Writings, 1945

A Glimpse into the Future

Together with other artists, Bergman was asked by public radio to envision Stockholm in the year 1980.

… I believe that this new theatre will give rise to a new type of actor, the robotic artist, constructed in government factories.

About the text

Bergman envisions a futuristic Stockholm Stadsteater, with “hyper-elegant auditoriums” and “swimming pools for the audience.”

In 1980, Stockholm’s new Stadsteater for film, television and theatre will open its doors. It will without a doubt be a marvellous theatre, equipped with every type of modern convenience known today: the ability to manoeuvre forward, backward, raise or lower anything on any possible type of stage; hyper-elegant auditoriums, foyers and box seats; even swimming pools for the audience, and colossal, free-hanging stairways and ceilings. 

Not only that, but I believe that this new theatre will give rise to a new type of actor: the robotic artist, constructed in government factories. Not only for theatre, but for opera, operetta, film, vaudeville, circus, music hall and revues. It will of course be completely revolutionary, with sweeping implications for the art of acting. At the heart of these new artists lies a photoelectric cell, which sends impulses to an intricate machinery of synthetic nerves, animated by low-voltage currents. In turn, each of these artists’ photoelectric cells will be connected to a central network, from which the workings of the entire theatre can be controlled by the hands of a single person: the director. For the new Stadsteatern’s opening night, twenty or so of these robotic artists will have been fabricated, which will of course have been rigorously tested under the supervision of a committee consisting of four psychologists, a few engineers, a couple of accomplished theatre men, two film directors, a member of parliament from each house, and a couple of schoolmasters from the city.