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Swede adapts entire Bible for the stage

Swede adapts entire Bible for the stage

Published: 16 Feb 2012 16:46 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2012 16:46 GMT+01:00

A play based on the entire Bible will premiere in Sweden this week in what the playwright said Thursday will be the world's first attempt to adapt both the Old and New Testaments to the stage.

"It is very exciting. And it is amazing that we have actually managed to do this. It was a gigantic task," said Niklas Rådström, who has spent the past two years working on "The Bible" set to open at the Gothenburg Stadsteater in southwestern Sweden on Friday.

"I know Max Reinhardt put up the Old Testament on Broadway in 1936 (The Eternal Road), but we have searched for others who have done both the Old and New Testaments, and found no examples," he told AFP, adding: "We seem to be the first."

With 15 actors, three musicians and two extras on stage interpreting around 90 different roles during the four hour and 40 minute play, Rådström said he had struggled to draw a continuous storyline from the material.

"This is not just a book, but an entire library of books ... and the different parts often seemed like they were trying to push and pull us in different directions. It hasn't been easy," he said.

When writing the play, Rådström said he had tried to "ignore the past 2,000 years of interpretation history and go straight to the Bible texts, the stories inside."

It was also important, he said, to approach the material in a serious manner without irony, out of respect for both believers and non-believers, and to interpret it "so it becomes meaningful and relevant to us today."

"I hope to de-dramatize the conflict often seen between the secular and the holy. The Bible is relevant to everybody" in traditionally Christian cultures, Rådström said, adding he had yet to see any signs the play would give rise to controversy.

The play will show at the Stadsteater several times a week through May 8th.

AFP/The Local


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Your comments about this article

22:58 February 16, 2012 by Olsen
CBS in the US presented a one man Bible stories show acted by Marshall Efron who played all the parts -- Queen Esther was a chubby girl with a mustache. Go to youtube. search Marshall Efron and watch his David and Goliath.
07:48 February 17, 2012 by Grokh
how hard can it be to adapt the bible to stage. an hour of masoquism and persecution and lunacy is easily doable by any good actor
08:48 February 17, 2012 by space2
I wonder if they include the part, where God sais to Lot's daughters to sleep with their dad...
17:53 February 17, 2012 by stevo1
why not, it's all fiction anyway
02:24 February 18, 2012 by Sushiw
Not so. The Truth that is sharper than any two edge sword. Needed very much in this time of confusion. However I doubt very much that the theatrical production, unless done for the Glory of God, will be of any earthly or spiritual use. But God has a thousand ways to answer every prayer.
11:31 February 18, 2012 by motti
Will this interpretation of scriptures be from the Christian bibles with it's many mistranslated parts, or will it be faithful to the original Hebrew text and commentaries?
20:37 February 18, 2012 by samwise
space2, where in the Bible does it say "God sais to Lot's daughters to sleep with their dad... "

You might refer to Genesis 19, but the text doesn't say what you suggest, instead, Lot's daughters come up with the idea themselves.

Which Bible did you read?
14:12 February 19, 2012 by Riddarsvamp
I saw the play and it was one of the most boring things I've ever watched.

It was way too long and the actors were screaming so you couldn't hear a thing they were saying. It didn't get better with the two idiots behind talking throughout the whole thing.

Anyway, they should have made it a lot shorter. The talking lady with the salt should have been on for max 5 min instead of 15 and the play needed better flow. Sure, it's the Bible, but even the parts which were connected took all my brainpower to figure out. And that wasn't enough.
18:39 February 20, 2012 by motti
@stevo1 that is your opinion and you are entitled to it. One thing for sure is th so called western civilisation rests on the foundation of the bible.

According to the Jewish bible, Genesis19:30-38. Lot went up from Zoar(means connected with a little place) and settled in the hill country with his two daughters, for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar; and he and his two daughters lived in a cave. And the older one said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to consort with us in the ways of the world. Come let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may maintain our life through our father." That night they made their father drink wine and older one went in and lay with her father; he did not know when she lay down or when she rose. The next day the older one said to the younger, "See, I lay with father last night;let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go and lie with him, that we may maintain life through our father. That night also they made their father drink wine and the younger one went and lay with him. He did not know when she lay with him or when she rose.

Thus the two daughters of Lot came to be with child by their father. The older one bore a son and called him Moab(means from my father), he is the father of the Moabites of today. And the younger also bore a son , and she called him Ben Ammi (means son of my paternal kindred), he is the father of the Ammonites today.

Remember this is after Sodom and Gemorrah were demolished.

Now you have the story, please continue....
14:46 February 28, 2012 by BritVik
It is a good job they didn't try to make a play of the Koran. That would have caused a riot.

Make a play about Christianity - one thing.

Do the same for Islam - something totally different.
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