Little Eyolf review – exhilarating Ibsen from Norway’s National Theatre
“It is the fashion these days to strip Ibsen to the bone. This exhilarating production from Norway’s National Theatre – played in Norwegian with surtitles – is very much in the modern mode. It runs, like Richard Eyre’s 2015 Almeida version, for a brisk 85 minutes, and is played in modern dress with mostly bare feet and minimal furniture. It leaves you, as all good Ibsen should, quietly shattered.
Guilt is the prevailing theme as Rita and Alfred Allmers try to repair a marriage already haunted by the accident that happened to their boy, Eyolf, when they were preoccupied in making love. What is especially striking about Sofia Jupither’s production is its realisation of Ibsen’s sexual candour. Pia Tjelta’s Rita can hardly keep her hands off Kåre Conradi’s withdrawn Alfred as he returns from a six-week walking tour in the mountains and unbuttons his shirt with frenzy. Alfred’s passion for his half-sister, Asta, is more decorously expressed but no less intense. The most shocking revelation comes when we learn that Alfred, who used to call Asta “Little Eyolf”, cried out that name at a moment of orgasm with his wife. Written in 1894, the play emerges as both breathtakingly honest and the ancestor of soul-baring modern dramas by Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee.
Jupither’s production also brings out Ibsen’s grim humour. When Tjelta’s superb Rita, a Lady Macbeth of the fjords, announces that she intends to devote herself to looking after neglected children, one’s initial response is that the police should be alerted. Conradi captures perfectly Alfred’s self-regarding intellectualism, and there is fine support from Ine Jansen as an anguished Asta and from Andrine Sæther, who turns the symbolic figure of the Rat-Wife, sensing something troublesome gnawing away in the house, into a hippy Pied Piper. This is Ibsen with the gloves off, and the only sadness is that the production was given a bare three-night run. Someone should invite this company back to give us an extended Ibsen season.”
**** Michael Billington, The Guardian (20 April 2018)
The Norwegian Ibsen Company has started a co-operation with The Print Room theatre Coronet in Notting Hill, London. The first production will be a visit from The National Theatre of Norway. This guest performance is funded by the InterNational Foundation.
This production of Little Eyolf has been on the repertoire of The National Theatre of Norway for three years to amazing reviews. The Norwegian Ibsen Company’s artistic director Kåre Conradi is a lifetime employee at The National Theatre of Norway and plays Alfred Almers opposite Pia Tjelta as Rita Almers. Tjelta is these days shooting the series BECK in Sweden where she stars opposite Kristoffer Hivju (Game of Thrones).
The visit of this powerful production to The Print Room also marks the beginning of a working relationship between The Print Room Coronet and The Norwegian Ibsen Company. Artistic Director Kåre Conradi has said at several occasions that The Coronet has many similarities to The National Theatre of Norway. The much needed yet very cool choice of bringing the Coronet stage up to the level of first balcony is something he would have loved to experience at The National Theatre of Norway if an opportunity was given. It brings an incredible intimacy into the grand atmosphere of a big classic theatre house.
The co-production from Norway also stars Andrine Sæther, John Emil Jørgensrud and Ine Jansen. Directed by the award winning director Sofia Jupither.
Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 April 2018. BOOK NOW! The Thursday performance is already SOLD OUT.
Print Room at the Coronet, 103 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3LB.
Pia Tjelta and Kåre Conradi are returning to The National Theatre of Norway in Little Eyolf.
The play opens on the 29th August 2017.
[ see video ]
Artistic Director Kåre Conradi just won The Hedda Award 2016 (Norway’s equivalent to Olivier Award) for best actor in the part of Richard III at The National Theatre of Norway.
Artistic Director Kåre Conradi is to star as Edward IV in Trevor Nunn’s production of The Wars of the Roses at the Rose Theatre Kingston.
Epic, enthralling, extraordinary. The Rose stage will be transformed into a battleground for The Wars of the Roses, a gripping distillation of four of Shakespeare’s history plays, directed by Trevor Nunn, one of the world’s leading Shakespearean directors. Kåre will be joined on stage by Joely Richardson, Rufus Hound, Robert Sheehan, Oliver Cotton, Laurence Spellman and Susan Tracy.
A spectacular theatrical event not seen since it was first produced at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1963 by Peter Hall & John Barton, The Wars of the Roses is a trilogy of plays about one of the most tumultuous and intriguing periods of British history – the 15th century conflict between the House of York and the House of Lancaster for the throne of England.
