The complete Ibsen News & Comment Volume 33. Published in 2014, it examines the activities of 2013.
N.B.: If there is a professional Ibsen production in your area that you would like to review, please let me know. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In last year’s issue, Marvin Carlson’s account of a performance of John Gabriel Borkman was our first review of a production of the ongoing Ibsen-Saga of the team of Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller, whose shocking work, as I noted in this column, goes “way beyond deconstruction.” In this issue, we are happy to publish an account of all the Saga productions thus far by Andrew Friedman, who has been studying the Saga since its beginnings at the Ibsen Centennial celebration in Oslo in 2006. (more…)
A Twenty-First Century Ibsen: Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller’s Ibsen-Saga; Oslo (Black Box Teater), Bergen (Det Norske Teater), Berlin (Prater Theater, Volksbühne); 2006-2013
Over the past seven years, Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller’s productions of Ibsen’s plays have deservedly caught the attention of Western Europe’s experimental theatre scene. Their five works to date—A Doll House (2006), Ghosts (2007), The Wild Duck (2009), John Gabriel Borkman (2011), and 12-Spartenhaus (an adaptation of An Enemy of the People, 2013)—are a sprawling, interconnected series known as the Ibsen-Saga.
Hedda Gabler; Deutsches Theater, Berlin; May, 2013
One of the major events of the Berlin theatre season is the annual May Theatertreffen, featuring the ten productions selected by a jury as the best of the previous year in the German-speaking theatre. Often one or even two Ibsen productions are among this number, but there were none in 2013, although two Enemy of the People productions, both from Berlin, were nominated. On one of the free nights during the festival, however, I was able to attend a major Ibsen event in Berlin, the premiere of a new Hedda Gabler by one of the leading contemporary German directors, Stefan Pucher.
An Enemy of the People; The Schaubühne/Brooklyn Academy of Music; November 6-10, 2013
Thomas Ostermeier is one of the few German (or continental) stage directors whose productions are invited to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the November production of his recent An Enemy of the People is his third there, all Ibsen plays, preceded by Hedda Gabler in 2006 and Nora (A Doll House), in 2004. By contemporary German standards there is nothing particularly shocking about the many adjustments, some powerful, some indifferent, some foolish, that Ostermeier has made in each of these adaptations, but within the context of American production, especially of Ibsen, they seem radical if not revolutionary.
The Master Builder; Brooklyn Academy of Music; May 12—June 9, 2013
Director Andrei Belgrader’s Master Builder, with the well-known American stage and screen actor John Turturro as Solness, is one of the most unfortunate Ibsen productions I have seen in the last ten years. It presents a script that makes nonsense of Ibsen’s text; a Hilda whose cartoon mouse delivery made spectators put their hands over their ears; and a Turturro struggling (and failing) not to make Solness resemble an over-the-top Tony Soprano.
Giuliano D’Amico, Domesticating Ibsen for Italy: Enrico and Icilio Polese’s Ibsen Campaign. Turin: Biblioteca dello Spettacolo Nordico, 2013. Xiv + 358 pages. Paperback. 20 Euros.
D’Amico’s impeccably researched and clearly written book, very handsomely produced in Professor Franco Perelli’s Spettacolo Nordico series at the University of Turin, is an admirable example of the current interest in Ibsen’s reception outside Norway.
Survey of Articles on Ibsen: 2012
Editor’s Note: This survey systematically reviews articles in English on Ibsen in refereed journals and anthologies. Refereed, edited collections of conference proceedings may also be reviewed or noted. Abbreviations: EX (Explicator); IS (Ibsen Studies); ICIS (Ibsen and Chekhov on the Irish Stage); MD (Modern Drama)