Marriage falls apart before your very eyes on Shanghai stage

"Some people fight to retain (love) ... but you cannot stop others falling in love with someone else," said French actor Raphael Personnaz. "It is helpless."
Ti Gong

Ingmar Bergman’s “Scenes from a Marriage” is being staged at Shanghai Oriental Art Center till Thursday, but this time with a cast of just two, displaying intimacy and then the slow disintegration of a marriage.

The original 168-minute movie was adapted into a 90-minute drama, which helps the audience focus better, according to French actor Raphael Personnaz, who plays Johan.

Numerous dialogues between the couple help tell the story of the lovers, right from the first attraction until they grow weary of each other, feel disgusted and ultimately betrayed. The lies, compromise, isolation and despair behind the betrayal are revealed.

The story was written by Bergman after he broke up with Liv Ullmann in 1973, despite their marriage bond that lasted years. It is often viewed as a reflection of Bergman's own married life, which failed four times.

“What is a successful marriage? It takes more than years to define,” said French actress Laetitia Casta, who plays Marianne. “Marriage is complicated, just as humans are complicated. Getting a successful marriage is not as easy as getting a passport, but it is much more beautiful.”

It is quite common in France that couples leave each other as their love fades, according to Personnaz, though that might not be the case in China.

“Some people fight to retain (love), just like Marian in the story, but you cannot stop others falling in love with someone else,” said Personnaz. “It is helpless.”

Performance details

Date: June 20-21, 7:15pm
Tickets: 80-880
Tel: 6854-1234
Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center
Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong New Area

Ti Gong
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