Through these plays Shakespeare examines the very essence of human conflict. A tale of feuding families, murderous kings and adulterous queens, scheming and betrayal, revolts and battles, The Wars of the Roses chronicles the final struggle for power in medieval England.
Kåre has just returned from the highly successful first Ibsen Theatre Festival in Mumbai, India.
INTERVIEWS & PRESS:
Photos: Helge Lien
Ibsen Company’s Artistic Director Kåre Conradi is appearing in a National Theatret production of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf.
When the dream of the perfect family becomes a nightmare for the children.
We all seem to be concerned with how we relate to our children, but have we forgotten what it really means? Does the facade matter too much? Do we neglect the importance of just being there?
These are the questions director Sofia Jupither poses in Little Eyolf. She has dreamed of staging it for years – and now that this dream has come true, she once again she demonstrates her insight into the world of children.
Eyolf is a child who is not seen. As a baby, he fell from the changing table because his parents, Rita and Alfred, were more concerned with each other than with his safety. In most productions, the emotional warfare between Rita and Alfred is the focus of the play. In Jupither’s version, though, Eyolf is the protagonist. Little Eyolf drowns, and Rita and Alfred – played by Pia Tjelta and Kåre Conradi – do not see what they had until they have lost it.
Of all Ibsen’s plays, Little Eyolf is the one least influenced by the surrounding community. There are no telegrams in locked mailboxes and there is no syphilis; there is only a reference to a steamer. The story is easy to adapt to our own time. The story of the vulnerable child speaks as just as strongly to us today. Ibsen people belong to our time.
The Premiere is Tuesday 9 September and runs until 18 October 2014. Performed in Norwegian, with English subtitles.
With the fjord and Østfold as a backdrop, with the Navy Band as a musical powerhouse, Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt was staged outdoors at Karljohansvern late this summer. Altogether there were 10 performances with Kåre Conradi as the lead role of Peer Gynt. Kåre Conradi and the Navy Band have been partners before. Now they’ve joined forces. Twenty members of the Masken Group are also among the cast.
photo credit: Jesper Nordahl Finsveen
Artistic Director of the Theatre Ibsen, Anders T Andersen, explains the importance to the theatre group to use local resources whenever they can. “We’ve heard good things about the Masken group and we are looking forward to becoming acquainted with the theatre forces this town is obviously full of. Both parties have mutually benefit from this, says Andersen. He’s particularly happy that Corey Conradi has agreed to star in the lead role of Peer Gynt.”
“Grounded Peer Gynt”
Tønsberg Blad writes ”Corey Conradi has been assigned the role of Peer, who is self-sufficient through thick and thin, in everything. He carries the role effortlessly all the way through to the last sentence. Peer is on stage almost constantly, and it’s a real tour de force. Conradi with Sylvia Salvesen (mother Aase) makes her moment of death one of the many emotional moments in the show. It is beautifully done through a little dance, and thankfully not in the sled as we’ve seen so many times before. Conradi acts so that we are spellbound by his storytelling, he lies so well that we believe in him. He is an amazing actor, musical to his fingertips.”
“Humor, insanity and slightly vulgar”
Gjengangeren writes ”Corey Conradi drives game forward with great energy and unmatched enthusiasm, he engages and moves and makes us forget that we are slightly cramped, that Ibsen uses a long time getting his message across and that the summer is undeniably about to turn into fall.”
“Moving and lush Peer Gynt”
Telemark Arbeiderblad writes ”Before the nearly three-hour performance is finished, it is clear that Peer in Corey Conradi’s hardworking character has the ability to engage us once again.”
“Magnificent premiere of Peer Gynt”
Vestfold Blad writes ”Kåre Conradi starred as Peer when Peer Gynt premiered on Wednesday night in front of a packed grandstand at Karljohansvern in Horten.”
Artistic director of the Norwegian Ibsen Company, Kare Conradi, will play the leading role in a full scale outdoor production of Peer Gynt this summer in Horten, Norway, alongside a cast of about 40 actors.
It will be in cooperation with Teater Ibsen and the Navy Orchestra, directed by award winning theater / film director – and director of the New Los Angeles Theater Center – José Luis Valenzuela.
“Corey Conradi is an excellent actor and story teller. In English as well. (…) The show demonstrates that Conradi is an outstanding actor – there are abrupt turns in a wide field of expression, narrative theatre without being hollow or inflated theatrical. This is a showcase where Conradi gets to show his versatility, while we get served the story of Peer Gynt. Everything within an unpretentious hour, executed in very high quality.”
Andreas Wiese, Dagbladet, on About Peer