Long before television became captivated by so-called Nordic Noir dramas, the Norwegian playwright Ibsen was writing controversial brooding stories with strong female characters taking the lead.
Sofia Helin as Saga Norén and Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund.
Before Sarah Lund and Saga Noren there was Helene Alving in ‘Ghosts’, a play being presented by Newport Playgoers at the Dolman Theatre.
In this brooding tale of suppressed Scandinavian sexuality, Helene is a woman who has spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel but outwardly charming husband.
Graeme Johnson as Manders, Clare Drewett as Helene, Jerry Grummitt as Jacob and Stuart Moss as Oswald in ‘Ghosts’. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)
She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his philandering father.
But on his return from his life as a painter in Paris, Oswald reveals how he has inherited the legacy of his father’s dissolute life and is being destroyed by syphilis.
Oswald (Stuart Moss) is nursed by his mother (Clare Drewett) and Regina (Fay Grummitt). (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)
This tale of family relations, malicious infections and distorted Victorian morals was considered shockingly indecent when it premiered in 1882.
Director Ruth Ferguson gives ‘Ghosts’ chilling new life in this production.
“The ghosts in Ibsen’s great play are not spirits but the dead ideas and customs that we inherit and find it almost impossible to escape,” she said.
Stuart Moss as Oswald and Fay Grummitt as Regina. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)
‘Ghosts’ by Henrick Ibsen is at the Dolman Theatre from Tuesday 12th – Friday 15th April at 7.15 pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday 16th at 2.30 pm. To book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.
The Cast of ‘Ghosts’ (PHOTO: BEN JONES)