Runner Up, Student Feature Writer of the Year Guardian Student Media
shock seems to be the byword for Ibsen's Ghosts.
its Victorian premiere it was received with horrified sickened disgust.
"An open drain," groaned one review; "the sort of play that requires
Where on earth did that come from?
Horne (Pastor Manders) and Lorna Beckett (Mrs Alving).
week's production of Ghosts at the OFS is craven, tense, tuned tightly
to the growing desperation of Ibsen's family tragedy, but it is
cold, and harsh, and quiet.
is a play not remotely in need of ammonia.
of course, the social climate is very different from the 19th century
Norway in which Ibsen wrote his masterpiece, and it's difficult
to view the play in the same light.
themes of sexual independence versus moral hypocrisy, and, indirectly,
of inherited syphilis, were controversial in a way that they can
never be now.
this Ghosts is still trying to shock us. "The play takes an angry
knife to convention", says director Andrew Leveson.
force of the outrage that greeted Ghosts on its premiere can still
be felt today."
outrage that greeted Ghosts on its premiere can still be felt
Leveson, director of Ghosts
true. The force of this production, driven by the increasingly powerful
Tom Eyre-Maunsell and Lorna Beckett as the two leads, is the strain
of family relations in social conventions.
set is minimal, the emotion tightly under control.
is the story of a young artist and his mother in a remote fjord-side
house in Norway, playing out the dysfunctional, wicked life of the
many secrets? What should we tell? And where will we end?
has a horrible sadness, but its ending bows under the weight of
lost and repressed love, not horror.
with a serious kind of integrity and put together with care and
restraint, Ghosts is a worthy echo of the reforming social fervour
that made Ibsen tell the King of Sweden: "I had to write that play."
just a quiet echo, not a screaming one. And that's fine.
McGuinness's version of Ibsen's Ghosts is due to be presented
in London's West End in 2004.