Court Theatre, October 1905
THE performance of The Wild Duck at the Court Theatre was rather disappointing. Though each part was admirably played, as a whole it was not so impressive as the performance of Herr Andresen's company at the German Theatre last winter. This was due firstly to the actors taking some scenes too fast, and secondly to the peculiarity of Mr. Granville Barker's rendering of Hialmar, though in itself it was an accomplished and consistent piece of acting.
His Hialmar Ekdal was a pitiable and ridiculous figure, instead of a repulsive and ridiculous one; and though many may deny the harsh impeachment, Hialmar is a wide shot that hits half the world. But that he should be represented as insufferable as well as ridiculous, is absolutely essential if the unity of the play is to be maintained. If any scene in The Wiíd Duck is played as simple comedy, if your laughter is not always on the wrong side of your mouth, the meaning of the play is obscured, and the suicide of Hedvig at the end will seem the wilful work of a morbid pessimist who sets down things in malice.
Ibsen's work seems that of a man who started life self-distrusting, modest, and ready to admire, and found out at last that men whom he thought better____________________