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A Doll's House Sep 16, 1987

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University of British Columbia
Frederic Wood Theatre
Presents
A
Doll's
House
by
Henrik Ibsen
Directed by
Charles McFarland
September 16-26
1987
The Frederic Wood Theatre Magazine
A Seasonal Publication of University Productions Inc.
For further information regarding this
and upcoming publications call:
(604) 224-7743 Frederic Wood Theatre
Coming Attractions
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF BILLY THE KID by Michael Ondaatje
Directed by Arne Zaslove November 18 - 28, 1987
THE COLLECTED WORKS OF BILLY THE KID, by Michael Ondaatje, is a
crafted collage of violent and sensual scenes, songs and stories by one of
Canada's leading contemporary writers. Ondaatje has culled this epic play from
his Governor General's award-winning book. He evokes the myths of the wild
American West with searing language to create striking pictures of nature and
bizarre relationships. Billy the Kid, one of the most controversial folk-heroes of
the era, is presented as a complex observer/narrator of his own destiny and self-
destruction. The play explodes with dynamic imagery that excites the
imagination and stuns the senses.
JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK by Sean O'Casey
Directed by Stanley Weese January 13-23, 1988
Sean O'Casey (1880-1964) had a tragic attitude towards existence, yet was
capable of producing scenes of gorgeous laughter based on his profound
knowledge of lower-class city life. A born fighter, O'Casey was involved with
both the Irish labour struggle and the national uprising. He startled his
associates, however, by his condemnation of their most cherished fancies.
O'Casey's JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK (1924), a tragic-comedy characterized
by a rich sense of language and keen insight into character, is set against the
Irish revolutionary movement. It concerns a romantic boaster, Captain Jack
Boyle (the 'Paycock') and his drinking companion, the loveable yet utterly
useless Joxer Daly. Around these two a family circle is drawn - a fatal circle,
poverty-stricken, with death and the breaking of dreams leaving it shattered at the
end, yet ennobled by Juno, the Paycock's wife, a figure of pity and love.
A FLEA IN HER EAR by Georges Feydeau
Directed by Denise Coffey March 9-19, 1988
What better way to end the season than with one of the most hilarious comic
pieces ever conceived for the stage. First performed in 1907, Georges Feydeau's
A FLEA IN HER EAR has since attracted audiences all over the world. Any
discussion of farce will inevitably refer to this play, as all comic ingredients of
the genre here seem distilled with perfect craftsmanship. The ingenious
manipulation of the plot; the furious pace with which the improbably probable
events unfold; the richly drawn gallery of eccentric characters; the calculated
anarchy of it all: this irresistible mix has made A FLEA IN HER EAR a classic
farce, and beyond that, a classic of world drama.
For Information  and  Reservations  Phone:  228-2678
The 25th Season
At The Frederic Wood Theatre
The Frederic Wood Theatre was built during the great theatrical surge that
saw the inauguration of a number of Vancouver playhouses 25 years ago - The
Playhouse and the Arts Club, among them - each with its own role and function
in the community. The "Freddy Wood" Season, for the playgoers of the city, has
now become synonymous with a repertoire of classical plays usually appropriate
to the budgets of subsidised National theatres, or to the high-risk ventures
possible only in heavily subscribed theatres like ours.
As a teaching theatre, we have accepted a tacit mandate from the University
to present to our campus community of scholars and colleagues, and to the
public in general, a range of plays mirroring the dramatic achievements of the
theatre from Euripides to Beckett, and to keep alive the great traditions of the
stage from Shakespearean and Restoration modes to the radical innovations of
Pirandello and Brecht
Our primary intention to instruct our student actors, designers, and
technicians in a wide variety of traditional theatrical styles has been balanced,
moreover, by frequent experiments in the unconventional - by directorial
approaches which constantly revitalize familiar material and thereby avoid the
peril of turning the Frederic Wood Theatre into a mausoleum of what Peter
Brook has called "dead theatre". By blending a fairly orthodox season of plays
with an imaginative and progressive approach to staging them, we have managed
to establish over the years a distinctive and recognizable "house-style" at UBC.
Another of our goals as a university theatre has been to ensure accessibility
by keeping prices low, despite inflation and the great rise in production costs.
The Frederic Wood Foundation remains an invaluable source of funding, and I
should like to acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to the Wood family and our
various other benefactors on behalf of all who benefit from their generosity -
students and the theatre-going public alike.
We look forward to the next 25 years of Frederic Wood productions with
expectation of even greater successes, high hopes for improved facilities, a more
extensive season, the participation of the other Performing Arts departments in
our ventures, and the continued contribution of distinguished guest-artists to our
programmes. My sincere thanks and appreciation, finally, to our audiences
whose support remains the mainstay of our enterprise as a leading University
theatre.
