Monday, 10 February 2014

Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts

I decided to have one spontaneous Friday not knowing what show I'll see!  On my arrival, I visited TKTS, to see what was available that evening and get tickets at a discounted price.  I had a budget which helped me narrow down the choices and I ended up having two shows in mind.  I opted for Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios.  I was happy with my choice.

I never heard of Henrik Ibsen until last year when I saw a Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre Production of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House starring Cush Jumbo as Nora (you can read my blog here).  Since seeing the play I became more curious to see more of Henrik Ibsen's works on stage.  There was a production of Ghosts at my local theatre in Leeds and sadly I was unable to see it.  Since then Ghosts has intrigued me so I was very pleased to see Richard Eyre's production.

The evening came for me to see GhostsGhosts first ran at Almeida Theatre in September 2013 and transferred to the West End three months later.  Trafalgar Studios was formerly the Whitehall Theatre.  Since Ambassador Theatre Group took over the theatre ownership it has been divided into two studios.  Studio 1, where I saw the play, is the larger space.  I love the intimate stage and you get a great view wherever you sit.

Henrik Ibsen wrote Ghosts in 1881, a year after A Doll's House.  It's about Helene Alving (Lesley Manville) who endured an abusive relationship with her husband.  Since the death of her husband Helene plans to move on from her former life to tell Oswald the truth about his father.  However Oswald, it seems, is living the 'ghost' of her husband's life.

 Looking forward to Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios, London

The play explores a variety of themes in the lives of Helene and Oswald and those around them.  Not only the 'ghosts' of having the past affecting Helene and Oswald but these seem to interlink to the other characters in the story.  The raised themes include love, feminism, independence, domestic violence, indirect attacks on societal conventions and traditions especially the church, incest, transmitted disease, alcoholism and assisted suicide.  Richard Eyre did a great job in raising these themes on stage which link to one store and which are relevant in society today.

Ghosts was delivered by a very talented cast which is lead by Lesley Manville (Helene Alving) and Jack Lowden (Oswald Alving) who I saw in The Chariots of Fire last year at the Gielgud Theatre.  As well as Richard Eyre, the creative team deserves a big thanks including the designers, Tim Hatley and Peter Mumford.  There was an interview in the theatre programme about why Hatley and Mumford designed the stage the way they did and how the designs (especially the lighting) fitted in the mood of the characters and story's setting.  Hatley and Mumford summarised how Ibsen used 'composition, colour and light' were used figuratively for his stories.

What a powerful and enjoyable production! A great evening in al!
I have more or less caught up with my theatre blogging so watch this space for more theatrical postings and interviews.  Signing off for now, Dawn x

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