Academic journal article Ibsen News and Comment

A Last English Premiere, Regie-Theater Ibsen, Minimalist Ibsen

Academic journal article Ibsen News and Comment

A Last English Premiere, Regie-Theater Ibsen, Minimalist Ibsen

Article excerpt

My heartfelt thanks go to the eight contributors to this issue who have allowed us to present Ibsen on stage at a wide variety of theatres and festivals: the Abbey in Dublin, the Almeida in London, the Canadian Stage in Toronto, the Commonweal in Lanesboro, Minnesota, the Schauspielhaus in Zurich, the Volksbühne in Berlin, the Festwochen in Vienna, the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Theatertreffen in Berlin. Added to these is the unexpected London pub where the Barons Court Theatre presented the only Ibsen play that had not yet premiered in England, the little-known early intrigue drama, The Feast at Solhaug. The ISA is very grateful to Dick Dietrich for his vivid record of this curious landmark event.

Feast is the Ur-Hedda Gabler, and we are pleased to have reviews of two recent productions of Hedda, at the Abbey and at Canadian Stage, both of which are in the realistic mode still favored by English-speaking theatre. Of the seven other performances covered here, four are German-speaking, and all belong to the "director's theatre" (.Regie-theater) that has swept the European stage. Its most well-known practitioner is Frank Castorf, whose liberties with the text, large additions of contemporary material, and outrageous acting styles-in his Ghosts, Pastor Manders rants in the manner of Goebbels-have made him famous. Castorf has added The Master Builder to his Ibsen repertoire, and we are happy to have Steve Earnest's report on yet another over-thetop production from the Volksbühne. Marvin Carlson, reporting from the Theatertreffen on two Regie-theater productions of Borkman-Karen Henkel's horror-film version from Hamburg's Statstheater and Simon Stone's snowbound spectacle for the Vienna Festwochen-finds that while Henkel's approach presented a legitimate, if truncated, new reading, Stone's version was showy and incoherent. …

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