Spex (theatre)

Spex (theatre)

Spex is a kind of amateur comedy theatre act performed by university students in Sweden and parts of Finland. University cities, such as Gothenburg, Lund, Uppsala, Umeå, and Linköping have long going traditions of spex.

The word is likely derived from abbreviated student slang for "spektakel" (spectacle; scene; show). [ [http://g3.spraakdata.gu.se/saob/show.phtml?filenr=2/16/69540.html "Svenska Akademins Ordbok" entry: "Spex"] ]

Prominent features of spexes are the musical-like mix of spoken text and songs, the often rhymed dialogue, a good amount of satire and parody and the tradition of having the audience shout "Restart!" (Swedish: omstart/omtag) if they consider the current scene especially hilarious. Ideally, the actor should then improvise the scene or punchline in a new way. The fact that the audience plays an active part in the performance is what distinguishes spex from other forms of theatre. There are also several other commands that the audience can give, for instance demanding that the actors should perform the scene in question backwards, in slow-motion, in another language, or perhaps in a more violent fashion.


The first spexes were made as early as in the 16th century in Uppsala, Sweden. Local students were practising Latin by making Latin plays which were called spexes. Since all the students at that time were men, were also all the actors men. During the next 300 years the spexes developed into their modern form.

The first spexes in Finland were produced in Helsinki University of Technology in the beginning of the 20th Century. [ [http://www.teekkarispeksi.fi/pmwiki.php?n=Historia.Historia "The History page of Teekkarispeksi" entry: "Spex"] ]

ee also

* [http://www.spexet.nu Ett teknat spex på Uppsala Universitet] (mostly in swedish)
* [http://www.studentspex.se Linköpings studentspex] (mostly in Swedish)
* [http://www.holgerspexet.se Holgerspexet in Linköping] (mostly in Swedish)
* [http://www.dalaspexet.se Dalaspexet] (contains section in English)
* [http://www.spexet.se iSpexet på KTH] (mostly in swedish)
* [http://www.teekkarispeksi.fi Teekkarispeksi (Helsinki University of Technology)] (mostly in Finnish)
* [http://www.medicinarspexet.se Umeå Medicinarspex] (in swedish)
* [http://www.fysikalen.se Fysikalen] (in swedish)
* [http://www.spexet.ffs.gu.se Filosofspexet, Göteborg] (in swedish)


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