Unga Klara, Stockholms Stadsteater

The Girl, The Mother and The Trash
by Suzanne Osten

Unga Klara Teatern

“The Girl, The Mother and The Trash” tells the story of eight-year-old Ti who lives with her mother who suffers from schizophrenia. Ti’s mother believes that she is a prisoner of two invisible jailers Polter and Geist. However, Ti and her mother do not realise that she is suffering from a mental illness. They believe that these jailers instruct Ti’s mother to collect garbage from all over the city and bring it to the flat.

The story derives from Osten’s own experiences growing up with a mother who became mentally ill. Osten has created a theatre piece that transforms aspects of a personal memoir into an artwork that illustrates the effects that mental illness can have within a family. Its theatricality and courage and the fact that we see the play through the eyes of a child help to make the subject of mental illness more accessible to young people.

Says Osten: “Western culture has tended either to romanticise madness – as in the Ophelia figure – or brush it quickly under the carpet. At Unga Klara we wanted to test our own taboos about madness and portray them to children as young as the first year in school. “I mix genres and styles: realism, language, the avant-garde, complexity and the spectacular: one has to ensure that the product does not look as though it is for children. We can tell a story from the child’s point of view without simplifying our language, imagery or human experience.”

The Swedish cast, who will be performing at The Market Theatre, includes Anna Takanen as the girl, Kajsa Reingardt as the mother, Tobias Theorell and Andreas Kundler as Mr Poler and Mr Geist.

Text Erik Uddenberg (after a book of Suzanne Osten)
Director Suzanne Osten
Scenography and costumes Karin Wegsjö

“The Girl, The Mother and the Trash” received the award for the best foreign production at the Theatre Academy Gala in Canada, an award similar to the American Tony Awards. The play toured throughout Sweden from 1998 to 2000, performed in Berlin in 1999, Montreal in 2000 and at the Brooklyn Academy in New York in 2001.

 

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