Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler
Director: Ivo van Hove
Writer: Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Patrick Marber
Cast: Ruth Wilson, Rafe Spall, Kyle Soller, Kate Duchêne, Sinead Matthews, Chukwudi Iwuji, Éva Magyar
Seen on: 9.3.2017

Plot:
Hedda (Ruth Wilson) and her husband George (Kyle Soller) have just returned from their honeymoon. But instead of excitement about their new life together, Hedda feels nothing but bored. When George reveals that – despite his best attempts – his promotion may be at risk and that they will have to cut their spendings as well, Hedda is less than happy. The appearance of her husband’s rival Lovborg (Chukwudi Iwuji), his lover Thea (Sinead Matthews) and her husband’s friend and colleague Brack (Rafe Spall) comes just at the right time to provide her with a bit of entertainment, then.

This production of Hedda Gabler is a thing of beauty. Wonderfully acted, emotionally devastating and great stage design – there’s really nothing more you could ask for.

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John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman
Director: Simon Stone
Writer: Henrik Ibsen
Cast: Martin Wuttke, Birgit Minichmayr, Caroline Peters, Max Rothbart, Nicola Kirsch, Roland Koch, Liliane Amuat
Part of: Wiener Festwochen
Seen on: 28.5.2015

Plot:
Ella Rentheim (Caroline Peters) returns home to see her estranged twin sister Gunhild (Birgit Minichmayr) and Gunhild’s husband, John Gabriel Borkman (Martin Wuttke). Borkman was disgraced in a financial scandal and hasn’t left the attic since he was released from prison. Gunhild, too, is eccentric, to say the least. Only Gunhild’s and John Gabriel’s son Erhart (Max Rothbart) has a halfway normal life – which he had to fight for. Ella’s arrival makes all of them confront the past and try to rearrange their lives.

The play, unfortunately, didn’t work for me at all. Judging by the audience’ enthusiastic reaction though, my boredom and exasperation at the show seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

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El desarrollo de la civilización venidera (The Development of a Future Society)

El desarrollo de la civilización venidera is an Argentinian production of Henrik Ibsen‘s A Doll’s House. It was modernised and directed by Daniel Veronese and stars María Figueras, Carlos Portaluppi, Mara Bestelli, Ana Garibaldi and Roly Serrano. It was also the last play I saw during the Festwochen. [Reviews of the other things here.]

Plot:
Helmer (Carlos Portaluppi) and Nora (María Figueras) are a happily married couple. At least on the surface. When they return home laughing and discussing from having watched Scenes from a Marriage, everything seems to be alright. But soon the facade crumbles and reveals the real workings behind their relationship.

El desarrollo was an interesting production. It was excellently acted, though Helmer was not that well cast and the modernisation was very well done. Unfortunately, Veronese also changed the ending, which I didn’t like as much.

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Re-Read: Et Dukkehjem [A Doll’s House] (Henrik Ibsen)

A Doll’s House is a play by Henrik Ibsen, probably his most famous one.

Plot:
Nora is the young wife of successful lawyer Torvald. They have two kids together, Torvald just got promoted, it’s Christmas – life seems to be just dandy. But a little while back, Nora borrowed some money from Krogstadt without Torvald’s knowledge. Krogstadt now happens to become Torvald’s employee and Torvald is threatening to fire him. But since Nora forged a signature to borrow the money, Krogstadt now has leverage and uses it to blackmail Nora into convincing Torvald that he shouldn’t fire him.

A Doll’s House is a fantastic play. Intelligent, interesting and well-written. I read it in school when I was 17, I think, and then I didn’t quite appreciate it as much as I did now, on re-reading. Strongly recommended.

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