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Oslo 1985. Happy to have found love, the optimistic Ingrid champions her snobbish husband Osvald’s vision to be a famous artist. She has invited Thomas Hurdal, Associate Director of the National Museum, to lunch at their cabin in the countryside in order to view Osvald’s austere painting of a simple table. Acclaim and worldwide renown are sure to follow. But when Hurdal doesn’t show up, Ingrid decides to put The Table where it can’t be ignored. In the dead of night, they steal Edvard Munch’s masterpiece, The Scream, from the National Museum and replace it with The Table.


The following morning, with The Scream stuffed in a bag in their cabin, Ingrid gathers the morning newspapers, and reads to an expectant Osvald. Ingrid hesitantly interprets the news: while the world is outraged at the theft, critics everywhere proclaim high praise for The Table! Once Osvald wrests the papers from Ingrid’s hands he reads the truth. Osvald is a laughingstock.


A muffled shriek from within the bag that holds The Scream interrupts their scene. The sound grows ever louder as glass in windows bursts, an icy gale flows into the room, and a screeching, black-clad figure of terror and foul anxiety emerges from its bag, screaming at the top of its lungs. The Scream has come to life!


Osvald collapses in fear. Ingrid is transfixed. Though the Scream only moans, she interprets its message: “Your husband is a talentless hack. Come with me.” Suddenly, there is a pounding at the door. Osvald, panicked, pushes the Scream in a closet and opens the door to the Associate Director of the National Museum in Oslo. Hurdal! He has remembered the invitation to this cabin to view a great work of art. If his suspicion is correct, Hurdal will find The Scream  at this apartment, and will gain high status at the museum upon its heroic return. Instead, Osvald attacks Hurdal, and in the melee, Ingrid escapes with her new obsession, the Scream. Hurdal knocks Osvald unconscious, grabs the couple’s rusty old rifle and pursues Ingrid into the snowy mountains.


At a cliff’s edge, Ingrid communes with the now embodied Scream. Hurdal discovers Ingrid in her musings, and, oblivious to the figure of the Scream, trains the rusty rifle on her. The gun misfires, he shoots himself instead, and Hurdal falls into a ravine.


Osvald arrives. He knows he’s on the verge of losing his wife. He apologizes for his pretensions. He wants to return The Scream to the museum, and re-build their relationship. She’s ready to try, but only after she learns what the figure from the painting wants to teach her. Hurdal returns, bloody and broken but not deterred. He trains the rusty rifle on Osvald this time, but once again the gun misfires, Hurdal is shot a second time, and falls into a ravine.


Ingrid forcefully pushes Osvald away and suddenly finds herself in the world of the painting –  at the foot of the bridge, with the psychedelic sky swirling overhead and the fjord’s deep blue waters churning below. Alas, the Scream is nowhere to be found. Lost in a haze of intense emotion, Ingrid puts her hands to her head and howls. She has completed the tableau of the painting, with herself holding the space as The Scream.


She wakes from her reverie to find Osvald and police helicopters hovering above. Hurdal returns his body more wracked than before, he trains the rifle at them, ordering them to surrender. The gun misfires, Hurdal is shot, and falls into a ravine.


In a last-ditch expression of love for Ingrid, Osvald seizes The Scream and a torch, and is about to set fire to it, when Ingrid at last finds her voice - and it is fierce. She will leave Osvald, she says, and dwell within the painting forever, true to herself at last, and free from their sham of a marriage. She clutches  the Scream again, but to her dismay, she cannot enter the world of the painting as before. Instead, we hear a final aria of exquisite anxiety from the Scream before it transforms itself into a two-dimensional painting a final time.


Ingrid is lost. 


Osvald is lost.


Hurdal returns and charges the couple with his gun. In the rush, they are both set aflame by Osvald’s torch. The rifle misfires, shooting Osvald in the chest, then Ingrid. The couple plunges into the ravine.


A heavily bandaged Hurdal proudly addresses patrons at the museum as The Scream is returned to its rightful spot. Hurdal has been named Director, his future is secure.


Suspended in time, we find Ingrid and Osvald, in shock, on fire and bleeding from their wounds, plummeting to their deaths. Ingrid communes with her deep longing, and Osvald with his heartbreak. He tells her he is truly sorry. As they descend, she is saturated by the ecstasy of all that surrounds her, the orange sky, the rolling hills, the fjord below. Osvald becomes enveloped in her enlightenment. They reach for each other and connect, holding hands as they disappear into a swirl of white snow and orange flame.

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