Academic journal article Ibsen News and Comment

Editor's Column: Two World Premieres of Emperor and Galilean, Updating Hedda, and Post-Modern Ibsen Productions

Academic journal article Ibsen News and Comment

Editor's Column: Two World Premieres of Emperor and Galilean, Updating Hedda, and Post-Modern Ibsen Productions

Article excerpt

Ibsen's epic Emperor and Galilean (1873) had to wait twenty-three years for its premiere, in Leipzig, in 1896, and it has been staged very rarely since. Still, given Ibsen's continuing high status in England, where his plays have always been staged with great regularity both in London and in the provinces, most Ibsen scholars were probably surprised to learn that the production of Emperor at the National Theatre in 2011 was the work's British premiere. In last year's issue, we published Brian Johnston's review of the production, based on an adaptation by Ben Power which Johnston labeled a "radical re-imagining of the original" that "disemboweled" Ibsen's text; Jonathan Kent's technically spectacular production gave an "overall impression" of "spectacular incoherence." In this issue, we offer Marvin Carlson's review of the American premiere of the drama, which took place in 2012, less than a year after the British one, in Buffalo, New York, at Torn Space Theatre. Carlson found that playwright Neil Wechsler 's intelligent adaptation of Brian Johnston's translation and director David Oliver's stylish, minimalist production accurately conveyed the arc of Julian's trajectory and constituted a "remarkable achievement." The American production proves that it is possible to stage the weighty drama and that cutting Ibsen's vast text can be done without "disemboweling" it. …

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