Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is generally considered to be the father of modern drama, whose influence on theatre of the last hundred years has been incalculable. Although his international reputation in his lifetime was as naturalistic social dramatist, who raised hitherto “unacceptable” subjects such as small town corruption (The Pillars of Society, An Enemy of the People), women’s right to independence (A Doll’s House) or hereditary syphilis (Ghosts), his true greatness lies in creating tragedy within a domestic setting and in prose. His last plays (The Master Builder, Little Eyolf, John Gabriel Borkman, When We Dead Awaken) are among the summits of European theatre: remarkable not only for their psychological realism but also for their breadth of vision.
Brand was written in Rome when Ibsen was 36, and had suffered years of failure and poverty. Its publication finally established his reputation in Scandinavia. Written in verse (as was the “comedy” Peer Gynt, which followed it), its uncompromising nature (“All or nothing”) and its insistence upon being true to oneself to an extreme degree was a foretaste of what was to come.
Brand is a priest who is fired by a mission to attack spiritual sloth. His task as he sees it is nothing less than a regeneration of mankind. To this end he sacrifices not only his own life, but also those of his wife and child. No-one can live up to his standards, including himself. His life is a failure, but a magnificent one. And in this sense the play may be regarded as the last great verse tragedy in European drama.
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, 2006-04-24
“Eclectic Theatre, a professionally operated amateur theatre company, presents the verse drama Brand as classic tragedy. […] Rüdiger Kettritz as Brand is infused with sufficient missionary enthusiasm and – which is especially appropriate - one cannot guess, if he is good or bad. This makes the production coherent. […] Everything is intense, dense and tragic.”
Freie Amateurtheaterzeitung, issue 2/2006
“This rarely performed piece by the Norwegian poet was premiered successfully in Theaterhaus RUDI on 20th April by Eclectic Theatre e.V., the most recent member to join LATS (Landesverband AmateurTheater Sachsen e.V.). […] In the open, clearly defined space - three acting areas - the production makes do with only a few properties and little scenery, with one exception. Bright lines which continually change direction split up the space, as a symbol of the convolutions of the life of the protagonist, and also as the defining limits of the acting space. […] The use of the dimensions of the stage area for the many different places of action is thoroughly cleverly chosen, and meaningfully backed up by the lighting and sound design. […] The scenes with the villagers were beautiful: here a great aesthetic atmosphere was palpable.”
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