Based on August Strindberg’s, A Dream Play, audiences are plunged into a flawed world where, like a dream, things don’t quite make sense. SAGA was a surreal experience, but once the tone of the play was established, it didn’t take long to get your head around it. In Stones Theatre’s performance, the daughter of a God is descended onto the world to witness its troubles, set specifically in Sweden. As she meets a variety of characters, it becomes clear that these oddball personalities see life in a melancholy light. The show takes advantage of this and uses satire and black humour to emphasise issues such as rent, social class and media personalities in this absurd comedy.
Whilst Swedish is spoken numerous times throughout the play, you don’t need to speak the language to understand what is happening. SAGA does this incredibly well, and whilst there is often an issue with dreamlike plots where the audience hasn’t a clue what is going on, it only took a few minutes to settle into it before the play balances perfectly between dream and reality. Audiences may receive the show better after understanding that it is loosely based on Strindberg’s play, but regardless, SAGA still sits well as an independent plot which boldly scrutinises issues within society. When the homeless are taken advantage of due to greed and the working class are coaxed into exploitive stardom, this performance uses surreal scenarios to emphasise how absurd it all is – despite the fact there is truth in it all.
Whilst the show makes a dark comedy from current issues, there is a distinct message behind it which makes SAGA both humorous and frightening. It is exaggerated, extremely, but the motive behind these characters is something that sits deep within us. This is a brilliantly satirical piece that clings to a broken system, but unlike God’s daughter, the issues addressed are sadly not a dream we can wake from.