Ghosts was written by Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright in 1881. Other plays by the same author include Brand, Peer Gynt, An Enemy of the People and A Doll’s House to name but a few. As with all Ibsen’s offerings, Ghosts is another prose drama and commentary of the rampant but unspoken norms of the late 19th century. It attacks the church, religion, marriage, infidelity and morality all in one sitting.
It is mentioned that Independent Theatre have chosen to use Richard Eyre’s adaptation of Ghosts. The upside is that it is a Three Act Play over approximately 90 minutes with no interval. It is set in the morning room of Mrs Alving’s home over the space of a single day and attempts to capture a lifetime of illusion.
The intrepid cast in order of appearance – Sophie Livingston-Pearce as Regina Engstrand, David Roach as Jacob Engstrand, Chris Duncan as Pastor Manders, Lyn Wilson as Helene Alving and Eddie Sims as Oswald Alving try their artistic best with the wordy dialogue, but again, perhaps it is a translation issue because it was often disjointed and cumbersome.
To identify the various areas of the Morning room there is appropriate furnishings. However it often gets in the way of the blocking of movement of the cast during their monologues. In addition, the cast often glance towards one area of wall where you would expect to see a portrait of the Patriarch. However it is blank – perhaps it was deliberate to signify His ghost?
The final scene is powerful and emotive. However after 90 minutes of sitting in extremely uncomfortable seats with absolutely no legroom the relief of the audience was tangible.
Again, please let me stress this is absolutely no reflection on the cast. A performer can only work their magic on the material they are provided. Perhaps a Baz Luhrmannesk adaptation aka Romeo & Juliet could work!
Ghosts will continue at Star Theatre 2 until July 1st.