Editor’s Column

Theatre Reviews and Ibsen News and Comment On-Line

I take great pleasure in thanking all of you who have volunteered to review Ibsen productions for INC. Your hard, unremunerated work makes it possible for us to provide a good number of reviews within an international range. (more…)

Stage: Ibsen in England

The League of Youth; Nottingham Playhouse; May 13–June 1, 2011
Emperor and Galilean; The Olivier/Royal National Theatre; London; June 15– August 10, 2011
Little Eyolf; Jermyn Street Theatre; London; May 3– 8, 2011

Productions this year of The League of Youth by Nottingham Playhouse and of Emperor and Galilean by the Royal National Theatre—both premiers in Britain—together with Little Eyolf at a tiny venue in London’s fashionable Jermyn Street, provided an opportunity to reflect on the nature and scale of Ibsen’s dramatic art.

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Stage: Ibsen in Germany

Nora or A Doll House; Theatre Oberhausen, Fall 2010/Theatertreffen; Berlin; May 15 and 16, 2011
The Wild Duck; Off-off-off-Ibsen Festival, Oslo, 2010/The Prater; Berlin; May-July, 2011

Ibsen was at one time regularly represented in the Berlin Theatertreffen, the annual spring festival which offers ten productions selected by a jury as the most outstanding of the previous year in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland.

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Stage: Back to the Future, or Forward to the Past

Dollhouse, by Rebecca Gilman (based on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House)
The Guthrie Theater; Minneapolis; May 22–July 11, 2010

When I saw Gilman’s Dollhouse at the Guthrie, I was both entertained and challenged, but I also had the feeling that little would stick in my memory. Yet I also had a hunch that perhaps this was the whole point of Gilman’s play and Wendy C. Goldberg’s direction: to show how forgettable it all is, the lives and times of Generation X.

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Stage: Peer Gynt (Dublin)

In a new version by Arthur Riordan with music by Tarab
Rough Magic; Dublin; September 27–October 16, 2011

Founded in 1984 with the aim of bringing Ireland in touch with contemporary British and American drama, the company Rough Magic is at the forefront of Irish theatrical innovation. It has introduced Dubliners to Caryl Churchill, David Mamet, Martin Crimp, and Jon Fosse; it has also produced a number of new Irish plays as well as radical interpretations of classic works.

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Stage: Peer Gynt (La Jolla)

La Jolla Playhouse/Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre; La Jolla; June 28–July 24, 2011

Experimental director and Joseph Papp mentoree David Schweizer has directed Peer Gynt once per decade, starting with a Yale student production in the late 1960s and including a version created for the Polish National Theatre in Warsaw in the 1980s. His third, most recent Peer Gynt, staged for La Jolla Playhouse and co-produced with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, shares with the Warsaw production its reconstructed chronology, an extensively altered script, and a cast of five.

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Stage: An Enemy of the People (Commonweal)

Commonweal Theatre; Lanesboro, Minnesota; April 14–June 10, 2011

The well-established Ibsen Festival continues in the town of Lanesboro, Minnesota. The event-filled opening week-end of April 14 started with the Friday-night opening performance of Enemy; an exhibition, “Ibsen’s Norway,” by photographer Ed Ruen; and a film about water pollution, “Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story.”

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Stage: Ibsen on a New York Summer Weekend

Ghosts; Classic Play Reading Series at Merchant’s House “Secret Garden”; July 7-10 and 14, 17, 2011
The Wild Duck; Compassion Theater Company/Shetler Studios; July 13-24, 2011

Summer theatre in New York, as in many other theatre capitals, is distinctly less varied and ambitious than winter fare, and serious classic drama, except of course for Shakespeare, who is one of the mainstays of American summer theatre, is rarely seen. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see revivals of two major Ibsen dramas being offered Off-Off Broadway in mid-July. The first was distinctly a summer offering, Ghosts presented in the “secret garden” of the Merchant’s House Museum in Greenwich Village.

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Stage: A Doll House (Jewish Theater Co.)

A Jewish Theater Company ; New York; March 16, 20 and 23, 2011 (11, 15 Shushan Purim and 18 of Adar II, 5771)

In 2010, Yoni Oppenheim, Jesse Freedman, and Avi Soroka created A Jewish Theater Company, the first professional Jewish theatre company in New York dedicated to Shabbat-observing artists. This explains the unconventional performance times of their production of A Doll House, on two Wednesdays and a Sunday, avoiding the Shabbat, which prohibits deliberate physical activity, including, of course, theatrical performing, on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Book Review: Ibsen and Irish Literary Revival

Irina Ruppo Malone, Ibsen and the Irish Literary Revival. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 223 pages. Hardcover. $84.00.

The articles that Irina Ruppo Malone has published on Ibsen’s impact on Ireland, two of which I reviewed earlier in our “Survey of Articles,” gave great promise that her forthcoming book would be a very fine one. Such is indeed the case.

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Survey of Articles 2010

Survey of Articles on Ibsen: 2010

Editor’s Note: This survey systematically reviews articles in refereed journals and chapters in books whose language is English. Articles in refereed journals in other languages may also be included. Collections of articles and conference proceedings may also be reviewed or noted.

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