October 26, 2017

Theatre: The Bloodbath of Stockholm!

Now and again I get asked by visitors about going to see some theatre or a show... and they are usually disappointed to learn that the vast majority of theatre and shows in Stockholm, with the exception of opera, are in Swedish. Thankfully, we do have a theatre company (SEST- the Stockholm English Speaking Theatre) that does theatre in English from time to time. I have written about them earlier when they did a production of Macbeth.
Photo courtesy of SEST
Now they are back with an original piece written by one of their members (Keith Foster, who also stars in it). What makes it even more interesting is that the subject of the play is one of the darkest and most fascinating moments in Swedish history... the Stockholm Bloodbath. An event that took place just around corner from the play's venue at Musik Valvet Baggen. The background story: in 1520 the tyranical and treacherous Danish king, Christian II, deceived the Swedish nobility and Stockholm population. In an attempt to quell any future Swedish resistence to Danish rule, Christian rounded up and beheaded/hanged 82 noblemen, bishops and citizens in the square Stortorget (spoiler alert: his plan to quell resistence backfired and Sweden was permanently split from Denmark shortly after). It is said that the streets ran with blood. Superstitious people today say that during heavy rain, the water running down the streets will take on a red hue.
Is that blood?
Now, nearly 500 years later, SEST is putting on a play based on these events. The play focuses on three of the major players of this gruesome event: King Christian II, Kristina Gyllenstierna and Archbishop Gustav Trolle. The play's venue is in a medieval cellar vault, which will lend an appropriate historic atmosphere to the proceedings. The play will be performed on 6 dates mid November through early December. Tickets can be purchased online. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for more information or help booking tickets.

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