Theatre, 1966

The Investigation

Bergman staged Peter Weiss' play, based on the trials in Frankfurt between 1963-65 of 18 Auschwitz functionaries, just months after the premiere in West Berlin.

'Of everything I have seen in theatre, nothing has shaken me as much as this performance.'
Bengt Jahnsson, Dagens Nyheter

About the production

As was the case with Tiny Alice, Bergman took over this production from ailing Bengt Ekerot. A live radio broadcast from The Royal Dramatic Theatre was also aired.

The play caused considerable debate when it was produced on several stages in Europe.

Bergman's interest in the play was more existential: he had the stage designer Gunilla Palmstierna-Weiss construct a wooden wall behind the performers that provided no exit.

Peter Weiss recommended that the lights should be left on in the house during the entire performance. Bergman followed the instructions - the lights were only turned off when the trial/performance ended, leaving the audience seated in total darkness. The effect of the contrast between stage and auditorium, though, remained small, while Bergman chose to put extra light on the stage.


  • The Ingmar Bergman Archives.
  • Henrik Sjögren, Ingmar Bergman på teatern, (Stockholm: Almqvist och Wiksell, 1968).
  • Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).
  • Birgitta Steene, Ingmar Bergman: A Reference Guide, (Amsterdam University Press, 2005).