building itself where stage and auditorium cunningly reflected each other.The production turned into a tribute to Dramaten, the theatre and the building; the exceptionalplace that Bergman had discovered during the Christmas of 1930, a place he would never forget.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 20


Bergman’s ‘Faith’ TrilogyRuth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesUpon the release of Through a Glass Darkly, Ingmar Bergman marked the filmout as the first in his 'faith' trilogy, which focused on spiritual issues; therefollowed Winter Light and The Silence.Bergman wrote, ‘These three films deal with reduction. Through a Glass Darkly - conquered certainty.Winter Light - penetrated certainty. The Silence - God's silence - the negative imprint. Therefore, theyconstitute a trilogy.'Through a Glass Darkly (Swedish: Såsom i en spegel) was written and directed by Bergman in 1961.The film is was the first of many Bergman films to be shot on the island of Fårö, where Bergmanlater retired. The original Swedish title translates literally as ‘as in a mirror’, which is how the 1Corinthians 13 ‘through a glass, darkly’ passage reads in the 1917 Swedish translation of the Bible(see page 35 for further information). Through a Glass Darkly won the 1961 Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film.At the core of the film, a schizophrenic girl, Karin, has visions, believing that God's presence is evercloser. However, as her descent into madness deepens, she becomes the focal point for theemotions of three men. In challenging the traditional notions of God, Bergman's film is adevastating, harrowing portrayal of the uneasiness and creeping paranoia of then contemporary life.The cinematography reflects the core themes and its dominating atmosphere is largely one ofsterility, emotional dryness, impoverishment and despair.Through a Glass Darkly makes grand use of the black and white shadings of character and landscape,its score of Bach cello music is used sparingly to great effect to create an impression bothunderstated and powerful. Bergman dedicated the film to his fourth, and then current, wife, KabiLaretei, about whom he stated, in relation to this film, ‘Between the two of us, we had developed acomplicated, staged relationship. We were confused and at the same time exceptionally successful.We were also enormously fond of each other. We spoke about everything that occurred to us, but inreality we had no common language’ (See quote box on next page). It is unclear how much this cantell us about Bergman’s rationale behind making Through a Glass Darkly, but it is undeniable that hisrelationship with his wife fed into the film - this is more a symbolist than realist drama, with acinematic language of its own.21Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Bergman was influenced by the work of Strindberg, his favourite playwright. He described Through aGlass Darkly as a ‘chamber film,’ possibly as an allusion both to the Strindberg’s chamber plays, butarguably also to the close intricacy of chamber music in general. Adhering to the ‘chamber play’ ideathe film takes place in a single 24 hour period, features only four characters and takes place entirelyin the location of one island. It represents a stage in Bergman’s career where his interest inpsychology and religion were playing out in his work, a debate that was to continue through the nexttwo films in his ‘faith trilogy’.In the second of the trilogy, Winter Light, a susceptible and disillusioned fisherman is urged by hiswife to seek solace from his local priest. However, the priest is struggling to regain his own belief.Bergman's pressed further the idea of defining man's personal relationship to God and in WinterLight is again beautifully played out in the film with intricately portrayed psychologies of thecharacters and symbolic cinematography.The third of the trilogy, The Silence, deals with the close relationship of two sisters, whose intimacythreatens to destroy them both mentally and physically. Travelling to a foreign city on the brink ofwar and whose language they do not understand, the setting becomes a metaphor for the strainedrelationship between the women. Te film represents a shattering vision of emotional isolation anddespair in a claustrophobic spiritual void, and explores how we navigate our relationships in acomplete absence of faith.The following is taken from the introduction to the documentary filmImages – My Life in Film by Ingmar Bergman, where he talks aboutmaking Through a Glass Darkly.[Through a Glass Darkly] is my first real ensemble drama…I had made the decision tocompress the drama…It is mainly connected to my marriage to Kabi Lareti and our lifetogether…Between the two of us, we had developed a complicated, staged relationship. Wewere confused, at the same time exceptionally fond of each other. Moreover, we spoke abouteverything and anything that occurred to us. But in reality we had no common language. Wecouldn’t communicate.My workbook (Middle of March):“A god speaks to her. She is humble and submissive toward this god whom she worships. God isboth dark and light. Sometimes he gives her incomprehensible instructions, to drink saltwater, killanimals and so on. But sometimes he is full of love and gives her vital experiences even on a sexualplane… She pulls Minus (Max) into her world. He follows willingly and eagerly since he exists onthe border of puberty. The god throws suspicion on Martin and David and creates the wrongimpression of them in order to warn her.”What I wanted, most deeply, was to depict a case of religious hysteria or, if you will, aschizophrenic individual with heavy religious tendencies. Martin, the husband, struggles withthis god in order to win Karin back to his world. But since he is the type of person who needsthat which is tangible, his efforts are in vain.Then I find this in my workbook:“A god descends into a human being…First he is just an inner voice, certain knowledge, or acommandment. Threatening or pleading. Repulsive yet stimulating. Then he lets himself be moreknown to her, and the human being gets to test the strength of god, learns to love him, sacrificesfor him, and finds herself forced into the utmost devotion…the god takes possession of this humanbeing and accomplishes his work through her hands. Then he leaves her burned out, without anypossibility of continuing to live in this world. That is what happens to Karin.”Bergman’s ‘Faith’ TrilogyResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 22


Interview with Jenny WortonMichael Attenborough in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesWe spoke to Through a Glass Darklyadapter and Almeida Artistic AssociateJenny Worton about the process ofbringing Bergman’s film to the stage.Almeida Projects: This play is an adaptation of thefilm. How faithful to the film is it?Jenny Worton: It's very close, in the sense thatstructurally it's very similar to the film. The crucialdifferences really have come from the change ofmedium rather than any desire on my behalf tochange the story in any way or to modernise it - it'skept completely in period and is still on the islandof Fårö where the film is set. In terms of the text,it's been about finding words to express some ofthe visual imagery, the level of complexity andsophistication you get in his landscapes. If I onlytook the actual words that are in the screenplay itreally would not be sufficient; and so much of thekind of profundity that he gets out of the language,he supports with the visuals around it. Obviously in theatre you can't guide the viewers' eyes in thatsame way, nor would we want to. So I had to open the dialogue up a bit more, drawing out some ofwhat you don't get because we're on stage as opposed to cutting away to a shot of the sea, forexample.Much of it has been about an amalgamation of the duologues, of which there are quite a few in thefilm. What Bergman does quite frequently in the film is have two characters speaking, then he'll cut toanother two characters speaking and then go back to the original two. So structurally all I've done is tobring those together, so instead of having very fragmented scenes (which obviously works in a nonfragmentedway on screen), you get a 'complete' scene. It's also been about restructuring to give it aclear narrative arc, so it doesn't feel like lots of pieces put together.AP: Are there any significant differences?JW: There's one major cut, which is the removal of the play within the film, which Max performs withKarin for their dad. In our version, I’ve cut the actual performance and replaced it with the script as aphysical object. That's definitely something that I'd expect to be critiqued in this adaptation. There’skind of a time-honoured tradition to have a play within a play, such as in The Seagull and inShakespeare. But my feeling is that, just as in The Seagull, Max’s play in the film is meant to be 'badart'. But so much of what I think Bergman is doing there, in the way that he shot it, is to try to showthe impact that this has on the people that are watching it and the people who are involved in it, so it'sless about the content of Max’s play itself and more about the impact that it has on the family. And Icouldn't find a way to adapt it that didn't just put the focus on the content. So what I went for insteadwas the notion that there is a play, that Max has written a play, but I created the physical object of theplay which then pursues the father throughout the whole evening; it's this physical thing that Max triesto give him. David keeps leaving it in places and Max has to give it to him on two different occasions,to try to get him to read it.AP: You mentioned that there are changes that had to happen because of the change in medium fromscreen to stage. What are the really important changes that those different medium demands?JW: I don't think there's one answer to this question, but I'd probably have said something different tothat had you asked me a year ago. There’s a very particular Bergman trait where the camera focuses on23Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Dimitri Leonidas and Ruth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget Jonessomeone's face and gets very close in and the character is making direct eye contact with thecamera, then they will look away and the camera follows their gaze. Bergman also does a lot of workthrough visual imagery. In this film he does a lot with landscape, giving a sense of the island thatthey're on, the barrenness and also its kind of beauty. He parallels landscape a lot with Karin'semotional and mental state, with the sea, and sexual tension with the landscape. Those are imagesyou can suggest them on stage but you can't literally cut away to them to give gravity to a line. Itworks perfectly on film, however, because it's a different medium. So instead you have to look atwhat theatre can do really well.AP: How have you done that, and kept the spirit of the film?JW: I think there are two ways that we tried to adapt and keep the spirit. To maintain that spirit whatwe've tried to do is allow there to be more dialogue: some of his conversations have a huge amountbeing said in only a few lines, and if you're not careful it could feel either densely poetic, and quitedifficult to say, or you're getting too much information. Bergman’s dialogue works well in hismedium, but if we only put his words on stage, you might find yourself a) not 100% sure what'sgoing on and b) finding it a bit clumsy. So it's been about taking the essence of a conversation,which might only be a page in the screenplay, and opening that up so it's two or three pages long,and it effectively still has the same journey. But there are more beats in it: more things happen. It'sjust elucidating slightly, because Bergman can be very pithy sometimes.AP: Where did you start? Describe the process in adapting the film to a play.JW: The first thing that happened is that the writer Andrew Upton sent us his version of it, which isvery different. It was his idea to adapt the film and he'd got the rights to do it. What he sent us was aversion that was set in America in the early 21st Century, so he'd updated it and located itsomewhere else. He also retained the play within the play from the film, but he went further than thatand actually started his play the night before the film begins, with Max and Karin rehearsing the playwithin-the-playthat they're going to do the next night. It's interesting though that in our own way weboth sought to do something with the play-within-the-film. He chose to do more of it, because hewanted to open it out further, whereas I chose to take it away and replace it with the object.We were invited to the inaugural Bergman Theatre Festival in Stockholm last year; they had asked usto come and do a reading of the play, and although we hadn't actually got to the stage where we wereInterview with Jenny WortonResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 24


