Wednesday, October 23, 2002

We sat holding our collective breath in the first balcony in the dark of the Stadsteatern, one of Stockholm's two great public theaters, waiting for the scene toward the end of the second act in A Doll's House where the poor maid gets slapped for no reason, no reason at all.

We'd been prepared by my friend the actress, who plays the maid.

Apparently, during one of the early performances, the actress who plays Nora, a renowned Swedish diva of sorts, had slapped my friend but good and hard. "That really hurt," my friend said to her afterwards. "Why did you do that?"

The diva of sorts went all apologetic. She was having a bad day, or someone was mean to her, or someone had slapped her, or something.

The next day, however, in anticipation of the slap, my friend flinched.

The diva of sorts hasn't done it again, although last night's slap looked pretty damned realistic to me.

We - M., the t.v. producer, A., the former model and aspiring producer, and a gaggle of A.'s friends who had all been schoolgirls together in gymnasium - were so happy when our friend the actress came out for her bows with the huge bouquet of flowers we'd sent to her dressing room, a bouquet far bigger and lovelier than the pathetic red stalk or two of gladiolus that the diva of sorts had.

It is, I have no doubt, the beginning of what will surely be a spectacular career.

My poor darling husband missed it all on account of he was working. And then he was too tired to join us at Café Beirut afterwards, where we stuffed ourselves on an embarrassing amount of little dishes of spicy sausages and eggplant salads and savory pastries and artichokes soaking in garlic and lemon. Then for dessert we smoked strange perfumey tobacco from a tremendous water pipe as we lolled about on silk cushions, stuffed to the tips of our ears down to the ends of our toes.

I guess I didn't last very long this round. I bought a pack of cigarettes at lunch this afternoon.

The Swedish phrase for the day is stor succé. It means great success.

- by Francis S.

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