The Theater: Hate and Marriage

THE DANCE OF DEATH by AUGUST STRINDBERG

In Strindberg's obsession, any relationship between the sexes tended to take on the character of a Hundred Years' War—there might be some redemptive moments, some victories, but mostly it would be nasty, brutish and nearly interminable. Marriage became a sort of ugly paradigm of the human condition.

The Dance of Death is one of the most concentrated visions of unmitigated nastiness ever staged. Edward, a drunken, boorish army captain, lives with his venomous wife Alice in an island fortress off the bleak coast of Sweden. Bills go...

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