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John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman
Your Price: $18.99 CDN
Last copy!
Author: Henrik Ibsen
Translated by: Charlotte Barslund
Adapted by: Nicholas Wright
Publisher: Nick Hern Books
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 81
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 1854593056
ISBN-13: 9781854593054

About the Play:

John Gabriel Borkman is a full-length drama by Henrik Ibsen; in a new version by Nicholas Wright from a literal translation by Charlotte Barslund. John Gabriel Borkman is the all too timely tale of a man who was once wealthy, powerful and revered, but is now disgraced and destitute after a financial scandal and prison. His embittered wife plots for their son to restore the family's reputation. Their lives are shattered once and for all with the unexpected arrival of his wife's twin sister, with a shocking proposal.

John Gabriel Borkman is the criminally convicted financier of the title. A miner's son who has clawed his way to the top, he has been in voluntary seclusion in an upstairs room since enduring a 5-year prison sentence for embezzlement. As he paces alone, bankrupt and disgraced, he is obsessed by dreams of his comeback. Downstairs, his estranged wife Gunhild is placing her hopes for the restoration of the family name in her adored son, Erhart. But Erhart is the subject of another power struggle, between his aunt, also his adoptive mother, Gunhild's twin sister Ella, who visits unannounced. Ella's arrival to reclaim Erhart from his mother and persuade him to take her name revives a titanic clash between the sisters. Their conflict over Erhart is a replay of their former struggle for the heart of Borkman, which Ella resoundingly lost when he threw her over for the sake of his career. His wife, her twin sister, his son and even Borkman himself are all trapped in the suffocating atmosphere of this claustrophobic household. Their story, like almost all the stories Ibsen tells, is a dark one, but shot through with Ibsen's sly humour. As Borkman ventures out into the snowy hills he finally learns the consequences of a love betrayed.

John Gabriel Borkman is Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's second-to-last play written in 1896. Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for painting The Scream, who designed an 1897 poster for the play, called this drama of frozen desire "the most powerful winter landscape in Scandinavian art". Nicholas Wright's sensitive English version was first staged in 1996 at the National Theatre in London.

Cast: 5 female, 3 male

What people say:

"Richard Eyre's production is perfectly complemented by Nicholas Wright's idiomatic but unobtrusive translation." — The Observer

About the Playwright:

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is the second most widely produced dramatist in the world, eclipsed only by Shakespeare. He is revered in Norway as its most famous author and a national symbol, even though he spent much of his life abroad in Italy and Germany. He was largely responsible for the rise of realism in the theatre. In works that possess revelatory power Ibsen challenged his audiences to question conventional morality and social conditions. Often controversial, his works were deeply unsettling to many of his Victorian contemporaries. He is now widely regarded as the "father of modern drama" and one of the greatest dramatists who ever lived.

Nicholas Wright is a South African-born British dramatist who started in the theatre as a child actor. He went to England to train at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and joined the Old Vic touring company as an actor. After working in repertory he became an assistant director in films and television. In 1969 he founded the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs, where he was responsible for presenting a radically influential program of new plays. He has written many successful original plays, including the Olivier Award-winning Vincent in Brixton. He has adapted such theater classics as Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman.