One of Strindberg's most famous works, the play deals with a brilliant but erratic military officer and scientist who clashes with his wife on the question of whether their daughter should be sent away for her schooling or kept at home. A renowned misogynist, Strindberg used the play to dramatize what he considered to be the weaknesses and failings of women, and the diabolical way in which they sought to poison the hearts and minds of the men who had the misfortune to love them. But while Strindberg's view of the female sex may have been somewhat lopsided, in the present adaptation the mother—her thoughts, and feelings, and aspirations—is given equal attention. While the laws of the time gave a father unreasonable control over his children, and the mother was forced to use her wiles to fight against this, the present version makes it clear that this was not always done with the sinister reasons that Strindberg ascribed in mind. Here the father and the mother are given equal voice—making, at last, for a fair fight, and conveying a heightened theatricality, which brings added power to one of the modern theatre's truly great plays.
Commissioned by the Philadelphia Drama Guild, where it was produced with great success, this dramatically vivid new adaptation of Strindberg's classic play has been created not to "modernize" the original but, rather, to redress the balance in the age-old struggle between the sexes with the sensibilities of modern women in mind.