Kim Anderzon was a much-loved actress who was also a polemicist and an influencer of public opinion. She successfully promoted radical views without inviting major opposition from the general public.
Kim Anderzon was born in 1943. She was the eldest child of a culturally-aware working-class family from Jämtland. She moved to Stockholm when she was only 16 years old. Initially she began training to become a cartographer. However, it was not long before she was accepted at Teaterstudion then led by Inge Wærn. The type of drama and dramatic ideology practised at Teaterstudion was based on what in Sweden was a comparatively alien physical form of drama which at its most extreme resembled acrobatics. The primary source of inspiration was Jerzy Grotowski, a Polish drama instructor and director. The acting companies which assembled around Teaterstudion took western and feminist approaches to their work. Alongside Grotowski’s experiments there were also discussions on the French director Antonin Artaud’s views on “the theatre of cruelty”, an absurdist form of theatre based on spontaneous and freestyle expression, often without a narrative or dialogue.
One of the best-known independent theatrical groups at this time was Pistolteatern which had been founded in 1964. This was an avant-garde theatre in which, in the spirit of not only Grotowski but also the Italian dramatist Dario Fo, physical drama was viewed as the successor to traditional folk theatre. Kim Anderzon made her debut at that theatre in 1969 performing the play Direktör Ubu, which was based on Alfred Jarry’s absurdist play Kung Ubu. Five years later Pistolteatern inaugurated their premises at Torsgatan 41 in Stockholm and by then Kim Anderzon had become part of a close-knit group which put on both classical and newly-written plays interpreted in their own burlesque style. Reviews of the inaugural performance of the then newly-written play Vi är alla små gäster eller Hyresvär(l)den reveal that although the performance had been somewhat shouty, the ensemble “deserves respect for its honest manner of mercilessly exposing themselves without making recourse to glamorous beautification”. This quote aptly describes Kim Anderzon’s acting style and her career as a whole and can also be applied to the 2017 film which portrays her final year, Kim – den skalliga primadonnan, directed by her daughter Tintin Anderzon and Fredrik Egerstrand.
The influence of Dario Fo’s carnivalesque hold on the stage and its audiences can also be seen in Kim Anderzon’s form of dramatic expression after she had moved on from Pistolteatern in 1984. Her dramatic performances continued to be characterised by a sort of inviting, energetic presence. She joined the Mosebacke Etablissement, appearing in the likes of Änglasug by Alberto Moravia – in which she played all four parts herself – and Vivagina, based on Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Given that she stood alone on the stage, these performances allowed her to control the space without inhibition and to improvise based on the reaction she received from the audiences. It was not unusual for her to describe her relationship to the audience in sexual terms.
Folk drama – as interpreted by the radical theatre performers of the 1970s – was sometimes comparatively alien to genuine folk audiences. Nevertheless, Kim Anderzon held the keys to her audiences’ hearts. Her performances became long-running successes put on at Folkets Hus and in public parks, at temporary stages run by the Parkteatern organisation – such as the one in Hågelbyparken where, during the 2009–2010 season, she performed Strindberg’s Fröken Julie in an uninhibitedly twisted manner.
Alongside her theatrical career Kim Anderzon also appeared in numerous films and TV-series, beginning with the 1969 short entitled Frukost. Her films include the sexual education films Kärlekens XYZ and Kärlekens språk. Perhaps her best performance on the silver screen came in Andra dansen, a film from 1983 directed by Lárus Óskarsson. That year she was awarded the Guldbagge for best actress. It was probably her appearances in popular films such as Göta kanal eller Vem drog ur proppen? and Göta kanal 2 – Kanalkampen, as well as her portrayal of Siv Svensson in the Rederiet TV-series, which led to her becoming a “people’s favourite”.
Kim Anderzon received several awards and stipends throughout her long career. For example, in 1979 she was awarded the Svenska Dagbladet Thalia prize for her performance in the play En Kvinna while in 1990 she received the Carl Åkermann scholarship from the Swedish Academy. In 2012 she was given an honorary doctorate from Mittuniversitetet in Sundsvall. She received the royal Litteris et Artibus medal in 2001.
Kim Anderzon died in Vallentuna in 2014. She is buried at the Katarina parish cemetery on Södermalm, Stockholm.