Interview with Jenny Wortonready to fully produce it, we felt it would be good to be in a position where we could do hear it.Michael Attenborough had seen the script and he thought it was really interesting but also that itneeded work and requested another draft; Upton was very busy and realistically did not have time todo another draft.So we then asked Andrew if I could put in a few of the changes that he and Mike had talked aboutand that he had approved. At that point I went back and watched the film for the first time and I sawjust how different Andrew’s version really was. The first thing I did was cut all the additional materialhe'd added - he'd added more to the film and also changed the journey towards the focus being moreabout David, and the struggles of being a writer, and away from the young woman.AP: Whilst the dialogue is naturalistic, the play certainly has a distinct abstract element. How did yougo about creating that?JW: Whilst a lot of the adaptation was about dialogue and clarity, the other thing was capturingsomething in the film that feels genuinely poetic and stylistically not entirely naturalistic. I don't thinkany of Bergman's work is entirely naturalistic, it's all a bit odd. Whilst we didn't want to distanceourselves from the reality of the characters' emotions and their plights, we wanted it to feel that itwas entirely real. We did need to suggest something that comes across in the film that is stylistically alot more abstract. And also the landscape of her mind, which is where we find ourselves; althoughyou never actually ‘see’ that literally in the film. So out of that came very real dialogue, as real as youcould get it to be, played for keeps, but given a context and a background of a set and a creative worldwith the sound and light which is allowed to be more interpretive and more expressionistic.AP: What is the difference between an adapter and a playwright?JW: I think they're different skills, certainly in this case, because what you're doing is actually takingsomeone else's story, their concerns and you're transposing it into a different medium. A lot of whatyou're doing as an adapter is trying to work out how you can render a story successfully and try tostay faithful to someone else's vision. So in that sense you're more like a translator, and it doesrequire some of the same skills in the sense that you might have to restructure: you have to have agood sense of dramatic structure, and definitely I've drawn on all my dramaturgical skills, how youstructure something, what works well on stage and what doesn't work so well on stage. You have toknow what those things are - and obviously a playwright needs those things too - but also be able towrite convincing dialogue. In this case with Through A Glass Darkly, I've needed to, but with otherfilms, for example a Woody Allen film, if for whatever reason you wanted to adapt a Woody Allen film,you wouldn't need to be a great dialogue writer because why would you change the dialogue? But thisfilm is image led, rather than dialogue led.For me, emotionally, the biggest change that I've made is the ending. The way Bergman deals withfaith at the end and the way he talks about God, for me, is the most significant change. And I hope Ihaven't betrayed Bergman’s intention at all. What he does is goes from a place of almost no hope, orhopelessness, throughout the film, then at the very last moment, a sort of ‘God is love, God iseverywhere’ spirituality comes in, which later in his life, interestingly he rejected. He later said that hefelt he'd sort of ‘failed’ at the end of the film, and not held his nerve but instead pulled back and gonefor this catch-all, comfy ending. I've tried to tread a line which sits between those two things. So it'sneither as bleak as it would've been, had he made it ten years later and was absolutely an atheist; noris it a tacked-on ‘hopeful’ ending - I guess that comes from my own point of belief, of what feels realand right to me at the end of that play. So I guess you have to be a playwright and you have to be awriter in the sense that you have to find what your angle is on it.AP: What works on stage and what doesn't work on stage?JW: I can't answer that. If you go on a course on creative writing or adapting, they might show youthis diagramme:25Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Three Spheres of ConflictINTERNALCONFLICTThere are three different types of conflict, and different mediums will do them differently. All dramais based on conflict. If you want to write about someone's internal traumas then the best thing todo is prose or poetry, because you can get that direct link: there's no interpretation, no arbitratorbetween you and the writer. If you're doing social then you do theatre, because what you get, that'salways based on dialogue and interaction between two people and that's what theatre does reallybeautifully, like a microcosm. If you want to do something with external factors, then you do film,because then you can have the gods and hurricanes and you can do all that massive stuff.This is interesting, but if you look at Shakespeare, he does all of those things. If you look at theGreeks too, they do all of these things. So when you think of adapting a movie, if somebody gaveme something and said do it from scratch, I certainly wouldn't look at it and assume that it won’tadapt well. Because I actually think theatre can do all of these things, because we can have directaddress, it could happen in this play - we don't, because we don't feel the need to use it - I don'tthink it's tacky, I quite like the relationship with the audience and the challenge of the external stuff,putting stage directions, which are like 'a mountain collapses' and then thinking, 'it's theatre -they'll find a way to do that'. But social conflict is your banker, if you like: that's the thing you knowyou can do well in theatre.AP: What was your involvement in the rehearsal process?SOCIALCONFLICTEXTERNALCONFLICTJW: My role in rehearsal was about clarification. The first thing that we did was spend five days justgoing through the text, so we read it once, and then we moved on to reading a scene, and then westopped and would discuss that scene in great detail; literally, 'what does he mean with that line,what is he trying to do, what's underneath that?' You wouldn't do that for every play, because itwouldn't be necessary; but in Through A Glass Darkly, because so much is packed into every line,even though I've opened it up quite a lot, there's still so much subtext. So I was there to explaineither what I meant when I wrote a line or my interpretation of what Bergman is intending tomean.Interestingly, there are certain things you realise are just totally up to interpretation, and actuallythat my idea behind how it should be played is not necessarily the choice the actor or director take.And for any writer in that situation you have to give them the liberty to do that; you're there reallyto answer questions. You also find out what doesn't make sense. With the notes that I took out ofthe rehearsal room after the first five days, I then spent two days working through; I had about tenindividual lines which weren't quite clear, and then there were three larger sections that neededclarification. One of the things that I had to clarify was that the cast felt that it wasn't clear enoughthat the mother had killed herself. And so the difference between the draft that they walked into theInterview with Jenny WortonResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 26


