Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ to be staged 100 years after writer’s deathThis year is the centennial of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s death. In order to commemorate this significant date, many events are being held around the world, and Seoul is no exception. Ibsen’s “Ghosts” will be on stage beginning tomorrow until July 2.
Prior to that, a seminar on Ibsen (1828-1906), the father of modern drama, was held at Literature House, central Seoul, on April 25.
Professor Knut Brynhildsvoll from the University of Oslo, who visited Seoul for the seminar, said that “Ghosts” was so controversial in Norway when Ibsen wrote it in 1881, that it couldn’t be debuted in the country. The play’s first performance was in Chicago in 1882 and it was next performed in Sweden in 1883.
The seminar was hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Theater Group Sanwoollim and the Park Yong Chol Memorial Society. The late Park Yong Chol, a poet and writer, first translated “A Doll’s House” into Korean in the 1930s.
The Norwegian Embassy in February donated 30 million won ($31,930) they had raised for this production of “Ghosts.”
“Ibsen is the most widely performed dramatist in the world’s theaters next to Shakespeare,” said Mr. Brynhildsvoll. According to the Centre for Ibsen Studies at the University of Oslo, Ibsen’s dramas are currently being staged in at least 134 theaters around the world.
Mr. Brynhildsvoll said that Ibsen’s dramas have an immanent appeal to each new generation as well as in a multicultural perspective, adding that Ibsen's works have greatly influenced the growth of modern Chinese drama.
“Ghosts” is the story of a young artist, Oswald, and his mother, Mrs. Alving, discussing the late Mr. Alving, who was dissolute from his wife’s point of view, but publicly known as decent. The drama touches on disrespect for the traditional concept of marriage, venereal disease, adultery, incest and euthanasia, which can be controversial even these days.
“Ibsen was considered a radical playwright in Norway back then,” said Mr. Brynhildsvoll. “The drama [“Ghosts”] faced social problems, but as in his other pieces, he didn’t give an answer,” he added.
Ambassador of Norway Arild Braastad said at the seminar that many of Ibsen's dramas are based on Norway’s natural beauty (the background of “Ghosts” is a village near a fjord), and encouraged audience members to visit Norway.
by Park Sung-ha
“Ghosts” will be performed in the Sanwoollim Theater, near Hongik University, at 7:30 p.m. from Tuesdays to Fridays and at 3 p.m. from Fridays to Sundays. There is no show Mondays. Tickets cost 20,000 won for students and 30,000 won for adults.
The performance will be in Korean, but English manuscripts will be available for English speakers.