Saraband is adapted and translated from the 2003 Swedish film starring Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann, which was Bergman’s last theatrically released work before his death in 2007. The story revisits the characters Johan and Marianne from Bergman’s 1973 film Scenes From A Marriage, in which Josephson and Ullmann also starred.
In Saraband, Johan and Marianne haven’t seen each other since they divorced 30 years ago. Johan’s son Henrik owes him money that he will never be able to pay back. Henrik’s daughter Karin is a talented cellist – more talented than he ever was – who looks more like her late mother with every passing day. Both funny and moving, Saraband weaves love and conflict, the tragedy of growing old and the need to let go.
The cast of this production at Jermyn Street theatre comprises Jeffrey Kaplow – who also adapted and translated the film along with Ulla Svahnström Kaplow – Eileen Nicholas, Philip Rahm and Augustina Seymour. They are directed by Derek Bond.
Saraband is not the first of Bergman’s films to be adapted for the stage. Scenes From A Marriage was directed by Trevor Nunn in Coventry last year, while the Swedish filmmaker’s 1955 work Smiles Of A Summer Night was the basis for Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Little Night Music, a production of which is currently playing at the Garrick theatre.
Saraband plays at the Jermyn Street theatre until 16 May.