Written at the dawn of the 20th Century, Ibsen’s final play stares out at us with the feverishness of an artist looking death in the eye and laughing. As an epilogue completing the cycle of dramas that began with A Doll’s House, it tells the story of Rubek, an aging sculptor who has lost all interest in the world around him. In spite of his wealth, his fame, and the attentions of his beautiful young wife, he can find no joy in his existence until jolted out of his stupor by an unexpected visitor from the past. He believes that, together, they can make each other whole again… but there is a terrible price to be paid.
Ibsen’s symbolist psychodrama is full of dark brushstrokes and mocking flourishes: a frenetic attempt to balance form with poetry, the act of creation with absolute annihilation.