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Edinburgh Fringe 2009

The Stronger

Laura Pradelska

Venue: The Space On The Mile @ Jury’s Inn (V260)


Low Down

Strinberg’s The Stronger isn’t a one-woman play. While it’s true that only one character speaks, the script is decidedly not a monologue: when the second woman remains silent, we’re left to decide who, indeed, is ‘the stronger’: she who is constantly speaking, or the one who’s mute – can she simply not think of any response, or is she confident enough to choose to remain silent?


In this production, some of that interpretation is done for us when The Stronger is presented as a one woman play, particularly as it’s a one woman play where there’s still a second character – except that that other character is mimed. When you only have one body on stage, it colours the entire piece. Mlle X’s dialogue is filled with nervous pauses, but we could afford to have them significantly longer (there’s no-one on stage to interrupt, after all). When she tells Mlle Y that it ‘really hurts’ to see the other woman alone, we cannot help but be aware that she – Mlle X – is herself alone.

When we first see her, her body is coiled in tension, ready to break free. Her eyes flutter across the space, always fearful that she’s being watched, a memory play of paranoia: when she gloats over Mlle Y, does that make her indeed weaker? She smirks, and says ‘you’ve lost him – your loss is my gain’ – and again, we see the empty chair to which she speaks, making us question how much of what we see is reality, and if, perhaps Mlle Y isn’t mimed at all, but actually absent – and therefore, of course, the stronger.
Laura Pradelska’s performance is a nuance of emotions, combating each other for supremacy, leaving us entirely uncertain by the end if she should be an object for our sympathy. An elegant oddity.