Interview with Jenny Wortonroom with and what they have now is that it is just slightly clearer, and the sense of it more workedin; with their help I worked out where in the play you had to have that information. So after two daysof re-writing, I took the pages back and they worked through them again. Since then, maybe a coupleof things a week have come out, that Mike has brought to me, which he thinks aren't quite working;and sometimes it's things like a repetition, for example a line with three clauses actually all servingthe same function, and you don't need all of them, you can just pull one out. You also change yourmind when you hear things, you realise that things you thought would work well don't work quite sowell as you thought they would do.The actors definitely do bring a lot to it. Compared to writing prose, which I have a lot moreexperience of, it's much harder because you can do a lot less as a playwright, and you do have to relyon your tools, which are your actors. There are a wealth of things behind each line that I'm trying toaccomplish with seven or eight words, that I'd like to spend a paragraph talking about, but really youhave to tell the actors the paragraph that came behind the line and they have to find a way to expressit.AP: How did you get into doing what you do now?JW: It's always been about theatre - the only jobs I've ever had have been in theatre. I started atheatre company at university and we produced shows in Edinburgh and on the fringe in London fora few years after, until we were broke and we all had to get jobs! Our focus as a company really wason new writing. And then, because of that focus, I got a job at the Bush Theatre as a LiteraryAssistant. That was very much the beginning of the dramaturgical and literary management side oftheatre, knowing about plays, reading a lot and helping to choose things, and working with writers toimprove things. I then went to the National Theatre and did a similar role there; then I was freelancefor a while, so I didn’t just sit behind a desk, but could actually work with directors and actors handson, and I did that for a few years, and worked with the Out of Joint, the Young Vic and the Old Vicand the National Student Drama Festival. Then I went to the Tricycle Theatre as their LiteraryManager, and that was when I got into programming as distinct from just Literary Management; andit was from that that I got this job - without that I would never have been qualified to do this. When Istarted at the Almeida, it was a massive learning curve, much less about ‘do you like this play enoughto want to do it’ and more about ‘how do you want to do this play, and who do you want to do it’. Itbecame more about creative producing, which I really like, because instead of handing the batonover, you're involved right up until the point of rehearsals.I suppose the writing came out of my work in theatre. I do freelance dramaturgy and someadaptation, and that definitely came out of my work in theatre; I've been writing for a long time, butvery much as a side thing and really as a hobby, until about five or six years ago. Then I wrote a novel,which I sent out and got an agent, although it hasn't been published; and now I'm writing a new one.I've written some short stories and done some abridgement for radio - which is very much likeadapting. That then brought me into some of the theatre work that I've been doing. I'd definitely liketo do more adapting , although I've never written an original piece of drama, actual dialogue drivendrama as opposed to something which is prose-based. This is something that's given me a taste forit. I suppose because I work in theatre, I find it quite difficult in that I've never felt that I havesomething really important to say, and I do feel that theatre has to say something important, becauseyou've got people in their seats. I think that's why I've always found prose easier, but I'll have to putpen to paper and write lines of dialogue soon...it has to happen some time.27Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ruth Wilson, Michael Attenborough and Dimitri Leonidas in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesWe spoke to Sound Designer and Music Composer, Dan Jones, on what sounddesign involves for a theatre production and his process of creating thesoundtrack for Through a Glass Darkly.Almeida Projects: Where do you start when composing music for a theatre production?Dan Jones: For Through a Glass Darkly I am both writing the music and designing the sound and Ithink Mike and I agreed immediately that the music should be an extension of the sound. So it wasfirstly a question of what the sound needed to do.In many ways the sound for this production is a kind of sonic horizon drawing mostly on the naturalworld. It is a world in which there is an extraordinary potency in the sparseness of the environment.It is almost as if people might become crushed by it, by its remoteness, a sort of terrifying beauty,with an effortless power. Very elemental. So I began to think of elemental things, water and wind, thetrees and birds. It sounds very simple, but in Bergman's films, these things are imbued with a kindof primordial power, and that has very much to do with the way he treated the sound. Heunderstood more clearly than most how stripping back the sound track was far more captivatingthan the constant addition of extra ingredients. So much commercial film is about constant addition.Whilst we are not trying to remake his film, I think that legacy lives on, certainly as an aspiration,because of the power of the setting itself, the island. The job of the sound is to extend the horizon ofthat world beyond the immediate power of the set design.The music, if you can separate it, is intended to be an extension of all these ideas, but in particularserves to illustrate Karin’s perspective. I don’t think it should be a comment on her, but instead away of trying to see what she sees and how she feels without judgement.AP: How long does the process take – do ideas come to you organically? Or do you schedule in timeto work on something like this?Interview with Dan JonesDJ: It's a bit of both. The American composer John Adams has put it very clearly that you cannot waitto be inspired, you simply have to go to work, fail, fail a bit more. I think it's a bit like mining forgemstones, you have to dig out a lot of stuff before you get to the good bits (I speak for myself). Forthat reason I tend to brainstorm and write quite a lot of ideas quickly and intuitively. I can go backrefine and 'curate' them at a later stage, often ditching quite a lot or putting ideas to one side forResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 28


Interview with Dan JonesRuth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget Jonesanother day. Music starts with fine tuning, and it isinitially quite unnerving to realise how many ideaswhich seem to be ball park right will bring theproduction out in a rash. Hopefully my successrate is getting better with experience. I see someyounger composers dumbstruck by mow muchwork may 'end up on the cutting room floor'. Butit’s good to step back from your work and makechoices with the rest of the team.AP: What will the music in Through a Glass Darklymake the audience feel/how will it complementthe play?DJ: Again my starting point here is the soundrather than music per se. The aim, beyond giving asense of the horizon, the broader elementalenvironment, is to produce an effective canvas forthe tone of the actors’ voices. I think both musicand sound can create an ‘attentive space’ whichboth the actors and audience share equally. Ialways try to place the loudspeakers around theperimeter of this shared space rather than simplyaround the audience, say on a proscenium arch,projecting away from the actors. I think that bringsthe actors and audience together in many ways.The sound should help the actors as well as theaudience develop a sense of their world.What will they feel? Sometimes, I think it is more about helping the audience become attunedtruthfully to their own feelings rather than imposing a sentiment, although that’s an obviousoption too. The sound can create a bedrock from which the actors can generate all that is felt. Thisis particularly congruent for me with the sparse island setting. If you go to a quiet place in reality,the significance of ones actions, the way one speaks and moves, becomes heightened I think.Sometimes one is required to project the feelings of one particular character. But again here I thinkthe natural world is imbued with a great power in its stillness and much is drawn from that. Thereis a potency in that, in the sense that much much more might emerge from an apparently deep butgentle swell than a violent storm. Britten's Sea Interlude ‘Dawn’ for Peter Grimes is a classicexample of that.AP: For Through a Glass Darkly where has most of your inspiration come from?DJ: It sounds blithe to say from the script, but it is the case; everything is there. There are plays,perhaps most obviously Shakespeare's, where it is possible to suggest any number ofmodifications to the settings, but in Through a Glass Darkly, the world which I feel the sound has tohelp represent is very strongly defined. I feel very inspired working with this since it is a setting thatlends itself to amplifying the significance of small details, rather than making bold gestures. Welive in a world where we are constantly assaulted with big acoustic gestures and it is inspiring initself for me to work on something where we can strip away all of that to make something verysculpted where nothing is lost. Silence can be shocking, very beautifully so, and it is the beststarting point in my view for considering ourselves, our hopes and fears with genuine care. Intheatre silence needs to be framed somehow in order to register, and it is my job to help achievethat.29Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


AP: Does it make your job easier doing both the music and sound on this production – how closelyare they related?DJ: Exactly how the music emerges from sound is an issue I find difficult to articulate. There isnaturally a greater logic associated with the creation of sound, it is largely representational.However that would be to miss the essence of what makes the sound effective or valid in aproduction. There are so many ways of deriving the same sound effect, but its essential dramaticquality does not lie in any verbal description, but in what one might call its musical quality.A great deal of music can be described in terms of the combination of three parameters: pitch(frequency), loudness, and rhythm or temporal structure (time). All of these can be brought to bearon sound effects in various ways too although pitch is obviously heightened in what wetraditionally refer to as melodic or harmonic music. Our definition of music thanks to protagonistslike John Cage is much wider now and I think it is possible to organise sound effects with the samecare, meticulousness and poetry as it is possible to compose music. In many ways I find workingwith sound more liberating. At the time of writing this, I'm expecting the sound to take the lead,and for (pitched) music to occur at very particular moments to do with Karin. But who knows, onemust be ever adaptable and this could all change in the next two weeks...AP: In terms of producing the sound for a production do you have a bank of ‘sounds’ you use?DJ: I have accumulated a library of many sounds over the years but they are all simply startingpoints. Mostly the sounds are quite upfront or ‘close’ recordings of their subjects. But just asimportant as the sounds themselves are the way in which they are treated. Much of the sounddesign work I do has to with how the sounds are spatialised, in other words how one describes ageography around the performers and audience. To do this I work a lot with reverbs, the nature ofthe way sound is reflected, and try to keep this process fluid right up until the first performance. Itseems now there is a limitless subtlety that theatre demands when working with sound in this way.Gone are the days of thinking of theatre as largely explicit and demonstrative gestures to cinema'soblique sophistry. A rapt audience in a shared theatre environment are the keenest connoisseurs offine detail though they may not be aware of the half of it. Sound and music often very effectivelybypass our upper levels of consciousness and, I guess, it is my job to be consciously aware ofsomething that will often do its best job when not being registered at all. It remains nonetheless, apotentially key imaginative and tonal feed for performers and audience alike.AP: How do you go about creating new sounds for a production?DJ: There is now a vast array of sounds available on the internet and through sound effectslibraries on CDs. But there is nothing quite like recording your own sounds. There is infinite varietyin sound, and you can never be specific enough in defining what you want which often leaves youfrustrated by what is available in libraries. I try to record as much as possible.AP: Is there anything unusual or interesting you have had to produce for Through a Glass Darkly?DJ: Without wanting to give anything away, the voices heard by Karin are certainly a key candidatehere. I've just finished a meeting with Mike Attenborough and Ruth Wilson. I feel a keenresponsibility here because it is as if the sound is playing a vital part of Karin's inner self. To Karin,the voices are a part of the existential world, but Ruth keenly tells me what it feels like to hear thesesounds. It's great to hear both of them describing the sound with such passion and an absoluteawareness of what the sound is doing. Collaborations like this add far more depth to the nature ofthe sound design and are much more enjoyable for me.Interview with Dan JonesResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 30


