Scenographing Resistance

Remembering Ride This Night


  • Astrid von Rosen University of Gothenburg



Scenography theory, Rachel Hann, Resistance, World War Two, Ride This Night, Vilhelm Moberg, Knut Ström


In 1942 Vilhelm Moberg’s (1898–1973) highly successful historical novel Ride This Night! (1941) was adapted for the theatre and premiered at several Swedish theatres as well as being distributed as a film. While Sweden maintained what was termed a neutral position during World War II, Moberg’s novel, together with its various performances, facilitated a mood of resistance against Nazism. In recognition of this, the focus of my article is the much-celebrated first performance of Ride This Night at the City Theatre (Stadsteatern) in Gothenburg on 14 October 1942. To explore this performance as theatrical memory of World War II, I draw on recent scenography theory emphasizing the holistic role of material and affective relations between bodies, objects and environments. By doing so, the article contributes an historical case study to the international field of critical scenography, and challenges the ways in which previous Swedish art and theatre historiography has theoretically understood and explored the powers of scenographic traits of past performance.

Author Biography

Astrid von Rosen, University of Gothenburg

Astrid von Rosen is an associate professor of Art History and Visual Studies, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and joint coordinator of the Archives Cluster in the UGOT/UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies. In her research, she combines art historical and scenographic analysis with archival theory and participatory approaches to contribute to social change and transformation, methodological development and historiographical revision. Relevant publications include “On the Wire: Scenographing Affect at Sillgateteatern in Gothenburg around 1800”, in Genres in Context: Dance, Theatre and Opera around 1800, Routledge (2020), and “Dream-Playing the Archive”, in August Strindberg and Visual Culture, Bloomsbury (2018).


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How to Cite

von Rosen, A. (2020). Scenographing Resistance: Remembering Ride This Night. Nordic Theatre Studies, 31(2), 73–88.



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