Hamlet in Rosengård

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Some week ago I recieved an invitation on Facebook from Yalla-trappan that they would have a theatre presentation yesterday evening called Hamlet in Rosengård. It would be a reading of a newly written play about a Hamlet progressive, based in part on the classical play from 1603 by William Shakespeare. It would be performed by the actors you see here above: Lia Sandberg, Thomas Hulterkrantz and Karin Bertling. The theatre project is new and meant to be the start of Rosengård Dramatical Theatre where they intend to perform classical dramas and modern variations of them. The three performing actors called the troup and project Hamlet in Rosengård. The original play by Shakespeare is based upon a story from Gesta Danorum, The Danish History by the archbishop clerk Saxo Grammaticus who lived at the end of the 12th century. He wrote a chronicle about Denmark’s history up to his own days, and in books four and five he tells the story of Amlet/Ambludhe, “The Fool”, the son of the high king Harvendil in Leyre on Zeeland. Harvendil is murdered by his envious brother Fenge who then marries Amlet’s mother Gerut and usurpate the throne. To avoid being killed himself Amlet pretends to be mad, but in secret prepares his revenge. Nevertheless Amlet is sent to England on a Viking ship with two of Fenge’s servants who have been given a wooden staff with a letter in runes with orders to the English king to kill Amlet when he arrives. Amlet changes the rune-letter during the voyage and after the arrival the servants are killed instead. Then he’s marrying a Scottish princess and after some battles returns home after a year. He takes his revenge and kills Fenge, burns his followers and becomes Leyre king himself. Many parts of Saxo Grammaticus’ story are the same as in Shakespeare’s play, but he moved the plot to a Danish renaissance court at Elsinore Castle, in Danish called Kronborg, and where “Hamlet” often still is performed.The picture below I made some years ago to an education paper about world literature history, where I wrote the texts and made the drawings in a compendium as extra material for my pupils in the ninth grade.

This newly written short-version of Hamlet progressive was highly modernized, but had lots of the higher, older language, was a bit unclear in its structure, but contained interesting connections to the present day. The three actors all had lots of experience, were highly qualified and interesting cv-stories to present as well. The idea now is to start a Drama Theatre in Rosengård. Yalla-trappan, the Yalla Staircase where we were yesterday, is a social company run by local women where they have a café, restaurant, an art gallery and sell handicraft material to contribute to their living. Social entrepreneurs in other words, which is a great thing. Yalla-trappan started in 2009 and is now thriving. The book Kryddor från Rosengård, Spices from Rosengård, has been another great success, a book and TV-series with recepies, cooking advice and spices from different parts of the world.

For those of you abroad who don’t know it. Rosengård is a suburb in eastern Malmoe, Sweden’s third largest city where I live, and which is very segregated. Rosengård was built in the 1960’s and since the late 1970’s and onwards it has become a suburb where 95-99% of the inhabitants have some form of immigrant background. Here you find people from Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Chile, Morocco, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Poland, Russia, Somalia, Israel you name it. The problem is that many are unemployed and not given honest chances to get into the Swedish society properly. Others have jobs, but are still treated with prejudiced notions. The collision between the stigmatizing media-picture and prejudiced idea among many Swedes and others about Rosengård contributes to an anger and frustration among people in this suburb and sometimes leads to clashes and violent outbursts. In Rosengård you find highly educated people, doctors, politicians, scientists, writers, poets, lawyers, surgeons, political refugees. Here you also find teachers, librarians, social entrepreneurs and people with little or no education. Some are illiterate and hardly know any Swedish. Here also many stereotyped and prejudiced ideas about Sweden, Swedish ways and Swedes flourish, which to some degree are true but very exagerated and generalised, just as the other way round. The clashes of ideas, social issues, ideologies and prejudiced notions in both directions is a society problem, which must be solved, even though it’s no easy matter. Most people here are good people, but here we also find hardened criminals, gangsters and people who create lots of problems for themselves, their families, other people in Rosengård and the Swedish society. The strict division between men and women is also common, and patriarch notions flourish in certain homes. All the same, people need to feel that they are accepted and respected, people need real jobs and chances to develop to avoid further problems and violent outbursts. Existential questions become vital here, or as Hamlet asks himself in his famous monologue: “To be or not to be? That is the question”. Therefore a social society like Yalla-trappan is such a good example of positive work. I hope they will continue being a positive force.

Anders Moberg, January the 26th 2013


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