In the Rehearsal RoomRuth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesI’ve seen what people are like, allsmiles and wide eyes, then theytake Martin aside and, oh I’vegot such and such to tell youabout Karin and they spill thebeansKarinScene TenAssistant Director Kate Hewitt gives us aunique insight into the rehearsal room,and talks us through the process frompage to stage in her week-by-weekrehearsal diary.Week OneAround forty people gathered on the first day for the‘meet and greet’ in the rehearsal room at theAlmeida’s administrative offices, giving a real senseof the number of people working on this project,across the company. After half an hour of mingling,Mike Attenborough and designer Tom Scutt, talkedthe cast and production team through a storyboard ofthe play using a model of the set. It became obviousthat Mike and Tom had been problem-solving formonths before today, and now they could share theirideas and excitement, and focus on the areas that stillneeded thought and time in rehearsal. The set isbeautifully simple. Mike pointed out that any objects,props and scene changes reverberate loudly in aspace this economical. This would be something tobear in mind over the next few weeks.Even in the first read through, on day one, all kinds ofquestions and thoughts emerged in the creativeteam. Jenny Worton, the adaptor, was pondering astructural change Mike had suggested, which wouldalter the dynamic of how the story unfolds late on inthe play. By day two, Jenny had made this change:such a hands-on approach from Jenny very muchinformed the dynamic of the first week. The cast,writer, director, DSM and myself would sit around atable and ask an abundance of questions as weworked through the play scene by scene. Mikeencouraged us that no question was too stupid. Weread through the play chronologically, stopping at theend of each scene for discussion. We made sense ofany areas of uncertainty, from the prosaic to theextraordinary. Back-story for this family becameimportant: ‘what kind of a school does Max go to?’;‘when did the mother die?’; as well as very specificquestions related to certain scenes, such as, ‘whatdoes Karin hear in her head in Scene Eleven whenshe takes Max to the derelict room?’. Having Jenny inthe room meant that we had the luxury of makingthese things crystal clear. When there were medicalquestions such as ‘what kind of treatment wouldKarin go through in the 1960s?’, Jenny was there toshare her research into the specific medical worldthat had informed Through a Glass Darkly (the filmwas made in 1961). This week of intensivequestioning and thinking meant that Jenny continuedto amend details and restructure certain phrases, all31Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Dimitri Leonidas and Ruth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesI want you not to make use ofyour daughter. I want you not totwist her suffering into yoursearch for meaning.MartinScene Elevencontributing to a version that we all felt happierwith as a team.By the end of week one, it became apparent justhow tight the show is in structure and how precisethe writing is. It is not verbose: every word iscrucial. This week around the table helped us to beincredibly specific before getting involved inquestions of how to put the show into action. Therehearsal wall became a space for research andimages that would inform the creative process:from research on schizophrenia, to images of thefish stew that the family eat in Scene Three, andeven the island of Fårö where the film was shotand where Bergman eventually lived. The wall wasa reflection of and service to the creative processthroughout.Week TwoThis week was about putting the play on its feet.An accurate mark-up of the set was outlined incoloured tape on the floor along with mock-ups ofmajor pieces of set, such as a wooden table withadjustable legs for it to become a bed. Props wereall set by the stage managers and wheneversomething was needed, it would go into therehearsal notes and would be there the next day.We worked chronologically through the play, doingbetween two and three scenes a day in great detail.This week was very much about playing aroundwith possibilities, asking questions, working outthe logistics of each scene and slowly beginning tounderstand each individual character.Through a Glass Darkly, a ‘chamber film’, asBergman called it, spans less than twenty fourhours, hence things happen at startling speed. Idrew up a timeline so that we could see where anytime lapsed and where scenes followed on fromone another without any time passing. It feltcrucial to understand where and what Karin isdoing in every minute of this twenty-four hourperiod in order to create a cohesive journey forRuth to play.In the Rehearsal RoomOne of the big questions of this week revolvedaround Scene Eleven, where David and Martin arein a boat. We considered the possibility of havingthem sat on a jetty so that they could in fact faceout more towards the audience. After the firstexperiment with it both ways, it was achinglyobvious, to the performers and Mike, that the boatwas essential: a gift rather than a hindrance. Weneed to see these two men truly and utterlytrapped, on a boat in the middle of the sea. It isResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 32


In the Rehearsal RoomIan McElhinney in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesDon’t settle. You have tofollow your calling. Nowmatter how hard it mayseem, you must makedifficult choices.KarinScene Sixthe perfect environment to allow Martin and David to have sucha dangerous and provocative conversation.Week ThreeWe continued to work chronologically on each scene, with Mikenow directing the actors in great detail. With the actors off-book(not needing to use their scripts) an added sense of playfulnessand experimentation emerged in the rehearsal room. There wasa real sense of things picking up pace outside the rehearsalroom too: costumes, production meetings about the set, andquestions about the programme were all things that werefeeding into the rehearsal room. Mike was working until late inthe evening to develop what he wanted to go into theprogramme, taking things from the rehearsal room wall andfrom discussions during the process. The themes of this playare rich, with madness, creativity, sexuality and family being buta few. Hence, there is an abundance of material that is relevant,from R.D. Laing to Shakespeare.Tom continued to refine the visual aesthetic of the show,alongside serving the practical necessities, such as Maxneeding a pocket for his script and Karin needing a dress thatshe can do a very quick change into. Later in the week, SoundDesigner Dan Jones came in to do an initial sound session withRuth and Mike. The sound is obviously a crucial part of a playthat centres on a woman hearing voices. This sound meetingfocused on what it is that Karin is hearing at the moment whenshe is called to the derelict room. It felt very important thatRuth was an active presence in this process as it needed to feelreal for her journey. Dan brought some ideas he had createdprior to the meeting. We gave Dan some feedback and ourthoughts to take away with him and work on. Karin’s characterdoes actually describe what she hears and how she feels in33Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ruth Wilson in rehearsalPhoto: Bridget JonesJust enjoy doing the things thateveryone does and that’s how youget better. Act like everyone else.And before you know it, you’ll belike everyone else. It’s very simple.MartinScene Fourgreat detail, and this was very helpful in seeingthat the ambience leading into the derelict roomneeded to be a seductive one. There would be onlyone moment during the show where what Karinhears is literally given through sound, thus itrequired a great deal of delicacy and care.Friday afternoon’s session was particularlyexhilarating, focussing on the scene with Max andKarin in the derelict room. Through playing withdifferent physical possibilities, we came closer tofinding the journey of these two characters thatcould lead to the sexual encounter that envelopsthem. This scene epitomises the extent to whichKarin’s character shifts dramatically from momentto moment. She is like a pinball; changingdirection at startling speed. Mapping a veryphysical journey for this scene created theundercurrent that was needed in order to be privyto the powerful interplay of control and power thatunfolds.Week FourWe went right back to the top and worked throughthe piece by simply running a scene, giving notes,re-running the scene and then moving on. At thispoint in the rehearsal process it was exciting to seethat the actors had digested so much of theprevious development work on the play and nowthey were highly tuned to the characters they wereportraying, often finding instinctual adjustmentsthat needed to be made. Notes from Mike oftenconsisted of, 'you did that differently, it was great,keep it!'Weeks Five and SixFrom Wednesday, we did a run every morningfollowed by notes and rehearsing the specifics inthe afternoon. A small group of Almeida staffwould come to watch each run-through, givingfeedback if necessary to Jenny and the team.People from the production team, box office, andadministration at the Almeida were all coming intoget a flavour of the show. Each run-through gotstronger and by Saturday morning, it felt as thoughthe actors were really feeding off one another andenjoying finding the rhythm of the play. By Tuesdaythe following week all headed down to the theatreto embark on two days of technical rehearsals,plotting and piecing together all the light, soundand stage logistics, before a dress rehearsal andthe opening to the public.In the Rehearsal RoomResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 34


