I saw the April 10 staging of this play and I found it to be riveting. Lesley Manville was a huge part of that, as was the compelling story. I sometimes hesitate to see Ibsen plays at BAM because they present them pretty often, and sometimes they seem repetitive. Not so for this one. I am happy I did not know a lot about the play before I saw it, so that I was surprised by the unfolding of events. I really appreciated the program notes and the BAM blog resources for rounding out the experience. The set design with the transparent, reflective, ghost-like walls was brilliant and the acting overall was wonderful. The Pastor, however, was portrayed as so flat and repressed that I couldn’t imagine him being inflamed with passion. The final moments were a bit melodramatic, and I was curious if this really was how syphilis manifests itself. Suzanne England’s link (in the BAM blog comments) to an Ibsen Society of America piece on the subject illuminated that perhaps it was pretty accurate after all. This particular Ibsen play especially made remote upper class Norway of the late 1800’s come alive for me, and I could totally see why this play was so controversial back then. It also made me glad I did not happen to live in that time and place.

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