Omslagsbild: Teatern

Date of release: 2022-03-17
Pages: 215

Teatern /The Theatre

For more than a century, a palace in uptown Stockholm has been a hub where magic, play and stage art come to life. This is the habitat for some of the country’s most famous actors, obstinate egos, grandiloquent geniuses. This is also where a female director works. She is both celebrated and admired but also disheartened and quite exhausted. She is grieving a dead friend and navigating the relationship with a colleague who may or may not love her. The arrival of the new boss changes the atmosphere altogether. The director feels a distinctive shift – what used to be warmth turns into coldness. She is, however, flattered when the new boss asks if she wants to direct Hamlet on the Main Stage. It is the most extraordinary of assignments. When she accepts, she does not know that it will spell the beginning of the end. 

Jenny Andreasson’s debut novel is a fierce, darkly entertaining and tender portrayal of life behind the ornamented façade of a royal theatre. A perceptive glimpse behind the scenes of a mighty cultural institution. About the cost of artistry and what happens when the workplace balance shifts, becomes fluid, turns dangerous. About asking oneself the crucial question: do I want to live or die? 

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Jenny Andreasson’s perception of both subtle master suppression techniques and sophisticated exercises of power is like a natural force. It works well in symbiosis with the dense, coherent style, and results in a crispy, beautiful prose. This is a pretty brilliant debut with a distinct authority.
Perhaps it’s most meaningful to approach this novel as a piece of alarming theatre criticism of a work that you have not seen yourself. And in that case, everything comes down to deserving the reader’s trust. I’m more than happy to give her mine, as Jenny Andreasson shows that she really knows the most crucial element of theatre criticism. Not analysis, not judgment or clever valuation. The pivotal and impossible task is rather to capture the fateful moments that have already dispersed like smoke and faded away. To make them vivid once again.
Dagens Nyheter
Those who are very familiar with the Royal Dramatic Theatre will be satisfied with the life behind the stage, but with a few minor exemptions, this is no gossip novel. The Theatre is more profound than that. The book is Andreasson’s debut and she has an engaging style, lucid and magnetic at the same time, and she does not exclude either the theatre or herself from her own insights.
The Theatre is a prime example of what the misuse of power and conspiracy of silence can do to people /… / Deftly and with believable psychological acuity, Andreasson illustrates how the degradation enters both the narrator’s body and mind. This also exposes how hierarchical structures and bad leadership with a culture of silence at the base can rock the foundation of an entire organisation.

Jenny Andreasson (b. 1973) is a theatre director. She was employed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre between 2010 and 2020. She often directs plays by female playwrights throughout history. 

The Theatre is her first novel. 

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