Through a Glass Darkly’The title of the film and play, Through A Glass Darkly, comes from a muchquotedsection of 1 Corinthians 13 in the King James Version of the ChristianNew Testament of the Bible, attributed to the Apostle Paul.The following verses 1-13 from 1 Corinthians place the quote in its full context.1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become assounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; andthough I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, andhave not love, it profiteth me nothing.4. Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,5. doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;6. rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;7. beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.8. Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, theyshall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.11. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: butwhen I became a man, I put away childish things.12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but thenshall I know even as also I am known.13. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.Verse 12, containing the ‘through a glass darkly’ quote, is commonly interpreted as a reference toour limited (obscured) knowledge of God in this life, compared to the complete (clear) knowledgeexpected for the afterlife. The ‘glass’ is referring to a mirror.The section as a whole refers to our infantile relationship with faith and young knowledge of God.It implies the greatness of God is unfathomably larger than that of man, and therefore we cannotpresume to understand God’s greatness easily: faith needs work. In our present state in this life,we are mere infants in point of knowledge, compared to what we shall be hereafter. Even whenGod himself reveals things to us, a greater part of them is still kept veiled from ourunderstanding – because humans by our very nature cannot come to know God’s infinity. Thisknowledge will ultimately be gained through faith adherence to God, as it results from passage toHeaven in the afterlife.The passage concludes with the famous ‘faith, hope, love’. Faith, hope and love are the sum ofperfection on earth, the means to achieving ultimate knowledge. In the afterlife, love alone is thesum of perfection.In phrase and fable, to see ‘through a glass darkly’ is to have an obscure or imperfect vision ofreality. In that sense, it refers in one way or another to each character in Through A Glass Darkly,where the four family members, each with their own skew on reality and attempt to understandthe world, act as mirrors for each other’s uncertainty.35Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that causes a range ofdifferent psychological symptoms, chiefly associated with abnormalities in theperception or expression of reality. In Through a Glass Darkly, Karin has beendiagnosed with schizophrenia, though this is never overtly mentioned byname.Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions. The NHS reports thatas many as one in 100 people will experience at least one episode of acute schizophrenia duringtheir lifetime. Men and women are equally affected by the condition. The exact cause ofschizophrenia is unknown. However, most experts believe that the condition is caused by acombination of genetic and environmental factors. It is principally characterised by psychoticsymptoms of hallucinations and delusions, and disorganized speech and thought.DiagnosisDiagnosis of schizophrenia is based on the self-reported experiences of the person, andabnormalities in behaviour reported by family members, friends or co-workers, followed by a clinicalassessment by a psychiatrist or other mental healthprofessional. Psychiatric assessment includes a psychiatrichistory and some form of mental status examination.The Royal College of Psychiatry diagnoses schizophreniaas follows, using both positive and negative symptoms inits classification:‘Positive’ symptoms include:• Hallucinations – hearing, smelling, feeling or seeingsomething that isn’t there. Hearing voices is the most• Hallucinations: hearing orseeing things that do not exist• Delusions: believing in thingsthat are untrue.• Psychosis: when someone isunable to distinguish betweenreality and their imagination.common problem. These can seem utterly real. Although they can be pleasant, they are moreoften rude, critical, abusive or annoying.• Delusions – believing something completely even though others find your ideas strange and can'twork out how you've come to believe them.• Difficulty thinking – you find it hard to concentrate and tend to drift from one idea to another.Other people can find it hard to understand you.• Feeling controlled – you may feel that your thoughts are vanishing, or that they are not your own,or that your body is being taken over and controlled by someone else.Schizophrenia‘Negative’ symptoms include:Loss of interest, energy and emotions. You may not bother to get up or go out of the house. Youdon't get round to routine jobs like washing, tidying, or looking after your clothes. You may feeluncomfortable with other people. Some people hear voices without negative symptoms. Others havedelusions but few other problems. If someone has only muddled thinking and negative symptoms,the problem may not be recognised for years.Psychiatrist Kurt Schneider (1887–1967), who was highly concerned with differentiatingschizophrenia as unique from other forms of psychosis, formulated his own diagnostic model. Helisted the symptoms that he thought distinguished schizophrenia from any other psychotic disorder,as the ‘first-rank symptoms’. They are as follows:• Audible thoughts• Voices heard arguing• Voices heard commenting on one's actions• Experience of influences playing on the body (somatic hallucination)• Thought withdrawal• Thought insertion (thoughts are ascribed to other people who intrude their thoughts upon thepatient)Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 36


Schizophrenia• Thought diffusion (also called thought broadcast)• Delusional perceptionAlthough they have significantly contributed to the American Psychiatric Association’s accepteddiagnostic criteria, the specificity of Schneider’s first-rank symptoms to schizophrenia has been thesubject of some debate. They may often still be used descriptively by mental healthcare professionals,albeit currently not as a stand-alone means of diagnosis.The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, generally earlier in men than women. Inmen who are affected by schizophrenia, the condition usually begins between 15-30 years of agewhereas the average age for women falls usually between 25-30 years of age.As a result of the many possible combinations of symptoms, there is debate about whether thediagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes.There is an argument that the underlying issues would be better addressed as a spectrum ofconditions or as individual dimensions along which everyone varies rather than by a diagnosticcategory based on an arbitrary cut-off between normal and ill. An approach broadly known as the antipsychiatrymovement, most active in the 1960s,opposes the orthodox medical view of schizophreniaas an illness. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz argues thatpsychiatric patients are individuals withunconventional thoughts and behaviour that societydiagnoses as a method of social control, andtherefore the diagnosis of "schizophrenia" is merelya form of social construction. This is an argumentput across by Max to Karin in Through a GlassDarkly; Karin too, does not believe she is ill –however this is likely to be a symptom of her deepleveldelusion.Environmental FactorsEvidence suggests that genetic and environmentalfactors can act in combination with genetic orbiological predispositions to result in schizophrenia.Clinical research suggests that whilst the diagnosisof schizophrenia has a significant biologicalcomponent, its onset may be significantly influencedby environmental factors and external stresses.Living in an urban environment and socialdisadvantage (including poverty, migration and racialdiscrimination) have all shown to be significant riskRuth Wilson and Justin SalingerPhoto: Simon Annandfactors. Childhood experiences of trauma or abuse have also been identified to increase the risk ofdeveloping schizophrenia later in life, and although parenting is not held responsible for diagnosis , itis likely that unsupportive or dysfunctional relationships contribute to an increased risk. Whilst it hasbeen mooted in the media for some time that illegal substance abuse (particularly cannabis andamphetamine-based drugs) is linked to a high risk of developing schizophrenia, there has been littleconclusive evidence that this can directly cause the condition alone, and the statistical link is in facttenuous.37Split PersonalityIt is commonly thought that people with schizophrenia have a split personality, acting perfectlynormal one minute, and irrationally, or bizarrely, the next. The word schizophrenia translates roughlyas ‘splitting of the mind’ and comes from the Greek roots schizein (‘to split’) and phren (‘mind’). Theterm was coined by Eugen Bleuler in 1908 and was intended to describe the separation of functionbetween personality, thinking, memory, and perception. However, despite the etymology,schizophrenia as a medical term does not imply a ‘split mind’. The term was first used long beforeResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


the full extent of the condition was better understood.TreatmentThe concept of a cure for schizophrenia remains controversial, as there is no consensus on thedefinition. Management of symptoms and improving function is thought to be more achievable thana cure. Treatment was revolutionised in the mid-1950s with the development and introduction ofchlorpromazine. A recovery model is increasingly adopted, emphasizing hope, empowerment andsocial inclusion. Early intervention is seen to correspond to a better outcome, and moving patients,carers and clinicians away from the prevalent belief of the chronic nature of the condition has beenidentified as important in successful treatment.The first line psychiatric treatment for schizophrenia is antipsychotic medication, which reduces thepositive symptoms of psychosis and delusion. Dosages of antipsychotics are now generally muchlower than they were in the early decades of their use from the 1950s. However, psychotherapy andcognitive behavioural therapy are now commonly used to address the negative symptoms such associal isolation and self esteem, raising a patient’s insight into their condition and addressing thepsychological influencers of the illness which are not tackled by medication alone. In more seriouscases, where there is deemed a high risk to self and others, involuntary hospitalisation may benecessary, although hospital stays are now less frequent and for shorter periods than they were inprevious times.History of Schizophrenia: OverviewAccounts of a schizophrenia-like syndrome are thought to be rare in the historical record before the1800s, although reports of irrational, unintelligible, or uncontrolled behaviour were common.Schizophrenia was first described as a distinct syndrome by Bénédict Morel in 1853, termeddémence précoce (literally 'early dementia') because he observed it to affect only teenagers andyoung adults. It later became refered to as dementia praecox and in 1893, Emil Kraepelin introduceda new distinction in the classification of mental disorders between that condition and mood disorder(or ‘manic depression’ and including both unipolar and bipolar depression). He believed thatdementia praecox was a disease of the brain and itself a form of early-onset dementia. In 1908,Bleuler coined the term ‘schizophrenia’, having realised through his research that the illness couldnot be a dementia, as some of his patients improved rather than deteriorated.SchizophreniaProspects for treatment of condition only then dramatically improved in the early 1950s, with thediscovery of the anti-psychotic drug, chlorpromazine, which revolutionised the treatment ofpsychosis and gave way for more research into the underlying psychological framework of the illness.The early 1970s saw the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia come under scrutiny as the subject of anumber of controversies; the clinical research which resulted eventually led to the standardiseddiagnostic and treatment criteria used today.Nowadays, psychotherapy and medication are used together, with the aim to restore patients to abalanced, healthy life in the community, and an emphasis on patients’ self-management of theircondition, given the unclear boundaries marking complete recovery. In the UK, the NHS’s NationalInstitute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), reissued its guidance on the treatment of schizophrenia in2002, highlighting the need for a personal approach to treatment and an understanding of theindividual’s needs in a tailored approach to community rehabilitation.For more information on schizophrenia and other types of psychotic conditions, visit:www.rcpsych.ac.uk (Royal College of Psychiatrists)www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/mentalhealthproblems/schizophrenia (Containscomprehensive pages on schizophrenia specifically including symptoms and basic overview)www.nhs.uk/conditions/schizophrenia (NHS Guide to Schizophrenia)www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/schizophrenia (Mind’s website contains goodinformation on patients’ legal rights)Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 38


