The 10 Selected Productions


By Ingmar Bergman
Translation Renate Bleibtreu

Deutsches Theater, Berlin / Malmö Stadsteater

Premiere Malmö 15 September 2018
Premiere Berlin 30 November 2018

Theatertreffen-newcomer Anna Bergmann adapts Ingmar Bergman’s experimental film for the stage and sceptically questions the construction of female identity.

Persona. Video trailer

© Deutsches Theater, Berlin

  • 1 h 30 min / long version 2 h 30 min, without interval
  • In German with English surtitles

Past Dates

The Burning Issues team in conversation with Anna Bergmann on on 18 May, following the performance
Public discussion on 19 May, following the performance

Depending on where the performances of “Persona” are presented, the actors take turns playing the lead role: In Berlin, Karin Lithman plays the mute Elisabet Vogler and Corinna Harfouch plays her voluble nurse Alma; in Malmö, it is the other way around. A long version of the performance has been developed especially for the Theatertreffen; here, both actors will be featured consecutively in both roles.

The experienced nurse Alma takes care of Elisabet, a celebrated actor who has fallen silent. In a house by the sea, the two unequal women spend a carefree summer – until the situation between them shifts. Director Anna Bergmann has adapted Ingmar Bergman’s experimental film for the stage and, supported by two strong actors, interweaves questions about the construction of a person’s identity into an intense study on power, trust, role images and the desire to slip into a different life.

Jury Statement

Anna Bergmann re-narrates Ingmar Bergman’s avant-garde experimental film – and turns it into a psychological in-depth exploration of female identity. The relationship between the actor Elisabet, who has fallen silent, and her lively nurse Alma becomes an intimate psycho-duel between the great actors Corinna Harfouch and Karin Lithman, a duel that takes more than a few unexpected new turns and cuts across many a taboo and cliché. The show explores how women are tortured by the images they are expected to conform to, how they compare and measure and burn themselves out – finally replacing each other. Where is the line between one’s own identity and assigned (female) roles? The show’s content finds an intelligent equivalent in its form: Depending on which country the play is performed in, the actors switch roles, thus finding a way to include the age-old theatre conflict of jealousy in the story.


Directed by Anna Bergmann
Stage Design Jo Schramm
Costume Design Lane Schäfer
Music Hannes Gwisdek
Lighting Design Sven Erik Andersson
Video Sebastian Pircher
Dramaturgy Sonja Anders, Felicia Ohly

Mrs Elisabet Vogler Karin Lithman
Sister Alma Corinna Harfouch
Doctor Franziska Machens
Mr Vogler Andreas Grötzinger