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The Blinding Light

The Blinding Light

By Howard Brenton
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781848427068, 80 pages, September 2017


Abandoning theatre, living a life of squalid splendour, August Strindberg practises alchemy. In his hotel room, he attempts to make gold by finding the philosopher’s stone, the secret of creation. As his grasp on reality weakens, his first two wives visit him to bring him to his senses. But their interventions spin out of control.

For four years in fin-de-siècle Paris, Europe’s most famous playwright vanished. Most people thought he had gone insane. When he reappeared, his new plays changed theatre forever.

Howard Brenton's play The Blinding Light tells the astonishing story of August Strindberg’s ‘Inferno’ period. It premiered at Jermyn Street Theatre, London, in 2017, directed by Tom Littler.


"Brenton charts Strindberg’s psychotic episode with enormous flair in a compelling and at times hilarious play… a great portrait of a true weirdo: a blinder. " —The Arts Desk

A cracking new play… Brenton is alive to both the comic and the painful side of this so-called “inferno period” and has an interpretation of it that the play renders very persuasive. " —Independent

"A rich and cerebral journey of language and jarring shocks… gorgeous language that is both ridiculous and exactly right for the production is a reason alone to go and see this play. The characters, the descriptions (visual and verbal) of insanity and mental instability, and the compelling biography of Strindberg are all others. Certainly more than the sum of these parts, this is an absolute treat. " —The Reviews Hub

"A fascinating glimpse into the nature of artistic creation… the play boasts Brenton’s characteristic intelligence and wit in dealing with substantial themes. " —The Stage

"It is altogether a great treat… well-researched but, as importantly, dazzlingly imagined. " —TheatreCat