BWW Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF HUMANS (MÄNNISKANS HEMLIGHET) at Playhouse Teater
Opening night of The Secret Lifes of Humans/Människans hemlighet
The play The Secret Of Humans (Människans hemlighet) by David Byrne is inspired by Yuval Hari's "Sapiens: a short history of humanity" and the well-known mathematician and scientist's Jacob Bronowski life and work. Jacob Bronwski's theses about humanity's progress and development became popular and he participated as a scientist in radio and television programs and was interviewed by, among others, Parkinsson in the early 70's.
The play starts in present time as Ava (Amanda Jansson), a young graduate student holds a lecture on humanity and she has a critical attitude to Jacob Bronowsky's (Tobias Aspelin) view. She has just been dismissed from her research service and is fighting for her career's survival. In the evening she goes on a tinderdate with Jamie (Charlie Gustafsson) and it turns out that he is the grandson of just Jacob Bronowsky, Jamie has never met Jacob but is proud of his works and works. The evening ends at home at Jamie who is currently living in his childhood home, which is the Bronowsky family house. Jacob had a famous locked and secured room where he kept his research. An opportunity to good too miss out on for a graduate student who needs to restart her career. Jamie who would like to impress Ava is not late to open up the room and together they go through the documents not knowing what to find. It turns out that Jakob during the Second World War had a secret assignment with fellow scientist George (Slaven Spanovic) . Their mission was to find out how to release bombs most effectively during world war II for example over Dresden. How do you handle this new information about a person who was seen as a great scientist with a large humanitarian focus? Can one use it in her research and betray a person? How do we act in different situations and what do we really want to know about people we have a certain picture of? The play moves between present and past times. We get a glimpse of how Jacob and George researched, Jacob's interview with Parkinsson and how Jacob's wife Rita Coblentz (Marie Robertsson) chose to act around the locked room and different situations in the known scientist's life. Rita survives her husband for 40 years but chose not to find out what was in the locked room because she did not want to be disappointed that he either did nothing special in the room or did something she could not stand behind. For Jacob, Rita is the best person he ever knew.
The plot back and forth in time becomes a bit hard to follow at times. But scenographically it was solved well with bookshelves that are spun around to create different rooms and places. In the ceiling large mirror was attached in order to creates extra view and special effect.
The play itself is a bit deeper than others I seen at the Playhouse Teater and not as easy to take in. It raises some thoughts about humanity and our time on the planet.
As usual, Playhouse casts in an amazingly good way and to this play some really well-established actors were casted, mixed with a couple of actors who are not that well know to the theatre goers. All actors are very good at their role performances and lift their characters. Charlie Gustafsson, well known from "Vår tid är nu" (Our time is now) was doing hist debut on stage. He was very charming as Jamie and shows that he can deliver as well on stage as on television. Amanda Jansson will be in season three of "Our time is now" so two top actors for this highly appreciated TV show. It can be mentioned that Adam Lundgren plays Hamlet at the Dramaten right now, so it should be an actor from "Our time is now". Amanda is sharp as a research student and could easily hold a lecture without losing the interest from the sudents. Tobias Aspelin is recognized from, for example, "Fröken Firman's Krig". Marie Robertsson has, among other things, played in "Real people" and with Tobias in "Morden in Sandhamn". Slaven Španovi? came to Sweden in 2016 and is an established actor in Croatia / Serbia and has now started his career in Sweden.
The play is 90 minutes long and is scheduled till the 27th of April.
Playhouse is in addition to being a very good theater with comfortable chairs also a
nice gathering point before and after the play. You will find both a nice restaurant and a bar. An entire evening if you like!
Photo @Viktor Kjellberg, Pressphoto