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Spöksonaten is a Swedish play in three acts by Swedish playwright August Strindberg.

Most generally known in English as The Ghost Sonata, though sometimes also referred to as The Spook Sonata .

The original text

Written in 1907, it was first produced at Strindberg's Intimate Theatre in Stockholm on 21 January 1908. Since then, it has been staged by such notable directors as Max Reinhardt, Olof Molander, Roger Blin, and Ingmar Bergman. Bergman directed it four times: in 1941, 1954, 1973, and 2000.

Strindberg took the title from Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, which he had called `The Gespenster Sonata', and also Piano Trio No. 4 in D major, known as the `Ghost Trio'. The play centres on a family of strangers who meet for the sake of meeting. They exchange no dialogue, nor gestures, they simply sit and bask in their own misfortune.

Translations and adaptations

A translation into English by Walter Johnson is included in A Dream Play and four chamber plays by August Strindberg, published by Norton, 1975.

Performance history in South Africa

1957: Presented by the Little Theatre Players in March, directed by Gretel Mills.

1989: Presented at the Arena Theatre, Cape Town under the direction of Geoffrey Hyland, opening on 16 August 1989. The cast were Raymond Suttle, Andrew Matthews, Corien Pelt, Caroline Braham, Alan Glogauer, Jana van Niekerk, Linda Mpondo, Judith Kronenberg and others. Costumes by Henry Excoffier.

1991: Directed by Reza de Wet for the Rhodes University Drama Department at the National Arts Festival Fringe, 1991, the cast including Nadia Salerno, Craig Urbani, Etienne Kallos, Neil Borland, Julia Boltt, William Carnegie. According to Roline Norval in an interview article in the Beeld, De Wet apparently claimed (obviously wrongly) that this was the first time the play had been produced in South Africa.



World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll, 1949.

Donald Inskip. 1972. Forty Little Years: The Story of a Theatre. Cape Town: Howard Timmins.

The Ghost Sonata theatre programme, Arena Theatre, 1989.

National Arts Festival programme, 1991. 165.

Roline Norval. 1991. 'Drama 'n feesviering van pure droom en spel', Beeld Kalender, 20 May: p. 1.

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