On the heels of Simon Stone’s previous work, I was admittedly dreading his adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie, with its reputation as a “hallmark of the misogynist theatrical canon,” as director Leticia Cáceres puts it. In Cáceres’ hands however, this production of Miss Julie transcends its superficial labels and becomes a harrowing piece of theatre, one that problematises its subject matter and tries to unpick it, works to present a solution to it.
One of theatre’s ‘great’ feuding couples, Miss Julie is the story of Julie, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a prominent politician, and Jean, the man hired by her father to look after her. In the mode of writers like Chekhov or Shakespeare, Miss Julie is all at once about class and transcending the limitations of your class, while also not being about class at all but rather about lust and desire. It’s a toxic play, intense and unrelenting, but in Stone’s version – freely adapted from Strindberg’s 1888 play – there is something else, too. There’s almost a humanness that ripples through its two-hours running time, and in light of his previous work in
over the last several years, it is something of a welcome relief, perhaps a
maturation of his style. Of course, it could also be the hand of Leticia
Cáceres, the production’s director, which has helped to balance out Stone’s
trademark style into something more probing and pertinent than what it could’ve
been if he’d been directing it himself. Sydney