Minot State to present Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie’

Minot State University Theatre Arts program presents a special adaptation of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” April 8 through 12 in the MSU Black Box Theater at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

The play, set in the late 1880s, is directed by Aili Smith, MSU assistant professor of humanities, is a tale of manipulation and betrayal between the classes and the sexes. Like the old adage, “while the cat is away, the mice will play,” Miss Julie (played by Christine Morse), the wild and capricious daughter of a Swedish count who is away visiting relatives, falls prey to her own uncensored impulses. She sets upon the seduction of her father’s valet, Jean (Daniel Johnson), while Jean’s fiance, the count’s cook, Christine (Corie Burck), is asleep. Things go too far to Miss Julie’s chagrin in this dramatic tragedy set upon a Swedish Midsummer’s Eve.

At the time it was written, the themes of “Miss Julie” were considered so controversial, that the play was censored or banned throughout Europe. Written in 1888, “Miss Julie” is an example of Naturalistic Theatre. The intent of the Naturalism movement is to give the audience the sense or illusion of reality unfolding on the stage. Strindberg is considered to have played an important role in the emergence and development of Naturalism in theater in Europe and his preface to “Miss Julie” is regarded by many as an important manifesto of the author’s relationship and views on theater, realism and naturalism.

“In Strindberg’s preface, he says he is providing us with a new dramatic form,” Smith said. “But at the same time, he states, ‘In the following drama, I have not tried to do anything new- for that cannot be done- but I have tried to modernize the form in accordance with the demands which I thought the new men of a new time might be likely to make on this art’ As director, my goal is to truly provide a naturalistic and realistic production, while maintaining a contemporary feel through the dialogue.”

For tickets, contact the MSU theater box office at 858-3172. Admission is $6 for adults, and $5 for seniors and students under 18. MSU students, faculty and staff are free with current MSU ID. This production contains language and themes that may not be suitable for all ages. Mature audiences are advised. Due to limited seating, reservations are strongly encouraged.

For questions, contact Smith at 858-3865 or aili.smith@minotstateu.edu.