The Ghost Sonata

Definition

Theater

  • A one-act drama by August Strindberg, first performedin Stockholm (1908) as one of five 'chamber plays' (Kammarspel)written for his Intima Teatern. The work has many 'grotesques' anddreamlike interruptions, thus anticipating many of the techniquesassociated with expressionism. The play also influenced Eugene O'Neill and the playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd.

    The central theme of the work is the conflict between truthand pretence. The plot involves the plan of an embittered old man,Hummel, to destroy a Colonel who, as a young rival, had taken thewoman he loved. Only Hummel and Mummy, the Colonel's wife, know thatthe Colonel's much-loved daughter was actually fathered by Hummel.During a dinner at the Colonel's home, Hummel reveals to the otherguests that their host is as phoney as his military rank. Mummy, however,exposes Hummel's deceitfulness and he commits suicide; their daughteris placed behind a 'death screen' to wither and die.

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