Stockholm syndrome usually brings to mind hostage situations, such as the Swedish bank heist in the 70s or the horrific tale of Australian woman Natascha Kampusch. But what if Stockholm syndrome was played out at home, between people that love each other? What happens when romantic phrases like “you are my world” or “I need you” become literal?
These are the questions explored in the visceral play Stockholm by award-winning UK playwright Bryony Lavery. The playwright has united with new independent theatre company, ET TU THEATRE to bring this gripping production to the MC Showroom in Prahran this month. The captivating blend of truthful theatre and surreal physicalisation is what drew the founders of Et Tu, Amy Bradney-George and Seton Pollock, to this play.
“I was speechless when I first read it,” Amy said. “I started out thinking it was a sweet, quirky story and ended up shaken to my core. This play was created in 2007, well before the Me Too movement and all the conversations we’re now having about gender, sexuality and identity. So, after more than a decade of change, how does this story play out now?”
Seton said the play also brings up a lot of questions about taking things at face value. “We’re living in a time when so much of what we see is curated, because we can choose what we put online or share with people when we’re out. So how often do we really know what’s going on for someone else? And how would we feel about the truth?”
Fuelled by this discussion, the duo has assembled an exciting team of creatives for their production of Stockholm. Established UK and Australian director Carl Whiteside has added his vision to the show, with choreography and movement direction from dancer, actor and theatre-maker Shamita Sivabalan.
The creative team also includes fight choreographer Joshua Bell and features sound design by Australian composer and music producer Craig Bryant.
“We’re so excited to be working with such an amazing team,” Seton said. “One of our goals with Et Tu Theatre Company is to bring together different creatives and share that with people around Melbourne. There is so much talent here, and we’ve only scratched the surface.”