World premiere in Norwich for play about Edvard Munch and The Scream
- Credit: Archant
Edvard Munch is most famous for painting The Scream but he also led a fascinating life at the cutting edge of contemporary art and political thinking. It forms the basis of a new play getting its world premiere in Norwich.
The Scream is one of the most recognised paintings in the world. Its iconic image of a man screaming in existential agony hangs on walls worldwide. It is also the most parodied image of all time used in everything from advertising to political cartoons.
It was created by Edvard Munch (1863–1944) who lived explosively, scandalising society in Bohemian groups across Europe.
Now the story of the painting and the artist who created it is being told in a new one-act play Bohemians, from local playwright John Mangan, which gets its world premiere at a special series of afternoon performances at Norwich's Maddermarket Theatre's Emmerson Studio next week.
Mangan has won acclaim for his recent plays for Norfolk-based Broad Horizons Theatre Company including Edith Cavell Facing The Silence and The Little Bit The Boys Admire, about the London music hall performer Marie Lloyd.
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He said: 'His most famous painting did not come from a sudden revelation to Munch. It came from a life led at the cutting edge of contemporary art and political thinking in Bohemian groups in which he and they shocked and outraged Victorian society.'
The play details how in 1881 Munch comes under the influence of Hans Jaeger, charismatic leader of the Norwegian Bohemian set.
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Then in 1892, he is at the centre of another Bohemian group in decadent Berlin. In 1893, he paints The Scream and the world is never the same again.
'In Oslo, when very young and unsure of his place, he is a follower, almost an outsider,' adds Mangan. 'In the other, in Berlin, he is a leader and finds himself considered an equal with famous artists, critics and writers like Strindberg.
'How does a man connect with love and life and friendship when he is haunted by femme fatales, the hopelessness of love, anxiety, infidelity, jealousy, sexual humiliation, and an obsession with death?'
The cast includes David Vayne as Munch, Greg Lindsay-Smith as Hans Jaeger, Sara Gonzalez as Dagny Juel, while John Mangan himself plays Christian Krohg.
• Bohemians is at Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, from July 10-14, 2.30pm, £8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk