People: April 2009

'A Swedish Tiger' is a powerful story of Swedish collaboration with the Nazis

Posted by Susanna at 6:51 AM, Apr 25, 2009 (Comments)

Category: People

Daniel C. Edwards and Goran GillingerActors Daniel C. Edwards and Goran Gillinger

"A SWEDISH TIGER," a play that exposes the deep dark side of the Swedish "neutrality" and accommodation with the Nazis in World War II, opened Wednesday night for a five weekend run at the award-winning Synetic Theater at 4041 Campbell Ave. in the Shirlington area of Arlington, Va.

GORAN GILLINGER, a born and raised Swede who plays the lead role, and directs and co-wrote "A Swedish Tiger," drags out of the Swedish closet his country's and his own family's dramatic angst-ridden story of how "Sweden didn't actually participate in World War II, but it did allow Germans to use our railways for transporting and building prison camps."

WITH DRAMATIC acrobatics and staccato dialogue, Mr. Gillinger's superb performance makes his point, alternately entertaining and shocking his audience, exorcising the sordid historical baggage of his country and his family. Daniel C. Edwards joins Mr. Gillinger on stage, playing the role of a fun-loving, not-so-bright "tiger,"and serving as a foil for Mr. Gillinger's anxious dramatics.

DURING THE WAR, the Swedish government designed a logo portraying a tiger in the colors of the Swedish flag and instituted the motto "A Swede is always quiet." The word "tiger" in Swedish not only means the wild animal, but it also means "to be quiet." The message was that Swedes were to keep quiet about their government's cooperation with the Nazis. Hence, the name of the play, "A Swedish Tiger."

MR. GILLINGER explains further, "During World War II, Germany was allowed (or more demanded) to use Sweden's railroads to transport prisoners and equipment to Norway, which Germany occupied. We also built prison camps in the north of Sweden to imprison Norwegian refugees and made substantial changes in the Swedish Constitution in order to help German forces. Not many know this... one might say 'The Swedish Tiger' campaign succeeded. The Ghost of history never leaves us...."

AS HE DRAMATIZES in his performance, the additional background for the play's story is that after his grandfather died, Mr. Gillinger discovered that his grandfather was not only a Nazi sympathizer, but an honored collaborator.

GORAN GILLINGER was classically trained at the Royal Academy of Acting in Stockholm and at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatres in Los Angeles. He has played lead roles in drama and comedy productions on Swedish National Television, Sweden's TV4 and in several major motion pictures. He has played on Sweden's largest stages in productions of Molière, Shakespeare, Sam Shepard and many more. In 2008, Mr. Gillinger was part of the ensemble cast of Hamlet at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C.

"A SWEDISH TIGER" first played at the National Theater of Stockholm in 2005 to rave reviews. Sweden's largest daily paper Svenska Dagbladet described it as "a complex self-examination worthy of exporting to other countries." In 2007, Goran played five sold out performances of "A Swedish Tiger" at Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Fringe Festival and many were left wanting more!

"A SWEDISH TIGER" plays Thursdays through Sundays at 8 p.m. at the Synetic Theater, 4041 Campbell Street in the Shirlington District of Arlington, Va. Tickets are $20 for everyone except students and people under 25 years of age who pay $10. To reserve tickets, call (703) 824-8061.

Meghan Grady and Goran GillingerActors Meghan Grady and Goran Gillinger

  Martin Johansson, Solveig Mårtensson, Niklas Bengtsson and Johan EllborgMartin Johansson, Solveig Mårtensson, Niklas Bengtsson and Johan Ellborg

Gunnel Gyllenhoff and Marianne GustafsonGunnel Gyllenhoff and Marianne Gustafson

Daniel C. Edwards and Goran GillingerActors Daniel C. Edwards and Goran Gillinger

Meghan Grady and Goran GillingerActors Meghan Grady and Goran Gillinger

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Swedish Bishop Lennart Koskinen visits Washington

