The stronger – a view from backstage

Mrs. X and Miss Y meet, accidentally (or maybe not), in a cafeteria, on Christmas Eve. They used to be friends and colleagues, but now…what is left of their intriguing relationship? And who is, in fact, the Stronger?

I believe no one really knows, it’s a matter of many nuances and of each spectator’s point of view. However, for Strindberg it seemed pretty clear. Having written this play for his wife, to whom he always came back after his various affairs, Strindberg considered that Mrs. X was the stronger.

Joanna and I decided to show both sides of each character, to make them human. At first I think we were both scared of them and didn’t know how to approach such individuality. But with help, patience, work and talent we got to like them and make them our allies. Mrs. X enters, decided to patronize and have a good laugh at Miss Y. The latter will hesitate and travel back in time, hurt by her words. But, seeing how shallow and wrong Mrs. X really is, she recovers her serenity and enjoys the sorrow of the other. Yes, for us, Miss Y was the stronger. And the more Joanna and I listened to each other, the stronger the interpretation was.

Actually, I wanted to write mostly about this. The 15 minutes on stage. The concentration, the listening, the interaction. About the lights on our faces, the silence in the room, the laughter, the tears in the corner of the eye…These details will stay forever in my heart and are so dear to me. Because in these small things lay the power of interpretation and the beauty of the stage.

Again, I was on stage and I felt incredibly well. I was cold and had a sore throat, my eyes and ears hurt and I just wanted to go home and sleep. But I went up there and I knew no more of all this. It was me, with the mask of Miss Y and there was Joana, as Mrs. X. And the audience and the good vibes. It seems that the stage manages, somehow, to make the bad and the ugly disappear and projects a sort of aura on its actors.

I believe that if you love the stage and do this (acting, I mean) out of a sincere and authentic belief, the stage will love you back no matter what. You will discover new meanings and unexpected gestures of your character, you will smile and feel awkward at the end, when the lights are on you, the person and not the character. You will feel as if there is still something to be done and yet, the play is over. And yesterday I felt all that and these thoughts, sensations and feelings are still on my mind.

It was rewarding and so empowering to hear people say that it was wonderful, that they lived with us every moment of the play and we created the expectation gradually. I forgot to mention that Miss Y never speaks. She always listens to Mrs. X and her movements and gestures convey her words and internal emotions into answers that, unfortunately, Mrs. X does not want to hear. And we really managed to make people get emotional and wait for the grand finale.

I thank, again, all the people who helped us and who came to see us. It was easier to create this with you and I had a lot to learn along the way.


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