ABOUT THIS BOOK
Echoes: A Dramatic Bagatelle (Genklang. Dramatisk Bagatel) premiered at Folketeatret (the People’s Theater) in Copenhagen on September 15, 1888, and was the third play by the Danish writer and playwright Emma Gad (1852–1921) to be performed at theaters in Copenhagen.
Although it was labeled a “bagatelle,” Echoes, like most of Gad’s other plays, is quite funny. The play brings together three individuals in the out-of-the-way cottage of an old servant. Countess Clara takes refuge with Maren, her former nursemaid, during a sudden downpour and is soon joined by Niels, her former tutor, who claims to be passing by on his way to a church, where he hopes to find important historical documents. During Clara’s conversations with the two, it comes out that she is considering marriage to a count who lives nearby, even though she finds him and his way of life unattractive, and that she and Niels had been in love years before.
Gad’s graceful dialogue manages to touch on questions hotly debated in the last decades of the nineteenth century, such as the ability of individuals to break with the past or with outmoded or repressive conventions, while also making audiences laugh. Despite the play’s lighthearted wittiness, Echoes is an inventive example of turn-of-the-century avant-garde theater.