Through A Glass Darkly

Elegant but rather dull according to the critics.

Karin (Beth Cooke) Through a Glass Darkly | Photo: Fiona Morgan
Through A Glass Darkly

Elegant but rather dull according to the critics.

The Corn Exchange
In the Corn Exchange Theatre Company’s production, the film’s lingering closeups are exchanged for a bare stage and a dappled grey backdrop, creating a sense of open space and endless sky. It could be Sweden – or Ireland; this is less a specific place or time than a state of mind.
- The Irish Times

About the production

Impressed by the set design and individual performances, the critics still found the production unengaging and rather hollow. 

The Guardian: 

Bergman’s film emphasised Karin’s religious quest, culminating in her extraordinary vision of God. Here, she seems to be the victim of dysfunctional family dynamics, which don’t have the same metaphysical weight. While the stage imagery, performances and atmosphere of this production are beautifully realised, the writing does not match the sense of significance they evoke.

The Irish Times: 

Against a glacial progression, the expanse of the stage can feel like a permanent long shot. The more arresting moments come with Karin’s explorations, most striking against the otherworldly glow of Sinéad Wallace’s lights as Cooke approaches the border between realities, slipping between them. This may be Karin’s abyss, but just as the sliding frames of Bacon’s set offer shifting perspectives, Ryan allows us more than one view. Is this her final disintegration, or her emancipation?

The Irish Examiner:

This stage adaptation, written by Jenny Worton and produced by Corn Exchange, remains far too faithful to the tone of the original, resulting in a piece that, while bracing, feels weirdly dated and far too cerebral.  /..../

Sarah Bacon’s abstract set design is provocative. Its muted greys and whites suggest the hazy bliss of idyllic retreat and yet also the searing ‘grey matter’ of Karin’s interior decline.

Nevertheless, the set may be one reason why the production struggles to make Karin’s collapse as engaging as it could be. A set with a more rugged ‘realist’ quality would perhaps better emphasise the world from which Karin is alienated.


  • "Through a Glass Darkly review – graceful vision lacks metaphysical heft", Helen Meany, The Guardian, Nov. 20 2015.
  • "Through a Glass Darkly review: Bergman’s tale in an unspecific Ireland", Peter Crawley, The Irish Times, Nov. 17 2015.
  • "Theatre Review: Through a Glass Darkly at Project Arts Centre, Dublin", Padraic Killeen, The Irish Examiner, Nov. 25 2015.



  • Ingmar Bergman, Script
  • Jenny Worton, Adaptation
  • Annie Ryan, Director
  • Sarah Bacon, Set and Costume Design
  • Denis Clohessy, Sound Design and Music
  • Sinéad Wallace, Lighting Design
  • Beth Cooke, Karin
  • Colin Campbell, Minus
  • Peter Gowen, David
  • Peter Gaynor, Martin