The Work of Ibsen: Part One

The Work of Ibsen: Part One

Studying Ibsen? Here’s an introduction to his four major plays, beginning in part one with A Doll’s House and Ghosts.

Edison was a writer who dominated my thinking ever since I became a playwright really I was intoxicated by them by their savagery under poetry and the tautness of the dramaturgy and Dolls house was exemplary of all of those qualities Noora Helmand lives and apparently Adelaide life with her husband Torvald helmet and children and years five years I think before the place passes her husband had what I read is being a nervous breakdown in order to pay for his treatment she borrowed money and has spent the last five years trying to secretly to pay it back and play charts the moment when she realizes that the debt is going to be found out at the end of the play her husband finds out about the debt is appalled and she says like I'm not I can't live with a man is going to contain like this and she leaves and that was a shocking moment in European theater the notion that the woman could leave her husband and leave her children and she slammed the door the decision he made when he when he started to write the doll's house in the in the 1870s is he decided to write these plays about contemporary everyday life in his home country so incidence is a great radical by insisting on naturalism I think it's received as a feminist tract and a celebration of female independence and while I think that's a consequence of what if sin was writing I don't think it was the intention of why person was writing I think if she was writing in my opinion something much more existentialist something more related to people trying to be true to themselves and not having their identity and posed on them by other people and I think that's definitely true of Nora what Laura is doing through that play is she's struggling to be true to herself but for that play to really work you have to see what it costs her to do it she's not just leaving her husband she's leaving her kids and she'll never see her kids again she'll have no status in society she'll be a real outcast it's a real disaster now that doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen that's what's so profound about it she realizes the mess that she's made and and has to and has to change everything in order to clean it up and that extremity I find really extraordinary the play is called ghosts because the ghosts of the past do haunt us mrs. Alvin who has had a marriage with a terrible man who's not dead has presented him that bad as a model as a remarkable figure there's an orphanage being built in his name and and most importantly she has told her son that he was an incredible nurse and he comes home actually for the opening of the orphanage in the father's name we discover above all that he's ill he's very ill he's got syphilis and he's going to die and of course what has happened is he's inherited it from his that his mom who is trying to be a modern woman is dealing with a nightmare of how how to tell him that should she tell him the truth or should she protected from the truth guilt and the past ways are on all of us goes to eternal because it's about the relationship between a mother and son I mean elemental relationship the most heart-rending line in the whole play is when the son oz will loose arguing with his mother and says I didn't ask to be born and this is the eternal cry of the the child who is impotent in the face of their inheritance I think any playwright who continues to be performed has some sort of elemental quality what's fascinating about his work is that he sits on these boiling tumultuous volcanic feelings and applies a kind of literal and they burst out with a sort of seismic energy he's a brilliant storyteller


  1. I have seen A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler both of which are fantastic plays.
    So I look forward to watching Ghosts.
    Thank you for such an interesting set of short interviews that are very interesting and with some depth.

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