Smokefall blir Skymningsrök på Studion

Noah Haidle

Playwright & Screenwriter

Intervju med Noah Haidle

Noah Haidles succépjäs Smokefall som blir Skymningsrök Göteborgs Stadsteater är ett slugt släktdrama med en komisk twist om 100-åriga familjeband, kärlek och det vi för vidare till nästa generation. Läs vår intervju med den amerikanske dramatikern.

Why the name Smokefall?

It’s a word T.S. Eliot made up in his poem Four Quartets, which is my single favorite piece of writing in English.

Time past and time future

Allow but a little consciousness.

To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden

The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,

The moment in the draughty church at smokefall

Be remembered; involved with past and future.

Only through time time is conquered


I don’t know if ‘Smokefall’ is the world’s greatest title, since a title is the audience’s first cue to as what to expect, and if I read the poster for a play called ‘Smokefall,’ I’d think, “What the fuck does that mean?” ‘War and Peace,’ boom, I get it. Some War. Some Peace. Simple. But ‘Smokefall?’ Huh? On the contrary, however, it might be a pretty good title, because after I said, “What the fuck does that mean,” I might say, “Well, maybe I’ll go find out.”

What is your wish that the audience has in their thoughts after seeing the play?

Jeez. That’s always a tough question. My evasive but also authentic answer is that it takes a lot these days to ask anyone to leave the house to do anything, let alone go see a new play from an American author you’ve most likely never heard of. You’ve got to hire a babysitter, make a dinner reservation, park the car, it’s like asking a big favor of someone you don’t even know. So, more than anything, I hope people in the audience leave thinking it was worth all of their effort.

And you are coming to Sweden and the premiere - what are your expectations?

To meet the ghosts of August Strindberg and Ingmar Bergman. Okay, that’s a lot to expect from a premiere, but, fuck it, I’d rather hope big than safeguard against disappointment.

When I was a kid trying to learn to write plays in a small town in Michigan I went to the library a lot, and I can still remember reading ‘The Father’ for the first time. 17 years old, in some poorly lit Midwestern public library, encountering the vigor and intensity of Strindberg’s vision was like getting a punch in the face.

Also around that age, sitting alone in our basement watching ‘Cries and Whispers’ on our pretty bad VCR was like getting another punch in the face, although this time in beautiful lighting and starring Liv Ullman.

Strindberg was, as I imagine you know, also an accomplished painter and photographer. When I was in college I found of a photographic self-portrait he made, head buried in his hands, forehead flat on the desk, the epitome of a tortured artist. I copied down something he said, “Pray but work, suffer but hope, keeping both the earth and the stars in view,” taped the quote onto the picture frame and it’s still the only one I have in my office.

I just watched a documentary about Bergman, and I was pleased to see that the only portrait he had in his office was also of Strindberg. Good company to keep.

If I get to meet their ghosts at the premiere that would be awesome, probably a little scary, I hope they would shake my hand rather than punch me in the face, but if I don’t get to meet them, my expectations have already been met, I know that it’s a true honor to have my work performed in your country.

Skymningsrök har Sverigepremiär den 23 september i regi av Viktor Tjerneld. Läs mer om pjäsen och fler intervjuer här: www.stadsteatern.goteborg.se/skymningsrok

Biography
Noah Haidle, Playwright & Screenwriter

Noah Haidle's plays have premiered at the Goodman Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, the Huntington Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, as well as many others around the United States and abroad.
He is a graduate of Princeton University and The Juilliard School.

His original screenplay Stand Up Guys, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, opened in February 2013. Smokefall opened at South Coast Repertory in April 2013.

Mr. Haidle is a proud resident of Detroit.