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IN THE ACT

The other Alfred

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IN THE ACT: Sundh bases his character on Nobel's letters

Watching Peter Sundh at work is like going back in time. Dressed in black tails, baggy trousers, a silver pocket watch in hand, he sits next to a portrait of Alfred Nobel, looking every bit the 19th century Swedish chemist.
Sundh is Nobel's official impersonator, stationed at his manor in Karlskoga, Sweden, where the inventor of the dynamite spent the last three years of his life. Bj?rkborn Manor is now a museum and Sundh's job is to brief visitors about the life of the scientist while acting as Nobel himself.

It is not an easy job. Sundh sits statue-like in the museum and often startles visitors by speaking out and narrating Nobel's story. He launches into a 50-minute monologue in front of the group, before ambushing another group of unsuspecting tourists. He does this up to four times a day, six days a week, and sometimes even on weekends.
The job sounds monotonous, but Sundh insists it is not. "The best thing as an actor is that if I am standing there, people come and ask me things for which I am not prepared. I then take all the knowledge about the character and put it to use, " he says.

He has been at the museum for the past eight years, before which he dabbled in a few things but was also an amateur actor. The first time Sundh played Nobel was in 1996. "It was the anniversary celebration of a club in Karlskoga and a friend suggested that I play the role of Nobel to entertain guests. I had a moustache but had to grow a beard. I sat in front the mirror with Nobel's portrait and did the make-up. When I saw myself, I said, this can't be true, I have to do something about this," he recalls.

Sundh bases his character on the letters of Nobel. "For me as an actor, the script isn't as important as how the character thinks and behaves in different situations. It is the same thing with Alfred. "Sundh was in India for the Sweden-India Nobel Memorial Week

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