Theatre, 1952


Bergman cut almost one-fourth of Strindberg's Passion play about guilt, redemption and salvation for his radio production and limited sound effects to the ringing of church bells and the use of Haydn's music.

About the production

Bergman's production of Easter was a radical departure from earlier radio versions of the play. Although Easter is not unduly long even for radio, more than one-fourth of the text was cut. Deviations from what Bergman considered the main plot were mercilessly omitted. Seeing Elis as the central character, Bergman excluded many of Eleonora's speeches, especially her ocultist lines. He also reduced the schoolboy Benjamin's part. 

When his version was first broadcast in 1952, several critics were opposed to the reduction of Eleonora's part, seeing her as the central figure. But Bergman felt that although she may so ideologically and thematically, dramaturgically she is not. Being a Christ figure, she is not, like Elis, a divided character who undergoes an inner change. This may be true, but Elis is a problematic protagonist for another reason: his rather vague conversion takes place exceedingly late in the play. More personal reasons - his own affinity with the male figure - no doubt contributed to Bergman's decision to make Elis the focal character. 



  • The Ingmar Bergman Archives.
  • Egil Törnqvist, Between Stage and Screen: Ingmar Bergman Directs, (Amsterdam: Amsterdam Univ. Press, 1995).