Plays

(the fall of) The Master Builder  

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Halvard Solness has arrived at the pinnacle of his career. He has just been awarded the prestigious Master Builder award, his beautiful wife still loves him, his beautiful secretary still flirts with him and Prince Charles is coming to open his new building tomorrow. Then a knock at the door propels Solness’ past into everyone’s future. The only way is down.

Zinnie Harris’s contemporary take on Henrik Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder, premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse in September 2017.

A Florentine Tragedy

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A Florentine Tragedy is a tragedy in blank-verse set in the sixteenth century. It tells the story of the illicit love between a burgher's wife, Bianca, and the young heir to the throne of Florence, Guido. Guido has come to the house of the burgher Simone to claim Bianca for his own. Encouraged by her, Guido promises a fortune to Simone in exchange for her hand. Simone, though greedy for the money, is not to be swayed so easily, and a fight to the death ensues.

Written in 1894, A Florentine Tragedy exists only as a fragment, often accompanied for the purposes of presentation by an opening scene commissioned from the Irish poet Thomas Sturge Moore by Robert Ross, Wilde's literary executor. Only Oscar Wilde's work is presented here.

Ghosts (trans. Lenkiewicz)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Norway, 1881. Mrs. Alving is ecstatic when her son Osvald visits after many years abroad. He has returned to celebrate the heroic memory of his dead father. But within hours of Osvald's homecoming his mother is forced to unearth the past and reveal its terrifying ghosts.

Rebecca Lenkiewicz's version of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, or Those Who Return, premiered at the Arcola Theatre, London, in a co-production with ATC in July 2009.

The Girl From Maxim's

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Discussing the manner in which a middle-class man is saved from retribution for an apparently illicit tryst by a level-headed woman of supposedly low morals, translator Kenneth McLeish writes that The Girl from Maxim's comes 'close to the Naturalist plays of the period in which bourgeois hypocrisy, especially in sexual matters, was satirised in more serious dramatic form.'

The morning after a heavy drinking session and Dr. Petypon is struggling to remember what he did the night before. Waking on his sofa to a sore head and a chamber in disarray, clarity begins to dawn on him, only to reveal, to his horror, that a show-girl from the Folies-Bergère is sleeping in his bed.

That girl, Shrimp, continues to be insinuated in the Petypons' life, and as the Doctor's wife must be avoided, and his uncle pacified, she proves herself to be a high-kicking, quick-thinking success.

The Girl from Maxim's is perhaps Feydeau's best-known play. It premiered at the Théâtre des Nouveautés, Paris, in 1899.

Heart's Desire Hotel

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

M. Pinglet’s plans for a romantic night at a seedy hotel with his neighbour’s wife, Marcelle, are thrown into disarray by the arrival of his friend Mathieu and his large family , and by his own wife’s close attentions to his comings and goings. Still, he manages to escape to the Heart’s Desire Hotel to meet with Marcelle. Sadly for him, so too does her husband, as well as many of their friends and acquaintances, who run a chaotic rule throughout a hotel which has many beds but no place to rest.

In his introduction, translator Kenneth McLeish writes: 'Heart's Desire Hotel (L'Hotel du libre échange) is justly one of the most famous comedies of assumed identity in the repertoire; the fact that the only couple to achieve any satisfaction is the young Maxime and Victoire, while the older characters remain frightened and frustrated, is entirely in keeping with the traditions of farce going back to classical times.'

Heart's Desire Hotel premiered at the Théâtre des Nouveautés in 1894.

video Hedda Gabler (BBC film adaptation)

BBC Video
Type: Video

Ibsen's classic story of a woman who sets out to destroy her husband and his smug, middle-class attitudes, but instead finds herself having to make a grave decision. This television production is related to the 1991 Abbey Theatre, Dublin production which transferred to the West End. Fiona Shaw had played the lead role in that production which was also directed by Deborah Warner.

Credits:

A BBC production in association with WGBH Boston. Director: Deborah Warner; Writer: Henrik Ibsen; Producer: Simon Curtis. Starring: Fiona Shaw (Mind Games), Brid Brennan, Donal McCann (The Serpent's Kiss), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game), Nicholas Woodeson (The Avengers).

