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Scenographing Resistance: Remembering Ride This Night

Journal article
Authors Astrid von Rosen
Published in Nordic Theatre Studies
Volume 31
Issue 2
Pages 73-88
ISSN 2002-3898
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Cultural Sciences
Pages 73-88
Language en
Keywords scenography theory, Rachel Hann, resistance, World War Two, Ride This Night, Vilhelm
Subject categories Performing Arts, Art History


In 1942 Vilhelm Moberg’s (1898–1973) highly successful historical novel Ride This Night! (1941) was adapted for the theatre and premiered at several Swedish theatres as well as being distributed as a film. While Sweden maintained what was termed a neutral position during World War II, Moberg’s novel, together with its various performances, helped promote a mood of resistance against Nazism. In recognition of this, the focus of my article is the much-celebrated first performance of Ride This Night at the City Theatre (Stadsteatern) in Gothenburg on 14 October 1942. To explore this performance as theatrical memory of World War II, I draw on recent scenography theory emphasizing the holistic role of material and affective relations between bodies, objects and environments. By doing so, the article contributes an historical case study to the international field of critical scenography, and challenges the ways in which previous Swedish art and theatre historiography has theoretically understood and explored the powers of scenographic traits of past performance.

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