Brian Friel's version of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler premiered at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in September 2008, to celebrate the theatre's birthday, eighty years after the Gate's inaugural production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), Norwegian poet and playwright, was one of the shapers of modern theatre, who tempered naturalism with an understanding of social responsibility and individual psychology. His earliest major plays, Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867), were large-scale verse dramas, but with Pillars of the Community (1877) he began to explore contemporary issues. There followed A Doll's House (1879), Ghosts (1881) and An Enemy of the People (1882). A richer understanding of the complexity of human impulses marks such later works as The Wild Duck (1885), Rosmersholm (1886), Hedda Gabler (1890) and The Master Builder (1892), while the imminence of mortality overshadows his last great plays, John Gabriel Borkman (1896) and When We Dead Awaken (1899).
Brian Friel was born in County Tyrone in 1929. He died in County Donegal on 2 October 2015.
Now, Penelope and her chorus of wronged maids tell their side of the story in a new stage version by Margaret Atwood, adapted from her own wry, witty and wise novel.
The Penelopiad premiered with the Royal Shakespeare Company in association with Canada's National Arts Centre at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 2007.
During the ten years that Stuart Spencer has taught playwriting, he has struggled to find an effective playwriting handbook for his courses. Although most of the currently popular handbooks have good ideas in them, they all suffer from the same problems: they're poorly organized; are composed mostly of quirky, idiosyncratic advice on how specific playwrights have gone about writing their own work; and are full of abstract theorizing on the nature of art. As a result, they fail to offer any concrete information on how to construct a well-written play or any useful guidelines and exercises. Moreover, few of these books are actually written by working playwrights. Out of frustration, Spencer wrote his own book. The result, The Playwright's Guidebook, is a clear, concise, and engaging handbook. Spencer addresses the important principles of structure, includes insightful writing exercises that build upon one another, explores the creative process, and troubleshoots recurrent problems that playwrights actually face.