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Review:Through A Glass Darkly

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by: sefrew
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Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 Time: 5:32 AM

The  most influential and accomplished artist of all time Ernst Ingmar Bergman’s  Oscar winning movie “Through a Glass Darkly” has been  adapted  for the stage  and  is now at  Almeida Theatre  starring  Ruth Wilson. The play will be shown until 31st July 2010.

Through A Glass Darkly  is based on a schizophrenic  young woman  Karin (Ruth Wilson) ‘s   unbearable anguish   in search of God and love  and her fragilely  tied  family’s effort to help her  fight on the first day of their vacation in a Swedish Island . Bergman  analyzes the characters  and exposes their pain in the 24 hours   time period  and makes  audiences  restless in their seats.

Karin lives for her family, even  little things like an  argument between her father  and brother  keeps her awake all night and she hears voices and follows them to get her second world where she is happier. Her selfish  father  David (Ian McElhinney),who  is a second-rate novelist ,tries to make himself better by having a vacation with his children and giving them  ungenerously chosen presents after  ignoring them for years. He spends  hours on writing and secretly feels guilty for neglecting his family  but still  insensitive enough to use Karin’s battle  against schizophrenia for his new novel. He thinks that he is looking for the meaning of life.

Her doctor husband  Martin (Justin Salinger)who insincerely  tries every way to help her get better but never able to make Karin believe that  he is genuine. In a scene when they are about to go to bed  Karin tells her husband : “You tell all the right words but it still  sounds wrong and irritating.” He gets sexually refused by Karin which makes him  think that he is impotent.

Maxi  (Dimitri Leonidas)is Karin’s brother who is too young to understand  all the schizophrenic episodes of his sister whom he is sexually attracted to. He is an artistic boy who writes a play  which he has written  his fears  over  his father ‘s  recent relationship with a bossy woman .Self-centred  father does not  pay attention to the play at all. Maxi  is also going through adolescent sexual  crisis. He masturbates by  looking at  porn magazines and gets caught by Karin and they laugh at the situation together sometimes.

On the gray stage, none of the characters are happy and not really connected to each other as a family .Karin escapes to her second world where everybody is waiting to see God  whenever she is not happy in the real world. The play ends with her big schizophrenic episode  and all the voices tell her that she will see God this time. However she can’t as she is told that she  does not know how to love. Karin decides to live  in her second world and goes to hospital in helicopter  with Martin leaving Maxi  in fears.

David tells his scared son Maxi , who thinks  that he can not  survive : “You need to have something to hold on to ,to survive which is love.” and curtains close.

Bergman was inspired by a line in the Bible which suggests that as long as we live we are unable to see the true Nature of God in Through A Glass Darkly which is adopted for the stage by Jenny Worton  and directed by Michael Attenborough.


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Sefrew is a journalist who writes play reviews,news,timeless features about human nature ,philosophical and sociological issues and human rights on and

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