By Henrik Ibsen
Translated, Designed and Directed by Terje Tveit
Lighting Design by Finnuala McNulty
17 January – 12 February 2006
Teatret Vårt, Molde, Norway
10 – 11 March 2006
Parken Kulturhus, Ålesund, Norway
12 March 2006
“Poetic, intensely detailed production that takes rarely-seen Ibsen out of the realistic frame. Just three months after Terje Tveit’s production for Dale Teater Kompani of Ibsen’s early, expansive Peer Gynt, covering decades and continents with a 14-strong ensemble, it’s fascinating to see his account of the much later, extremely compact Little Eyolf. The intense relationships lie between the three adult Allmers, giving this play its Freudian landscape. ... Directing in his non-realistic ensemble style, Tveit loses the claustrophobia of a living-room and the sheer everydayness of the Allmers’ agonized marriage. The abstract setting can make the dialogue seem abstract also. But the gains are immense in unlocking Eyolf’s modernity and Ibsen’s astonishing psychological acuity. Alfred doubly denies life: in his marriage to Sarah Head’s black-clad Rita – they look away from each other whenever they talk - and in seeing Eyolf only as a vessel to continue his great literary project. Loose manuscript pages are stored in a huge suitcase kept central stage, till Alfred stuffs it under a mini-bridge, scenic echo of the water where Eyolf (already crippled in a moment of parental neglect) drowns. Almost mockingly, using the kind of revelation he despised in nineteenth century boulevard dramatists, Ibsen reveals Asta and Alfred are not blood-relatives. There’s been no doubt where true passion lies; Alfred may be too obsessed with his self-image to realize, but Valborg Frøysnes’ patient, resignedly pained yet loving Asta is more self-aware. Thematically choreographed, with Head especially showing the pain of a strangled relationship, with crippled Eyolf viewing people through his crutch and Rosalind Stockwell’s quietly sinister Rat-Wife ever-present, this production needs careful following but shows Little Eyolf in its full depth, picking up themes running through Ibsen’s earlier, more famous dramas.”
“Ibsen is renowned for creating strong, passionate women in his plays and Little Eyolf, one of his lesser known plays, is no exception. ... Sarah Head, who is a force to be reckoned with, plays the dominant Rita Allmers with a mix of vulnerability and hard-hearted sharpness. Her sentences are delivered quickly and sharply, her movements stilted and her eyes are constantly wide open and searching. She honestly acknowledges her deep love and suffering but cannot do anything about it. During her struggle the course of her life changes again and her son dies by drowning, igniting resentment between herself and her husband. The set is small and simple but Dale Teater Kompani prove you don’t need elaborate scenery to create great theatre. They succeed in bringing to life vivid and haunting images throughout – the lifeless Eyolf lying on the bottom of the fjord with his eyes wide open, the crutch floating alone on the water. The play is a beautiful, sad and honest portrayal of a family trying to come to terms with their own desires under tragic circumstances. It has been pointed out that, after Shakespeare, Ibsen is the most performed playwright, and having seen this powerful production of Little Eyolf, it is easy to see why.”
Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush Gazette
“It’s little wonder that the capital's theatreland is in such creative disarray when some of the most engaging and thrilling theatre currently being staged in London plays outside the West End. Dale Teater Kompani's adaptation of Little Eyolf is truly wonderful. Directed with flair by Terje Tveit, the production is stunning, a triumph of simple set design and graceful performances. Little Eyolf is awash with symbolism: the physical crutch of the young crippled Eyolf acting as a crutch in his parents’ relationship; an old wooden suitcase acting as a catalyst for a journey of return, as well as a journey of freedom. There is plenty to wade through and ponder here, but Dale Teater Kompani’s staging is hugely accessible, distinguished by brisk pacing and compelling performances. ... Sadness and remorse, as in most Ibsen, soon descends upon the Allmers household; suffice to say that the accidental death of little Eyolf brings familial secrets and longings to the fore, lighting the touch-paper on the near-destruction of a rocky marriage. The entire cast of the Dale Teater Kompani is outstanding, with special praise reserved for Head and Frøysnes in the demanding roles of the two women caught up in this maelstrom of emotion. ... With an enthusiastic and assured production, the themes in Ibsen’s writing come vividly to life on the stage of the Riverside Studios. Terje Tveit’s production of Little Eyolf is a wonder to experience.”
Virgin Internet Magazine
“Eyes of Eyolf ... Little Eyolf and the crippled Allmers family looked both each other – and life – straight in the eye in a production of uncompromising and intense reality performing at Forum in Molde last Friday. A top-score production presented by Dale Teater Kompani. The play from 1894 has stood the test of time, and with the energy given by the ensemble, the production could easily kill off any of today’s TV-reality-nonsense. The actors were captivating, and the interaction between Sarah Head/Edward Fulton as husband and wife Rita and Alfred Allmers was electrifying. Valborg Frøysnes, Shane Armstrong, Stephen Doran and particularly Rosalind Stockwell as the mysterious Rat-Wife were impressive. Terje Tveit directs with a deft hand and is also responsible for the English translation. ... Alfred and Rita Allmers are a married couple in deep crisis. Both are seeking something to hold onto, searching for goals that are unattainable. A family drama on the edge where disappointment and bitterness are eating away what once was their common pride and happiness. ... A brave production from Dale Teater Kompani and Teatret Vårt, and first and foremost a triumph for the actors. They showed the discipline, energy and ability to present the play in a production which probably would have delighted Ibsen greatly. Also credit to Carl Morten Amundsen who succeeded in hooking this ensemble to Molde.”
This link opens an image of the Romsdalen Budstikke article in Norwegian. You may need to change your browser view settings if it is set to automatically resize large images.
Hystrio review by Laura Caretti. This link opens an image of the Hystrio review in Italian. You may need to change your browser view settings if it is set to automatically resize large images.