Blood, love and theater
Holešovice-based English-language troupe stages emotionally grueling Ibsen play
Posted: October 23, 2013
Courtesy Photo: Martina Octavia
Beathe Linde and Prokop Prach star as Asta and Eyolf Allmers, respectively, in the Blood, Love & Rhetoric Theatre production of Henrik Ibsen's "Little Eyolf" Oct. 25-26.
Henrik Ibsen is not known for his comedies. The Norwegian playwright, whose dramatic work in the 19th century arguably put him in the same class as revered Swedish dramatist August Strindberg, produced around 30 plays during his lifetime, of which titles like Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House and Peer Gynt are certainly the best-known.
One of the last of his plays to be produced was Little Eyolf, which reflects the principal theme that occupied him during most of his life: domestic tension and tragedy. In the play, the young boy Eyolf, an only child, is paralyzed in one leg because he fell from a table as a baby while his parents were making love.
Little Eyolf comes to Studio Alta, a theater in the capital's Holešovice neighborhood, Oct. 25-26 as a production of the English-language, Prague-based Blood, Love & Rhetoric (BLR) Theatre. Actors Logan Hillier, Madelyn Marcella and Prokop Prach are among the cast members, as well as Beathe Linde, who is also helming the production as director.
Linde first came to Prague from Norway in 2007 and has been with the BLR Theatre since 2009, when she starred in its very first production, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Having first come across the play, one of Ibsen's shortest works, about 15 years ago, she said she has always wanted to try her hand at directing the story.
When: Oct. 25-26, at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Studio Alta, Holešovice
Tickets: 150-200 Kč
"The play is about grief, life, death, love and hate, and it is set close to a fjord," she told The Prague Post. "I grew up with a fjord and can recognize and appreciate its alluringly wild calmness. It gives, and it takes. ... [In the play,] things bubble up to the surface, and truths are revealed, for good and bad. There is guilt and blame involved, and judgment and frustration. And yet the world carries on as if nothing has happened."
Linde says the timelessness of Ibsen's work is tied in large part to the rich, layered complexity of his female characters. More generally, she says this playwright from her home country also demonstrates a remarkable understanding of the human psyche, and as a result his plays continue to resonate with audiences to this day.
Despite the title indicating otherwise, the parents are at the center of the narrative in Little Eyolf, although Eyolf certainly brings the pent-up tensions to a boil. When Eyolf dies at the beginning of the story, having followed a strange woman into the sea, his mother reveals that her main desire is for her husband to adore her, and the death of her son seems to kindle hope in her that this may finally be possible.
Very appropriately for the material, Linde said she chose to stage the play as a kind of 1940s movie, which provides for a literal and metaphorical facade that soon starts to show its cracks. Her knowledge of Norwegian has also served her well in the adaptation process, as she said she strove to keep the rhythm of the dialogue - a critical part of the story - as close as possible to Ibsen's words in the original, while keeping in mind that even the Norwegian text (which, has, according to her, an innate "Ibsen feel") doesn't necessarily reflect the way people speak every day.
"Everyone will be able to understand the play and what the characters are going through, whether they have experienced something like [the events in the story] or not," Linde said.
The production only runs for two nights, and tickets can be reserved online at Blrtheatre.com.
André Crous can be reached at
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