A Sweden noir in the social environment and an homage to Anita Hill

By on November 29, 2016

Award-winning Paula Stenström Öhman follows up the success of the play People Respect Me Now with I believe in you, Anita. A family thriller about victims, perpetrators and silenced witnesses in a contemporary Sweden. The play portrays the hunt for the truth about the 14-year-old Kassandras disappearance and three other cases that pass through the social services office. Eva Rexed, Alexander Salzberger, Sandra Huldt, Samuel Fröler and Angelika Prick share the 23 roles and the audience gets to lay the puzzle. First performance December 9 on the small stage.

What happens if no one believes in you? If no one dares question?

The social worker Åsa is an enthusiast who never gives up Not even when Kassandra, 14, refuses to tell and suddenly disappears without a trace In the pursuit of Kassandra Åsa glimpsed the remains of a story that never arrived. Anita also works with the same case, the correct jurist, who for years have been sexually harassed by Klas ,the Head of Unit. Among them, and the colleagues Gun, Rolle and Shosh circulating concerns notifications, threats and attempts to tell things that no one wants to hear. Small wedges in a larger story about the society in which we live.

I believe in you Anita is a dark lyrical drama with documentary basis where the issue of credibility and abuse plays the main role. The basis of the piece is a comprehensive research that Paula Stenström Öhman made: interviews with a number of social workers, managers at treatment, trauma therapists, criminologists and researchers in psychiatry, as well as the observation on several children’s and youth units within social services.
By adding fragments from multiple social issues along with each other, I hope to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of, and greater holistic, patriarchal pecking order and the mechanisms that drive it. I believe, just as Rebecca Solnit, that there isa continuum that goes from minor inconveniences in the society to the silencing and lethal force. Without simplistic models of explanation, I want to give the show a kind of restitution to all those who throughout history have been, and are told that they are not reliable witnesses in their own lives, that truth does not belong to them, says Paula Stenström Öhman.
I was always a big fan of social workers. They have ultimate corporate responsibility for the children when care gaps and make a hugely important work, while it is a very congested and exposed occupational groups. They does not proceed from evidence but from the feeling of anxiety, which is unique and entails an invaluable protection for children in distress. Each social worker may have some 30 complex cases involving difficult questions about children and families ongoing simultaneously. It is a miracle that they have the energy. They should have the same status as, for example, lawyers and police officers have. And it should be done at least as many soc series like cop series. The environment is ideal for Sweden noir, it will not be darker or more dramatic. Social workers must face the consequences of what we want to forget, and captures in the best case everything. Even things that can not be proven, says Paula Stenström Öhman.
The play’s title, I believe in you Anita, is a homage to Anita Hill, a lawyer and law professor in the United States in 1991 testified in the Senate judicial committee on sexual harassment against her former boss Clarence Thomas, before his candidacy to the Supreme Court. After her testimony was Anita contested, attacked, rubbished and dismissed while Clarence was approved. But the case brought a strong countermovement under the slogan “I believe you Anita,” which spread through demonstrations and bumper stickers across the United States.

The play is also inspired by Maiwenns groundbreaking and multi-award winning film “Poliss” (2011) and, not least, Rebecca Solnit‘s book “Men explain things to me” (2014):

“The story of Cassandra, the woman who told the truth but was not believed is not nearly as deeply rooted in our culture as that of the boy who cried wolf – perhaps it should be.” / Rebecca Solnit 2014

Culture City Theatre


By Paula Stenström Öhman

First performance December 9 on the Small Stage

By and director Paula Stenström Öhman

Scenography Sven Haraldsson

Costume Jenny Nordmark


Sound Magnus Ericsson

Mask Maria Reis

Composer Saemundur Grettisson aka New Sampan

Vocals / text / voice Annamelina

Participants on stage: Eva Rexed, Sandra Huldt (received Medea Prize for her role in People respect me now), Alexander Salzberger, Angelika Prick, Samuel Fröler

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