August Strindberg

Miss Julie
Jean, a valet in a manor, reveals to his lover Christine, also a servant in the same manor, that their aristocratic Miss Julie, the count's daughter, is behaving erratically: she even wanted to dance with him, a humble valet. Christine mentions that Julie has changed since her engagement broke up. Jean witnessed the scene that led to the breakup: she wanted to humiliate her fiance, and he dumped her when she treated him like a dog. Julie comes in person to invite Jean to dance with her at the ball, Jean being the best dancer around. He tries to resist claiming that he has promised to dance with Christine but then accepts. When a tired Christine leaves the room, Julie flirts shamelessly with Jean. Jean repeatedly warns her that she is playing with fire. She is amused by what she thinks is shyness. Jean confesses that he had a crush on her when they were children and he almost committed suicide out of desperation. She keeps tempting him. He begs her to keep the distance that is required between master and servant. He is afraid to lose his job. Trying to avoid other servants who are singing a vulgar song mocking Julie's scandalous behavior, Jean talks Julie into hiding in his room. There they have sex. Julie is now terrified by what she has done. Jean proposes to leave together and start a new life as innkeepers in Switzerland. She blames him for what happened and he retorts that she was too easy to seduce. He insults her. Julie recounts how her mother brought her up to hate men. Her mom was a very independent woman, who refused to marry her father even after she was born. Her mom could care less about respect. She just wanted her independence. She raised Julie like a boy. The couple married much later, and mom never recovered from that sacrifice. One day a fire destroyed the manor just when the insurance policy had expired. The man was ruined. He was saved by a zero-interest loan from a neighbor. It turned out that it was his wife's money and that the neighbor was her lover: the woman had taken her revenge on the man who had humiliated her by forcing her to marry him. No surprise then that Julie herself hates man and that she tried to turn her fiance into a slave.
Julie leaves. It is now morning. Christine walks in, dressed to go to church. Jean confesses that he slept with the miss and Christine blames him for seducing the naive girl and breaking the rules. Christine doesn't make a big deal of it: she's still planning to marry him, and wants him to start thinking about getting a better job that can support them elsewhere. Christine leaves and Julie reappers, dressed for traveling, ready to flee with an unshaved Jean. She insists on taking a bird with her. Jean thinks it's a stupid idea. Julie says she prefers to see the bird dead than leave it with her father and begs Jean to kill it. Jean takes a big knife and cuts off its head. The pious Christine walks back in with a Bible in her hand on her way to church. Julie begs her to come with them to Switzerland. Christine gets into a heated argument with Jean, the two trading barbs: she preaches Jean but Jean exposes her own sins (Christine has been stealing from the master). Just then Julie's father returns to the manor and the news sends them panicking. Julie realizes that her father will be devastated when everybody learns of his daughter's sin: it's her mother taking revenge on her father through her. Julie thought she loved her father but now she realizes she always hated him without knowing it. She begs Jean to find a solution for her, now ready to do anything that the man commands her, ready to be the slave of a man. She knows what a man would do: commit suicide. She wants to be as good as a man, but needs a man to force her to do it. Jean hands Julie a shaving razor and she commits suicide (not shown).
Temporale
Il signore vive solo nel ricordo della moglie, che lo lasciò perché molto più giovane, e della figlia, allora bambina. Quando lei ricompare, compagna di un giovane avventuriero, lui svela d’averla sempre odiata per il modo in cui lei lo diffamò ed umiliò giorno dopo giorno, e gioisce quando l’avventuriero lascia lei, perché è lei adesso ad essere troppo vecchia, rapendo la bambina. Il signore chiede pace e non vuole sapere più nulla, ma sa che la madre riprenderà la bambina. Dramma autunnale in cui il vecchio è lieto d’essere vecchio, si prende la rivincita sulla vecchiaia e vuole la pace della vecchiaia.
La casa bruciata
Un forestiero arriva sul luogo dove è appena bruciata una casa ed è in corso l’inchiesta per appurare il colpevole. Si capisce subito che la casa nascondeva parecchie tresche, e che, in particolare, lo studente era l’amante della moglie del padrone e che questo, per vendicarsi, ha costruito le prove per farlo arrestare; ma il padrone è il più corrotto e disonesto di tutti, e il forestiero, che è suo fratello ed il padre illegittimo dello studente, glielo rinfaccia con tutti i torti del passato. Il garbuglio si conclude con una morale, perché la moglie non aveva pagato l’assicurazione e il padrone è pertanto ridotto in miseria.
Sonata di fantasmi
Ancora un groviglio di storie ed un mistero da svelare, ma questa volta con aspetti faustiani. Lo studente Arkenhof è l’unico a vedere la lattaia che simboleggia un crimine orrendo commesso dal vecchio Hummel, un essere spregevole che ha causato la morte del padre dello studente e che ora vuole sedurlo. Fa in modo che il giovane conosca Adele, la figlia del colonnello, che in realtà è figlia sua; a causa di quel tradimento la moglie del colonnello è rimasta pazza, come mummificata. Il vecchio spia anche una vecchia che fu la sua fidanzata, ha comprato tutte le cambiali del colonnello e può imporgli qualunque umiliazione; poi ne rivela anche le umili origini. Ma la moglie si ribella e smaschera il suo crimine, lo invita ad impiccarsi e lui esegue. Il dramma termina con una delirante predica dello studente. Fortemente simbolista, con una trama di segni disarticolati.
Pellicano
È morto un capofamiglia. Si scoprono i retroscena: la madre lo aveva tradito con il genero ed aveva combinato il matrimonio di questi con la figlia. Questa e il figlio giurano vendetta. Moriranno abbracciati nell’incendio della casa, mentre la madre si getta dalla finestra.

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