Psychiatrist’s ViewAlmeida Projects spoke to Dr Jamie Arkell, Consultant Psychiatrist at SouthKensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre, about Karin’s diagnosis, and theprospects for her treatment were she living in 2010.Almeida Projects: How would you begin to diagnose Karin?Dr Arkell: The symptoms that Karin has, of hearing voices and expressing delusions - which are falselyheld beliefs that are resistant to rational argument, to use the technical definition - those certainlyindicate a psychotic illness. Whereas the things that made me think she might be suffering from abipolar illness were her being disinhibited and having a lot of energy; those might well be symptoms ofa bipolar illness rather than schizophrenia.AP: If Karin had been diagnosed now, what would be different?Dr A: In 1960, the length of stay in hospital was a lot longer and patients were still often going intovery large, very institutional settings. Had Karin lived around Islington, she would likely have beenreferred to Friern Barnet Hospital, which incidentally is now luxury flats! But in the late 19th and early20th Century, large institutions, often architecturally quite interesting buildings, were built on theperphery of London, such as in Friern Barnet; and they had their own gardens, orchards, working farmsand workshops, and people often ended up spending a large part of their lives there. Then in the late1980s, many of these hospitals were closed, and that was really the great shift into trying to treatpeople in the community. There was a significant move away from large institutional settings, whereboth staff and patients were institutionalised, really. People also spent much of their career workingthere. Patients I suppose were insulated from real life - they weren't encouraged to make decisions ormake choices in life, about where they lived, what they ate, what clothes they wore.It was about 1951 when Largactil (chlorpromazine), the first antipsychotic, was used, and by then alsolithium was being developed, which would have been used if there were a mood component to herillness. So Karin, in the 1960s, would at least have had access to medication. To be honest, whilst themedication we use now has a better side effect profile, there haven’t been massive advances in itseffectiveness; lithium and Largactil are still both used now.Another change in treatment was the introduction of depot medication, which is where medication canbe given – injected – say, every month. Depot medication freed up long-term patients to be able to goand live in the community because it became easier to monitor their medication. Some of the newerinjections are fortnightly, but it means that now, Karin would be able to be given medication at leastfortnightly to monthly, and that would mean that she would be living in either private accommodationor supported accommodation in the community. She would also be seeing someone called a care coordinator,which is like a social worker, or a psychiatric nurse, perhaps fortnightly, to check up thatthings were going well.There is evidence that cognitive behavioural therapy has a role in treating psychotic illness, but a lot ofthat is about helping patients make strategies to ensure they take their medication regularly and withtheir general life coping skills; also to help if there's any depression as well. What we also know,though, is that more explorative psychotherapy, the old-fashioned sort of ‘on the couch’psychodynamic psychotherapies can make matters worse. You could understand the psychosis as away of coping with that complicated internal world, so sometimes it's better to be quite pragmaticabout how you approach a patient, and once their symptoms fade, to look forward and to be morepractical, rather than getting them to focus on that internal world. If there is a problem with a patientdifferentiating reality from their internal fantasies, you can see, even as a lay person, that getting themto focus back on those internal fantasies might make things worse rather than better.AP: But there's still no definite cure for schizophrenia?Dr A: No. So if she had a diagnosis of schizophrenia that would likely be a lifelong diagnosis. She39Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon Annandwould be encouraged to take medication in the medium and long term, to manage it rather than cureit.AP: Is there any likelihood that they are going to find a cure?Dr A: In the immediate future, I don't think,there is. We know that there is a strong geneticcomponent to schizophrenia. For instance, there's a 1 in 100 lifetime chance for anybody to developschizophrenia; but if you have one parent or a sibling with schizophrenia, that goes up to a 1 in 10chance. And if both your parents have a diagnosis of schizophrenia then you have a 50% chance.Other than bipolar, schizophrenia is one of the highest conditions with genetic influences.AP: Whilst genetic factors play a part, what are the environmental influences on schizophrenia? Arethey significant?Psychiatrist’s ViewDr A: It's always difficult when discussing nature versus nurture, or how much is environment andhow much is genetic, because we often get stuck into a false dialectic, as actually genes andenvironment have such a close and complex relationship, one affecting the other, that it's difficult tounpick the connection. What we know with schizophrenia is that it's likely to be the cause of severalgenes, not just one gene - it's more complex than that. And we do know that environmental factorssuch as cannabis, stress and social isolation can all have an impact on how frequently people relapseand how long they relapse for, but there is a clear genetic component to it. One of the main studiesthat shows us this looks at twins, comparing identical with non-identical twins; because you know thedegree to which they share environment is pretty similar, and identical twins are genetically almost100% identical, whereas non-identical probably share about half their genes. So you can then look at,when one twin has schizophrenia, how frequently does the other twin also have schizophrenia? Andwe know that identical twins are both much more likely to have schizophrenia than non-identicaltwins. But it’s not a dead cert: with identical twins, if one has schizophrenia, it doesn't mean the otheris 100% likely to have schizophrenia, so there is obviously then some more complex geneticcomponent that has to bring that out.I will just mention the prevalence of depression; prevalence in other words being how many peoplehere and now, in any population, are suffering from depression. There was a recent census thatshowed it was about 24 in 1000 for men and 28 in 1000 for women, so it's not so vastly different; butResource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 40


Psychiatrist’s ViewIan McElhinney and Ruth WilsonPhoto: Simon AnnandAP: What were your thoughts on the play’s depiction of schizophrenia?we do know that women are more likely to seekhelp, they're more likely to harm themselves;whereas men are more likely to use drink anddrugs and are more likely to successfully killthemselves. There is a genetic component todepression, but I think there is also quite a strongenvironmental component; and that's where youcan consider why it is that women are slightlymore likely to suffer from depression. It may bedue to there being more adverse environmentalfactors that might affect women rather than men;whereas bipolar and schizophrenia, where there isa strong genetic component, there actually isn't abias towards male or female - they are equal.Dr A: It is not really a play about mental illness, but about inhabiting two worlds. It struck me that theworld into which Karin was drawn felt like a warm and safe place, whereas so often in schizophrenia,it is a cold and isolated place to be. I was also struck by the degree of insight Karin had into herillness at times and her agency in the decisions she wanted to make about her future care.The issue of insight in schizophrenia is very important. By definition patients lack insight as delusionsand hallucinations seem real, so a diagnosis that suggests otherwise is not agreeable. Basic insightinvolves three factors:1. Accepting that they are ill;2. Accepting that the illness is a mental illness;3. Accepting that they need treatment.Patients with schizophrenia are often very concrete in their understanding of the world. Often there isnot any ‘as if’ quality about their description of their experiences: it doesn't sound as if people arewhispering in their ear - they are whispering in their ear. Patients may understand delusions andhallucinations as a rational interpretation of very peculiar experiences, for example, hearing voicesmay lead to a conclusion that MI6 have inserted a transmitter into their head while they slept or thatthey are possessed by spirits - depending on their understanding of the world.The challenge with patients who don't believe they are ill is persuading them to engage with help andto take medication. This can mean detention under the mental health act - initially for assessment for28 days and then if there is a formal diagnosis for 6 months at a time. They always have legal recourseand a right to a fair hearing. Usually a social worker and two specially trained doctors assess thepatient to make that decision and there have to be serious risks to themselves, their health or thesafety of others to decide to do this and it must be clear that no less restrictive ways of treating thepatient are possible.AP: What might Karin’s prospects be, long term?Dr A: I suppose the one thing that's significant for Karin is that we know that women tend to developschizophrenia slightly later than men and also they do also tend to have slightly better outcomes. Bythat I mean that the negative syndrome is often less prominent in women, so Karin’s personality andsocial functioning might be preserved better. We know that men who develop schizophrenia muchearlier, before their personality has properly developed, often have a poorer outlook; and they tend tomove sooner from the positive symptoms, (the voices and the delusions), into the negativesymptoms of social decline, lack of self-care, lack of initiative and blunting of the affects - a sort ofdisintegration of the personality. So, the main thing for Karin is that her outlook might be slightlybetter, as a woman, suffering from schizophrenia.41Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


