First Nighter: John Doyle's Stripped Down 'Peer Gynt,' Cirque du Soleil's Broadwayed Up 'Paramour'
Huffington Post - 9 months
Henrik Ibsen is often considered the father of realism, but the citation is, more likely than not, a result of plays written later in a career that began in1850. It was Ghosts (1879) and A Doll's House (1881), that we think of as having conferred the realist title on him.
Until then, just about the only plays of his 26 that are remembered are Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867), both of which concern a man searching for himself and are in some ways similar. But whereas the former can surely be considered an early example of Ibsen's realistic bent, the latter--now the subject of a Classic Stage Company revival--cannot.
If anything, Peer Gynt is written in the abstract. It's adamantly allegorical, laden with poetic intensity. It's virtually surreal as it follows the title character on his journey to behave like himself in the company of any number of people he encounters along the way, perhaps the most prominent being his mother and Solveig, a young woman who would like to devote h
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