Reviews

Friends, Romans, Fellow Grocers

Over the next few years, I imagine there will be a revival of interest in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Brecht’s roman à clef about a Chicago gangster who represents Hitler during his rise to power.  We’ll probably see more productions of An Enemy of the People, too, as well as The Crucible and Julius Caesar.  Trump, unfortunately, […]

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Reviews

The Norwegian and the Swede

Strindberg insisted on several occasions that his misogyny was entirely theoretical, but The Father is such a full-throated expression of hatred that this is hard to believe. Around the time he wrote the play, he prophesized a coming war of the sexes that would lead to a barbarous matriarchy and declared, “I shall fight as […]

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Reviews

God and the Law

Who knew all Ibsen needed was a bit of menace?  A little over a year ago, BAM presented the Young Vic’s stellar production of A Doll’s House, which tore off the play’s moralizing veneer and exposed a domestic thriller more akin to Hitchcock than Shaw.  Now we have Ghosts, which begins in much the same manner, with Jacob Engstrand […]

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Reviews

Only One Is a Wanderer

The story goes that when A Doll’s House premiered in 1879, it was so controversial that party invitations in Stockholm requested that guests not mention the play.  In fact, the ending was shocking enough that Henrik Ibsen’s German agent forced him to rewrite the final scene before it could play in German theaters.  Unsurprisingly, the polemical […]

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Reviews

You Might Even End Up Happy

“I had a love/hate relationship with Mr. Ibsen for a long time,” admits director Andre Belgrader, while one of his actors, Wrenn Schmidt, adds, “The first time I read The Master Builder, there was nothing about that play that attracted me to it.”  Though both eventually came around to the author and his work, the […]

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Reviews

Mediocrity Always Trumps Genius

James Joyce loved Henrik Ibsen; he considered his work superior to Shakespeare’s.  In fact, an early, lost play of his—A Brilliant Career—was partially modeled on An Enemy of the People, which is currently being revived by the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  In a puerile attempt to emulate the Master, I […]

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