The flytrap

A book by Fredrik Sjoberg that I gave to my dad for Christmas and that I secretly wanted to keep for myself. Describing Sjoberg’s time living on a remote Swedish island, get this for an opening:

I know nothing about lambs, but old it was not. A few weeks, maybe. Playing the part of a living metaphor on stage must have been an ordeal since the play – Sam Shepard’s American drama Curse of the Starving Class – was violent in places, and noisy, and hard to digest, even for full-grown human beings…

The thing was that in one particular scene, Wesley, the son in the family, played by Peter Stormore, was to show his contempt for his younger sister’s vapid life by pissing on some charts she had made at a scout meeting.

So the workshop was instructed to construct a gadget with which to simulate this act, and shortly before opening night it appeared – a device, ingenious in its simplicity, consisting of a tube and a rubber bladder. The trouble was merely that the director, at this delicate juncture in the play, placed Stormare far downstage, facing the audience. This created a serious credibility problem. And when it then became clear that the gadget leaked so badly that Wesley appeared to suffer from incontinence, there occurred what I had already begun to fear.

‘Oh, what the hell,’ Stormare said. ‘I’ll just pee.’ And so he did.

My artistic sense was still rather undeveloped but I was nevertheless deeply impressed by this unusual ability, night after night, month after month, to realise the playright’s vision and the director’s weakness for unusual effects by very calmly urinating on stage just a few feet from the noses of the very cultivated ladies in the first row. What a gift! Naturally it was only a matter of time before he wound up in Hollywood, where he won undying fame as the silent, psychopathic kidnapper in Fargo.

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