The following extract is taken from the Preface to The Divided Self by R.D.Laing. Laing’s work was a seminal study of the psychotic mind and was usedas an integral part of research in the rehearsal room.In The Divided Self, Laing aims to make madness and the process of going mad comprehensible. Inthe 1960s, he developed the argument that there may be positive value in allowing people’spsychosis to develop and was the first psychiatrist to establish residences in which people were onlygiven treatment they wanted.One cannot say everything at once. I wrote this book when I was twenty-eight. I wanted to convey aboveall that it was far more possible than is generally supposed to understand people diagnosed as psychotic.Although this entailed understanding the social context, especially the power situation within the family,today I feel that, even in focusing upon and attempting to delineate a certain type of schizoid existence, Iwas already partially falling into the trap I was seeking to avoid. I am still writing in this book too muchabout Them and too little of Us.Freud insited that our civilisation is a repressive one. There is a conflict between the demands ofconformity and the demands of our instinctive energies, explicitly sexual. Freud could see no easyresolution of this antagonism, and he came to believe that in our time the possibility of simple naturallove between human beings had already been abolished.Our civilisation represses not only ‘the instincts’, not only sexuality, but any form of transcendence.Among one-dimensional men, it is not surprising that someone with an insistent experience of otherdimensions, that he cannot entirely deny or forget, will run the risk either of being destroyed by the others,or of betraying what he knows.In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all our frames ofreference are ambiguous and equivocal.A man who prefers to be dead rather than Red is normal. A man who says he has lost his soul is mad. Aman who says that men are machines may be a great scientist. A man who says he is a machine is‘depersonalised’ in a psychiatric jargon. A man who says that Negroes are an inferior race may be widelyrespected. A man who says his whiteness is a form of cancer is certifiable.A little girl of seventeen in a mental hospital told me she was terrified because the Atom Bomb was insideher. That is a delusion. The statesman of the world who boast and threaten that they have Doomsdayweapons are far more dangerous, and far more estranged from ‘reality’ than many of the people onwhom the label ‘psychotic’ is affixed.Psychiatry could be, and some psychiatrists are, on the side of transcendence, of genuine freedom, and oftrue human growth. But psychiatry can so easily be a technique of brainwashing, of inducing behaviourthat is adjusted, by (preferably) non-injurious torture. In the best places, where straitjackets are abolished,doors are unlocked, leucotomies largely forgone, these can be replaced by more subtle lobotomies andtranquilizers that place the bars of Bedlam and the locked doors inside the patient. Thus I would wish toemphasise that our ‘normal’ ‘adjusted’ state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our truepotentialities, that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities.From The Divided SelfBut let it stand. This was the work of an old young man. If I am older, I am now also younger.London, September 1964.Preface reprinted with permission of Routledge Press.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 42


Practical ExercisesThrough a Glass Darkly deals with a number of issues that areparticularly interesting to explore in the classroom, particularly thoseof subtext and realistic acting techniques. Below are just a fewsuggested exercises for use in lesson time to investigate the stylesand themes of the play in further depth.Exercise 1. Realism in PerformanceFrom Anton Chekhov to Mark Ravenhill, theatre’s dominant acting style remains realism (sometimesreferred to in its refined form as naturalism) – the appearance of reality on stage. American academicDonna Campbell describes realism as ‘the faithful representation of reality [where] character is moreimportant than action and plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject.’Whilst the play itself bears symbolic characteristics, realism is in the driver’s seat for Through a GlassDarkly, and, consequently, there has been a great deal of round-the-table discussion about charactermotives, status and sub-text in the rehearsal room.Duration: 20 minutes.Aim: The following exercise aims to help students find a natural style of acting or performance. It'salso a very good exercise for looking at how naturalism can arise out of more exaggerated styles ofperformance, and also how it can have its own unique power both as an acting style and also as astyle of presentation.Practical Exercise: Ask the group, asaudience, to suggest a scenario for two ormore volunteers to play out as aspontaneous improvisation. Have one actoron stage and the other should make adramatic entrance of some kind. The style atthe start of the improvisation should be veryover the top, expressive and loud - bothphysically and verbally. The actors shouldstart at full volume, which is represented bythe number 10, and, as the scene plays out,the number is decreased and the idea is totone down the performance, where thenumber 1 should be entirely naturalistic. Trythis with a number of different pairs and askstudents to think about where each ‘level’might be used - what kind of charactermight be like that?Evaluation: How did the different styles of acting contrast? And how did the different styles impact onthe audience? Which was more believable?Exercise 2. Know Your Character - The Big WsThrough a Glass Darkly consists mostly of conversations between two or three of the characters at anyone time. In the play, the characters are clearly the dominant element – the narrative revolves entirelyaround what they are thinking and feeling, and the subtext and back story create the forward motionthat gives the play purpose.43Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Duration: 30 minutesAim: To encourage the actor to think about how to portray his/her character truthfully on stage.Practical Exercise: Look at the opening scene from the play (see pages 46-49) and choose one ofthe characters to focus on. Now answer the following questions:• Who are you?• Where are you in the scene / within the context of the play / within the context of yourcharacter’s life?• What are you doing in the scene?• Why are you doing it?• What do you want in this scene?Once you have established this basic information, go on to look in more detail at the scene fromyour character’s point of view, and answer these further questions:• What do you say?• What is the subtext in the line?• Do you mean what you say? If not, what do you mean? How do you know this?• What do you learn about the back story of your character?• What do other characters say about you? (This often gives you as much, if not more,information about your character).Finally, on a piece of paper draw an outline of your character, so that it is hollow on the inside andthere is space on the outside. Write all of your character’s inner feelings and subtext inside theoutline and all of the open, shared information outside the outline.Evaluation: How much do you know about your character now? Were there lots of clues in the text,or was further exploration necessary? How much was given fact and how much was implied? Didthe exercise throw up the necessity for further research? Now revisit the scene and identify yourcharacter’s ‘wants’ for every line. Have someone prompt the ‘wants’ and play the scene without ascript – finding an action that portrays the want for every line. Now play the scene again, this timeadding a sound to the action. Repeat with a few words/paraphrased sentences. This exercise willhelp you to think about context and what the character wants; consider their relationship with othercharacters on stage; and really understand what is happening without needing to refer to the script.Practical ExercisesExercise 3. Subtext - The Unspoken IssueIn Bergman films, disparate characters are oftenconfined in domestic disharmony, and the audienceclearly understands the psychological and societalforces that drive the characters. This is also true ofthe stage adaptation of Through a Glass Darkly,although Karin is initially shielded from the trueseverity of her illness by her husband. He tries totalk to her father about it, but hides the truth fromher in order to, as he sees it, protect her. However,this is frustrating for Karin as she wants to know thetruth.Duration: 25 minutesAim: To understanding subtext as a tool for creatingrealistic, believable performance.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 44


Practical ExercisesPractical Exercise: Read the following extract between Karin and Martin (see page 50). Prior to thebeginning of the extract, Karin has found some medical supplies in Martin’s cupboard. This is apivotal moment in the play and there is clearly a great deal of subtext in this extract as she is unableto openly voice her upset. Subtext is content not explicitly voiced by the actors: they say one thing,but actually mean another. Try playing the discussion between Karin and Martin with the subtext, ‘Ihate you’, or ‘why are you doing this to me?’ running through your mind. Would it make a differenceif you were to play the scene with the subtext, ‘I love you’, or ‘I miss you’ instead?Evaluate: What is it that Karin actually wants from this scene but doesn’t say? How about Martin?Try replaying the scene in your own words, literally explaining the subtext. How does this compare tothe original?Exercise 4. Playing the Inner StruggleIn Through a Glass Darkly Karin is schizophrenic. She hears voices in her head that make her feeltorn, like she is ‘living between two worlds.’Duration: 20 minutes.Aim: to consider how an actor might play out an internal struggle in performance.Exercise: Read Karin’s monologue on page 51. Before now, Karin has been unable to talk openlyabout her illness, but here she has found a calmness and is able to share her fears with her father.Go through the monologue. What are the attractions of the world behind the wallpaper? And whatare the horrible things that she does in the world with her family? In groups of three, have oneperson in the middle representing Karin and then the other two people either side of herrepresenting the opposing worlds (like two ends of a tight rope, with Karin being the rope itself).Now have the two actors on either end of the rope share what is attractive about their world, and theactor playing Karin should move along the tight rope depending on which way she is being pulled.Evaluate: how did the exercise help to identify Karin’s inner struggle? Now have the actor playing themonologue with this inner struggle in mind.45Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


SCRIPT EXTRACT #1 (Exercise 2)Scene OneFrom deep in the darkness at the back of the stage we hear laughter, ever so slightly forced. Four figures emerge,each wet from the sea. All make their way to the front of the stage and stand there dripping, looking out. Thelaughter fades.Silence.David:Max:Karin:David:I’d forgotten how beautiful the water was.You say that every year.And every year he’s right. This is the most wonderful place on earth. Isn’t it Dad?If you say so darling.Martin: She does, believe me, frequently.Karin:Max:David:Karin:And I say that everything will be perfect this holiday.Ha!Do you now?I do.(To Martin) You and Dad can put out the nets and Chris and I will get started on dinner.Martin: I think Chris should help David with the nets so I can take a stroll with my wife.David: Or Chris and Martin start dinner and Karin and I -Max:Karin:David:I’ve no intention of fetching of chopping vegetables or putting out the nets. I’ll decide for myself whatI’m going to do.(To Martin and David) Now look what you’ve done. You should have listened to me in the first place.Arbitration! The father will decide. Come on Martin, let the children get go inside, we hunters shallcontend with the wind and the waves.Script Extract #1(To Karin and Chris) Go on, you’ll catch your death out here.Karin:Brilliant plan, I wish I’d thought of it.Karin drags Max away.Karin:Max:Come on, I want to get clean and dry.I don’t care about being clean.They are gone.David:Shall we grab a jumper or just brave it?Martin: What do you think?David:There’s a wind up.Martin: Really?David:I’m fine, but-Martin: If you’re cold we should…David:No. Not a bit. Are you OK?Martin: I’m used to it. It’s quite a breeze.David:What does not kill me makes me stronger and all that.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 46


