09 Jan Anja Suša in the theatre toy box with “It’s Only the End of the World”
Sveriges Radio P1 / Kulturnytt, published December 5, 2016
French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce died in 1995, only 38 years old, from AIDS. It was only after his death that his plays started to be performed seriously. His play “It’s Only the End of the World” has now had a Swedish premiere at Uppsala City Theatre, directed by Serbian director Anja Suša.
Louis is 34 years old and has a terminal disease. He is visiting his family – his mother and younger sister that still live in their home, together with his brother and his wife. The contact between them is poor, with mixed messages, composed of denying and averting babble.
Pay attention – this sounds like a middle-class play with a naturalistic performing style, among fine pieces of design furniture.
But Anja Suša, who has previously directed artistically headstrong performances at Backa Theatre and Helsingborg City Theatre, does of course something completely different. She takes Lagarce’s already hiccupping, twisted and turned dialogue, in an effective translation by Anders Bodegård, and together with set designer Ulla Kassius and choreographer Damjan Kecojevic, transforms this play into a mechanical toy, a comic strip.
The lamps are swinging, the cake is made of plaster, the gravel is crunching and the Alpes are peeping through the window – and all of this somewhat childishly obvious setting, as if it was drawn by thick pieces of chalk, is despite that not at all superficial nor mechanical.
On the contrary, Suša has constructed a very clear form for the actors to take off from, and the cast is superb: Anna Carlson, Erik Borgeke, Elisabeth Wernesjö, Logi Tulinius and Moa Silén – they all succeed in filling these frames with feeling and will and expression.
And it is exactly like this: a dysfunctional, denying, disappointed, longing, angry and loving family, around a wound and sorrow. Anja Suša surprises us once again with her ability to play with the theater toy box, without tampering with emotions nor presence.