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Re-creating Ibsen in Krakow and Oslo

Last updated: 02.12.2009 // The Polish Cultural Exchange Fund of the EEA and Norway Grants has financed a Polish-Norwegian artistic exchange to make the works of Henrik Ibsen available to a wider audience.

During 2009, the Teatr Nowy in Krakow and Visjoner Teater in Oslo cooperated with the Jagiellonian University and the Ludwik Solski State Theatre School in Krakow on the Re-Creations: Ibsen festival, an artistic exchange project examining the connections between the works of Henrik Ibsen and contemporary European drama.

The Norwegian author Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is widely regarded as one of the most influential playwrights of the 19th century and is one of the founders of modernism in theatre. Ibsen’s plays influenced key European authors such as George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.

Guest performances in Oslo and Krakow
Over the last few years, Visjoner Teater from Norway have staged highly successful experimental performances of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, a play particularly known for highlighting the role of women and challenging the traditional gender roles of the Victorian era. In Visjoner Teater’s performances, the play is staged in an actual apartment, where the audience literally become guests and visitors in the home of the play’s main protagonists, the spouses Nora and Torvald Helmer. Such an intense method of staging the performance brings the actors as well as the play’s protagonist characters into close contact with the audience, spurring reflection on theatre as a medium and the relationship between the staged and the real.

Visjoner Teater presented 2 performances of A Doll’s House in the Janowice Palace in Krakow, in addition to presenting Ibsen’s Women: Put an Eagle in a Cage, a monodrama by Juni Dahr, and Hedda – close-ups, a performance based on Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. Teatr Nowy presented performances of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf in Oslo and Krakow.

In addition to the guest performances, the Re-Creations: Ibsen festival hosted a number of academic and acting workshops and an international Ibsen conference examining the intertextuality with 2 contemporary playwrights who refer directly to these works, namely Dea Loher (The Final Fire) and Jon Fosse (The Girl on the Sofa). As part of the project, new translations of these plays into Polish were commissioned.

Stimulating reflection on the classics
“Such non-canonical interpretations of Ibsen’s works spurs reflection on how we read the classics, and how we read and interpret Ibsen today,” said Juni Dahr of Visjoner Teater. “We are very pleased that this project was made possible by the EEA and Norway Grants. The artistic cooperation with our Polish partners has been highly interesting and successful, and we would like to build on it and develop it further in the future,” Dahr said.

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