Script Extract #1Martin: Hemingway eat your heart out, eh?David begins gathering the nets to take out and Martin puts on a pair of shoes.David:Storm clouds, do you think?Martin: They won’t reach us tonight. Afraid of a thunderstorm?David:You have no idea. The lack of control. You should see them tumbling out of the Alps.Martin: How was Switzerland, aside from the storms?David:Brilliant.Martin: So you enjoyed yourself?David:It wasn’t pleasure, it was work. I missed you all. But I had to stay there and finish this damn book – Iswore I would. Homesick or not.Martin: And did you?David:What?Martin: Finish it?David:More or less.Martin: And your ulcer?David:All right. I might get you to prescribe something. I’ll take the boat to town tomorrow.Martin: I thought you were planning to spend the day here with us tomorrow?David:Martin: I see.David:There are a few things I’m going to need to do.I can’t pretend I don’t exist because I’m on holiday with my family.Martin: I know that.David:I exist Martin, I have obligations.Martin: We all know that.PauseJust …David:Just what?Martin: Just … know how much this holiday means to Karin. She’s been planning for it for months.David:Planning for it? We do the same thing every year.Martin: God only knows what she’s been doing, other than talking about it constantly.They have the nets and David turns to leave. Martin glances anxiously towards the house to make sure they aren’toverheard.Did you get my last letter? I posted it on Monday.David:I was incommunicado. Concentrating. You’ve got to work. I’m sixty in a couple of years.Martin is silent.I was in Zurich on Monday, and I flew home on Wednesday and then came straight here.Martin: So you didn’t get it?David:Is there something wrong?Martin: Karin, it was an update on Karin.47Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


David:What about Karin?Martin: About her health.David:I felt I should keep you up to speed, even if it interrupted your creative flow.Well?Martin: It’s not good. When she came home from the hospital, a month ago now, I asked her psychiatristwhat I should expect.David:Is that the letter you’re talking about? I got that one.Martin: No, not the first one. This was an update.David:Martin: I know.I got the letter about her stay in hospital.David: I was in the thick of it at the time. I couldn’t -Martin: So was she.David:I got that letter … a while ago.Martin: This was a different letter: an update after she left hospital.SilenceDavid:The psychiatrist said … he can’t promise any lasting improvement.How has it been since the hospital?Martin: Surprisingly all right, given she’s not on medication.David:Her hearing is over-sensitive and she hasn’t much of an appetite. I have noticed she doesn’t want tosee anyone, none of our friends. She’d rather be alone most of the time. Hence the importance of thisholiday.And she doesn’t sleep.Well, that could be said about any of us. Me, Chris, it was true of Karin’s mother too. I suppose ifyou’re looking for symptoms …Script Extract #1You’re just lucky, nothing disturbs your sleep!Martin remains silent.What does Karin know?Martin: Everything, of course. Essentially. Except that it is more or less incurable.David:More or less?Martin: There are cases of complete recovery so there’s always hope.I don’t think we need to upset her by telling her too much.David:It didn’t help her mother.Martin: You told her?David:I told her what the doctors told me.Martin waits. David is uncomfortable.And you, how are you keeping?Martin: Not so bad.David:That’s a short answer.Martin: I assumed you were being polite.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 48


Script Extract #1David laughs.David:Am I that bad?Martin: It’s been hard. The days pass. Never enough time. I moved my practice, got myself a bit more space,I think I said all that in the letter.David:The missing letter?Martin: No. The one you got.David:How’s Chris? Do you think? He seems alright.Martin: He’s got his own troubles.David:Has he?Martin: Well, yes, certainly. He’s a teenager. I don’t know.David:Before the illness, we were happy. I mean it, Karin and I were happy. What scared me was how bad ithad got, by the time I realised she’d already been through so much.Yes. I remember you saying in one of your letters.Martin: I didn’t tell you the half of it, David. You were so busy with your novel. I didn’t want to upset you.SilenceDavid:Look, what I’m saying is that I’ve come to understand through all this how much I love her.And I’m all she has to cling to in life, the only thing she can rely on.I see.Martin: She says to me I’m her only defence against the disease. And she’s right. I think our happiness inbeing together is the best cure.Silence.David:I just wanted you to know.(about the nets) We should take these out.49Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


Script Extract #2 (Exercise 3)From Scene 4Martin: Are you OK?Karin: Are you?Martin: Yes.He goes to get in [to bed].What is it, darling?Karin: Are you tired? I’m not tired at all.Why are we tired if we rest all day?Martin: I took a long swim this morning.What’s wrong?Sudden.Karin: Can I share your cupboard?Martin: What?Karin: I’m looking for a place to put my clothes.Martin: You have a cupboard.Karin: It smells.Martin: Does it?Karin remains silent, challenging.If you want.He goes to the cupboard and is trying to manage it privately. She is at his shoulder.Script Extract #2Karin:The other cupboard is very musty, it smells bad.He stops trying to organise the cupboard. He turns to her. She is angling to get to see inside the cupboard.Martin: Is it? OK -Karin:It’s making all my clothes stink.Martin: Right.He is blocking her.Karin:It is. I’m not making it up as an excuse to look in …I wasn’t poking around.Martin: What? Karin? What is it?Karin:I was just looking to clear a bit of space for my things.Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman 50


Script Extract #3Script Extract #3 (Exercise 4)Karin’s monologue, from Scene 12.Karin:The bright ones will wait till the door opens. God will come. They say that I can make ithappen. And I am ready and I’m so excited. And in that moment I know that I have a thinginside me that is better than anything I actually do when I’m here with all of you. I know youunderstand what I’m talking about, like Max does.If there was a place you could go to, where that better part of you could live, you would gowouldn’t you?Who’s to say which place is the dream? It feels real to be there and it feels better. I can’t usewords to describe it like you would, but when I’m not in that place it’s like I’m suffering aloss. I ache to go back.But then the voices come and tell me to do things I don’t want to do. And all my certaintygoes and I get confused again and I can’t make any sense of it.I wonder then, is this because I’m ill? Or is it just because I’m torn between worlds? I’m inagony because I suddenly see my own confusion … and it’s terrifying.I know it’s not as bad for me as for some people. Those poor people in the hospital. Theytold me terrible things. And the screaming.I know I’m not like that but what scares me is the confusion, that’s when I think I’mdangerous.51Resource Pack: Through A Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman


AlmeidaProjectsThrough a Glass DarklyAlmeida Projects Resource PackWritten and designed by Charlie Payne, withcontributions from Stephanie Bell andSamantha Lane.Through a Glass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman,adapted for the stage by Jenny Worton wasproduced at the Almeida Theatre 10 June -31 July 2010.The information in this Resource Pack iscorrect at the time of going to Press. Allrights reserved. © Almeida Theatre,Published June 2010.The Almeida Theatre is a Registered CharityNo. 282167. The Almeida Theatre CompanyLimited, Almeida Street, London N1 1TA.Use of this Almeida Projects Resource Packis authorised in connection with theAlmeida Projects work at the AlmeidaTheatre. Any further use in any form mustbe approved by the creators. The copyrightof all original material remains with thecreators.Quotes and script extracts from Through aGlass Darkly by Ingmar Bergman, adaptedfor the stage by Jenny Worton.Almeida Projects photography: BridgetJones and Lucy Cullen.Almeida Projects is the Almeida Theatre’scommunity and learning programme.Inspired by the Almeida Theatre’s productions, Almeida Projectsdelivers a range of high quality, innovative activities to make thetheatre accessible to young people, inspire them creatively andencourage an exploration of the power and potential of theatre.Almeida Projects provides an active, creative link betweenour theatre and its audience, more specifically an audiencethat may not have considered that the theatre might not befor them.Our aim is to act as a catalyst to their energies, to theirhunger to participate - celebrating the creativity of youngpeople in the best way we know how: by offering them ourexperience, our expertise and our unique theatre.Michael AttenboroughArtistic DirectorAlmeida Projects’ work draws on all aspects of theatre, workingwith thousands of people each year, and includes: workinpartnership with local schools; the Young Friend of the Almeidascheme; and a subsidised ticket scheme for schools. For moreinformation please visit our website.www.almeida.co.uk/educationAlmeida Projects is supported by:National Lottery though Arts Council EnglandRaymond Cazalet Charitable TrustThe City Parochial FoundationThe Foundation for Sport and the ArtsGrocer’s Company Charitable TrustThe Peter Harrison FoundationThe Noel Coward FoundationAndrew Wilkinson, Goldman Sachs

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