Distributed under licence from Educational Publishers LLP

Hedda Gabler (trans. Friel)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Hedda Gabler returns, dissatisfied, from a long honeymoon. Bored by her aspiring academic husband, she foresees a life of tedious convention. And so, aided and abetted by her predatory confidante, Judge Brack, she begins to manipulate the fates of those around her to devastating effect.

Brian Friel's version of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler premiered at the Gate Theatre, Dublin, in September 2008, to celebrate the theatre's birthday, eighty years after the Gate's inaugural production of Ibsen's Peer Gynt.

Hedda Gabler (trans. Meyer)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Hedda Gabler is a hard and brilliant tragedy on the purposelessness of life, and a comment on the difficulty of finding personal fulfilment in the stifling world of late nineteenth century bourgeois society, particularly for women.

The eponymous Hedda is an electrically complex woman bored to death by her suburban life. Recently married to George Tesman, an academic happily absorbed in his obscure research, she returns from their honeymoon to a handsomely furnished house and a meaningless existence. In the drawing room, with an insidious judge, a wayward visionary writer and his loyal wife, she impulsively creates a dark, mercurial, anxious drama.

Ibsen wrote Hedda Gabler in Munich in 1890 shortly before his return to Norway. The play initially met with universal condemnation and misunderstanding. This translation was first performed in 1960 at the 4th Street Theatre, New York.

audio An Ideal Husband

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A tender love story, a serpentine villainess, a glittering setting in London society and a shower of Wildean witticisms are only a few of the reasons this play has enjoyed hugely successful revivals in London and New York. This 1895 drama also seems eerily prescient, as it explores the plight of a promising young politician, desperate to hide a secret in his past. With empathy and wit, Wilde explores the pitfalls of holding public figures to higher standards than the rest of us.

Includes an interview with Michael Hackett, the Chair of the Department of Theater at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to his extensive directorial work for L.A. Theatre Works - which includes plays by Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, and Noel Coward - Michael has directed for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the Royal Theatre at the Hague; and the Los Angeles Opera. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Rosalind Ayres as Lady Gertrude Chiltern Jacqueline Bisset as Mrs. Cheveley Paul Gutrecht as Vicomte de Nanjac Martin Jarvis as Sir Robert Chiltern Robert Machray as Phipps Miriam Margolyes as Lady Markby Alfred Molina as Lord Goring Jim Norton as Lord Caversham Yeardley Smith as Mabel Chiltern Directed by Michael Hackett.

Featuring: Rosalind Ayres, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Gutrecht, Martin Jarvis, Robert Machray, Miriam Margolyes, Alfred Molina, Jim Norton, Yeardley Smith

audio The Importance of Being Earnest

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This final play from the pen of Oscar Wilde is a stylish send-up of Victorian courtship and manners, complete with assumed names, mistaken lovers, and a lost handbag. Jack and Algernon are best friends, both wooing ladies who think their names are Ernest, “that name which inspires absolute confidence.” Wilde’s effervescent wit, scathing social satire, and high farce make this one of the most cherished plays in the English language.

Includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: James Marsters as Jack Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell Emily Bergl as Cecily Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism Christopher Neame as Chasuble Matthew Wolf as Algernon Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen

Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Emily Bergl, Charles Busch, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, James Marsters, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf, Sarah Zimmerman

Includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: James Marsters as Jack Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell Emily Bergl as Cecily Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism Christopher Neame as Chasuble Matthew Wolf as Algernon Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen

Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Emily Bergl, Charles Busch, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, James Marsters, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf, Sarah Zimmerman

Includes an interview with director Michael Hackett, Professor of Theater in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: James Marsters as Jack Charles Busch as Lady Bracknell Emily Bergl as Cecily Neil Dickson as Lane and Merriman Jill Gascoine as Miss Prism Christopher Neame as Chasuble Matthew Wolf as Algernon Sarah Zimmerman as Gwendolen Directed by Michael Hackett. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Emily Bergl, Charles Busch, Neil Dickson, Jill Gascoine, James Marsters, Christopher Neame, Matthew Wolf, Sarah Zimmerman