Posted by Susanna at 7:50 AM, Apr 21, 2009 (Comments)

Category: People

Swedish Bishop Lennart Koskinen, singer Meri Siirala and organist Steven BroddSwedish Bishop Lennart Koskinen, singer Meri Siirala and organist Steven Brodd

THE SWEDISH bishop of Visby and of Church of Sweden Abroad (Skut) Lennart Koskinen visited Washington, D.C., recently, and delivered the sermon during the church's service on Sunday afternoon, April 19, at Augustana Lutheran Church - the church where Swedish Lutherans meet to worship in the American capital. Joining him in celebrating the mass was The Rev. Ib Pihlblad, who is the pastor at the Swedish Church in New York and who once a month celebrates Swedish mass at Augustana. Finnish singer Meri Siirala sang beautifully as part of the service.

FOR MORE THAN 20 years, Bishop Koskinen has worked as a priest, theologian and ethical advisor for Swedish company boards and business management teams. During his 10 years as director for the Church of Sweden Work Environment Institute, he took part in seminars and workshops focusing on social, work environmental and ethical issues. He has a doctoral degree in ethics and philosophy, but he also holds a degree in economics. The author of 16 books, he is an appreciated lecturer on issues serving and promoting sustainable and ethical business.

Swedish Bishop Lennart KoskinenSwedish Bishop Lennart Koskinen

Singer Meri Siirala and organist Steven BroddSinger Meri Siirala and organist Steven Brodd

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A Swedish Easter Tradition for Children to Dress as Witches

Posted by Susanna at 12:36 PM, Apr 15, 2009 (Comments)

Category: People

Swedish Easter traditionONE VERY popular Swedish tradition for Easter is to decorate willow branches with colored feathers. But perhaps just as popular is the tradition for young children, especially girls, to dress up like witches, with long colorful dresses and skirts in different colors and patterns, wearing kerchiefs as headgear, their faces colorfully painted, and the girls, like witches, holding a kettle.

THESE pictures are from the town of Alingsås on the Swedish West coast. Photos by Maria Polo de la Piedra

Minja, Tindra and MaximilianMinja, Tindra and Maximilian

IsabelleIsabelle

Easter Swedish Easter tradition Swedish Easter tradition Swedish Easter tradition Joel and MarianaJoel and Mariana

Willow branches decorated with colored feathersWillow branches decorated with colored feathers

Rasmus, Lukas and MikaelaRasmus, Lukas and Mikaela

ElinElin

VildaVilda

August and MatildaAugust and Matilda

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Places that attract the Capital ʻin crowdʼ

Posted by Susanna at 3:24 PM, Apr 13, 2009 (Comments)

Category: People

Café Milano Café MilanoCafé Milano at nighttime

Café Milano
IT IS MORE THAN 16 years ago that the Italian restaurant Café Milano opened in Georgetown in Washington, D.C. -- actually it was about the time Bill Clinton was elected president. Instantly the glitzy restaurant became the place in the American capital for the "in crowd," attracting a mix of political and Hollywood celebrities, along with a lot of regular people who just wanted to hang out and enjoy the Euro-style atmosphere and great food.

THE PLACE has become famous for putting a little style in an often dull and gray capital city. And it has always been a fun place to go.

TODAY Café Milano is a popular as ever before, still attracting the celebrities as well as people from all walks of life. Now that the temperature is getting warmer, guests can stay outside on the restaurant's sidewalk terrace. The food is as delicious as ever and the music is great!

The L2 Lounge
THE FAIRLY new club L2 Lounge located just off Cady's Alley in Georgetown has a Mediterranean atmosphere with an edgy style and great music. Although it has membership available, it is open on Wednesday nights to the public, when guests can listen to well-known DJ Donald Syriani's creative selection of music.

L2 LoungeJess at L2 Lounge

L2 LoungeL2 Lounge in Cady's Alley in Georgetown

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