'I think I'm a human being before anything else. I don't care what other people say. I don't care what people write in books. I need to think for myself.'
Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House premiered in 1879 in Copenhagen, the second in a series of realist plays by Ibsen, and immediately provoked controversy with its apparently feminist message and exposure of the hypocrisy of Victorian middle-class marriage. In Ibsen's play, Nora Helmer has secretly (and deceptively) borrowed a large sum of money to pay for her husband, Torvald, to recover from illness on a sabbatical in Italy. Torvald's perception of Nora is of a silly, naive spendthrift, so it is only when the truth begins to emerge, and Torvald appreciates the initiative behind his wife, that unmendable cracks appear in their marriage.
This compelling new version of Ibsen's masterpiece by playwright Simon Stephens premiered at the Young Vic Theatre, London, on 29 June 2012. It was updated with minor changes in 2013.
It's Christmastime in Norway, and Norma Helmer is preparing her lovely home for the holidays. A dainty, jovial woman, Norma is adored by her husband, Torvald, and their three children. But when an old friend comes to visit, Norma reveals that her life is not as carefree as it seems. Norma is keeping a secret from Torvald, a secret that would shatter his illusion of her as the perfect wife. But is she prepared to maintain that illusion for the rest of her life? This unabridged edition of Henrik Ibsen's provocative three-act play, originally published in 1879, explores the life of a 19th-century wife, ready to disregard social customs and financial security for a shot at independence.
A masterpiece of modern theater, Hedda Gabler is a dark psychological drama whose powerful and reckless heroine has tested the mettle of leading actresses of every generation since its first production in Norway in 1890. Ibsen's Hedda is an aristocratic and spiritually hollow woman, nearly devoid of redeeming virtues. George Bernard Shaw described her as having "no conscience, no conviction … she remains mean, envious, insolent, cruel, in protest against others' happiness." Her feeling of anger and jealousy toward a former schoolmate and her ruthless manipulation of her husband and an earlier admirer lead her down a destructive path that ends abruptly with her own tragic demise. Presented in this handsome, inexpensive edition, Hedda Gabler offers an unforgettable experience for any lover of great drama or fine literature. Among the most performed and studied of Ibsen's dramas, it continues to provoke and challenge audiences and readers all over the world.
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler was first published in 1890. Despite premiering the next year to negative reviews, the play since been hailed as a classic work of realism, with the character Hedda being considered by some critics as one of the great dramatic roles; a female Hamlet. Gabler is actually the character's maiden name rather than her name by marriage (which is Hedda Tesman); on entitling it this Ibsen wrote: "My intention in giving it this name was to indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than her husband's wife."
Hedda Gabler returns, dissatisfied, from a long honeymoon. Bored by her aspiring academic husband, she foresees a life of tedious convention. And so, aided and abetted by her predatory confidante, Judge Brack, she begins to manipulate the fates of those around her to devastating effect.
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.
This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Edition includes a glossary and reader?s notes to help the modern reader contend with Ibsen?s approach to complex human interactions and the relationship between the sexes.Norwegian-born Henrik Ibsen?s classic play about the struggle between independence and security still resonates with readers and audience members today. Often hailed as an early feminist work, the story of Nora and Torvald rises above simple gender issues to ask the bigger question: "To what extent have we sacrificed our selves for the sake of social customs and to protect what we think is love?" Nora?s struggle and ultimate realizations about her life invite all of us to examine our own lives and find the many ways we have made ourselves dolls and playthings in the hands of forces we believe to be beyond our control.
The foremost dramatist of his age, Ibsen changed theatre forever with his realistic dialogue and depiction of contemporary social problems. Here are four of his greatest works: Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Lady From the Sea, and John Gabriel Borkman.
Among the masterpieces of world literature, this early verse drama by the celebrated Norwegian playwright humorously yet profoundly explores the virtues, vices, and follies common to all humanity — as represented in the person of Peer Gynt, a charming but irresponsible young peasant. Based on Norwegian folklore and Ibsen’s own imaginative inventions, the play relates the roguish life of the world-wandering Peer, who finds wealth and fame — but never happiness — although he is redeemed by love in the end. As the play opens the young farmer attends a wedding and meets Solveig, the woman who is eventually to be his salvation. However, the rascally Peer then kidnaps the bride and later abandons her in the wilderness. This dismal performance is followed by a string of adventures (many of which do not reflect well on Peer) in many lands. After these soul-chilling exploits, an old and embittered Peer returns to Norway, eventually finding solace in the arms of the faithful Solveig. Like other early Ibsen plays, such as Brand (1866) and Emperor and Galilean (1874), the work is imbued with poetic mysticism and romanticism, and in Peer we find a rebellious central character in search of an ultimate truth that always seems just out of reach. In this sense Peer can be seen as an alter ego of Ibsen himself, whose lifelong search for artistic and moral certainties resulted in the great later plays (Hedda Gabler, The Wild Duck, An Enemy of the People, etc.) upon which his reputation chiefly rests. This rich, poetic version of Peer Gynt is considered the standard translation.
A Doll’s House, written two years after The Pillars of Society, was the first of Ibsen’s plays to create a sensation and is now perhaps his most famous play, and required reading in many secondary schools and universities. The play was highly controversial when first published, as it is sharply critical of 19th Century marriage norms. It follows the formula of well-made play up until the final act, when it breaks convention by ending with a discussion, not an unravelling. It is often called the first true feminist play, although Ibsen denied this.
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote An Enemy of the People in 1882 as a response to the public outrage over his play Ghosts. Part comedy, part serious drama, the play looks at Dr. Thomas Stockmann's struggle to uphold the truth in the face of intolerance and willful ignorance, as his entire community turns against him. Branded an "Enemy of the People," Dr. Stockmann can only take solace in the idea that "the strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone."
The Lady From The Sea (1888) marked a turning-point in Ibsen’s writing career as it, and the plays that followed it, concerned itself more with individual destinies than with general moral or social principles. In this new translation, Pam Gems (best known for plays such as Piaf, Stanley, Camille and Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi) gives this classic drama a refreshing new life.
The Lady From The Sea was performed at the Almeida Theatre, 8th May 2003.
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