^.AM-L (Qas^Ak
Errol Durbach Ibsen and 'The Problem of Women'
In May 1898, true to fashion, Ibsen affirmed his reputation for contradiction
and contrariness. To an over-enthusiastic attempt by the Norwegian Society for
Women's Rights to claim his partisanship, he uttered this well-known objection:
"I thank you for your toast, but must disclaim the honour of having
consciously worked for women's rights. I am not even quite sure what women's
rights really are. To me it has been a question of human rights. And if you read
my books carefully you will realize that. Of course it is incidentally desirable to
solve the problem of women; but that has not been my whole object...".
This is Ibsen at his most disingenuous. "The problem of women" is clearly a
central, not a merely incidental, issue in A Doll's House; and I imagine that he
was over-reacting to that tendency among his feminist supporters to reduce his
complex analysis of freedom in that play to a political issue. Read the book
carefully, he might have said, and you'll find a dialectical contradiction at its
centre; for Nora's slamming the door on the doll's house must be viewed in the
dramatic context of Mrs. Linde's motives for re-entering that secure domestic
world. "The problem of women" is that the need for liberation is countermanded
by an equally insistent need for the security of the doll's house, and to regard the
play as a recommendation to domestic revolution is to ignore its balanced
dramatic structure. And yet this is precisely the way in which an entire
generation of readers, in the 1960's and throughout the 1970's, was encouraged to
see it. Kate Millett's influential and persuasive Sexual Politics claimed Ibsen for
her militant sisterhood even more enthusiastically than the Norwegian Society
for Women's Rights. A Doll's House, she wrote, was a blow against the
patriarchy, with Nora as "the true insurrectionary of the sexual revolution...
battling the sexual politic openly and rationally... [with her band] of
revolutionaries." But the point of the play, I should have thought, is that there is
no band of revolutionaries and no sisterhood to support Nora in her heroic
decision. Her one potential ally - the friend who escapes from her intolerable
burden of "freedom" into domesticity - provides the dramatic counterpoint to
Nora's tragic impulse towards a lonely liberation. In 1879 it was Nora's
iconoclastic gesture that challenged explanation and defense. In 1987 it is Mrs.
Linde's surprisingly accommodating choice that challenges the liberated feminist.
But the meaning of A Doll's House is inseparable from the contradictory nature
of "liberation" at its dramatic centre.
It is Mrs. Linde who interests me. One by one, she has shed the ties, and the
roles that they imply, which confine the women to the doll's house. The unloved
and unloving husband is dead - the "wife" is free. There are no children of the
marriage - the "mother" is free. Her young brothers have all grown up - the
"nanny" is free. Her own ailing mother is dead - the "servant" and "nurse" are
free. Nora, ambiguously comfortable in her macaroon-filled Paradise, sustained
by deceit and a willing collaboration in her own suppression, is momentarily
envious of this free unshackled state: "What a relief it must be for you!" On the
contrary. It is not liberation that Mrs. Linde experiences at all. Her answer is
disconcerting: "No. Only unspeakably empty." She speaks instead of feeling
displaced and redundant, lonely, isolated, and useless: and she sums up her
condition, finally, in the harrowing metaphor of the flotsam to which her
existence has been reduced: "Here I am, like a shipwrecked woman in the
wreckage." At the end of the play, when Nora herself goes through an equally
harrowing ritual of selfdispossession and redefinition - "in total freedom", as she
insists - it becomes impossible to dissociate her emancipated life from the
context of shipwreck and alienation, the frustration of human needs and the
deprivation of wifely and motherly security that Mrs. Linde so poignantly
articulates: "No one to live for. ...No one to care about. No one to care for." The
free spirit who leaves the doll's house of shattered values does so absolutely
alone, without vocation, without support, a model of the devastation to which
she has heroically committed herself. For to choose such freedom is to look into
the face of death.
The tragic ambiguity of the free spirit in Ibsen's plays, lies in mankind's
entrapment between two equally compelling but seemingly irreconcilable needs:
the need for a free and autonomous selfhood, and the need for connections and
alliances with the world. Nora's bid for freedom, which asserts individuality, also
jeopardizes her security; and the self-liberating gesture may simultaneously
isolate and leave the individual anxious, uprooted, and uncertain. This, as I have
suggested, is the condition in which Mrs,. Linde finds herself, which she would
willingly forfeit in favour of the bonds of belonging and exchange her intolerable
burden of freedom for some kind of relationship to assuage her loneliness. To
achieve this without Nora's errors of submission to her husband, without Nora's
loss of autonomy in her marriage, is one way of liberating the doll even within
the confines of a doll's house - and, perhaps, in her relationship with Krogstad,
Mrs. Linde achieves some minor miracle. She may, in a marriage based upon
trust and honesty and dignity and genuine human need, be more essentially free
than Nora, who must step into the cold and unfriendly world as a tragically
isolated being. Nora (to borrow Erich Fromm's terms in The Fear of Freedom) is
free from the secure bondage of her doll's house - but not yet free to govern
herself or realize her individuality. And Ibsen leaves her at that moment of tragic
crisis where the strength of clarification and positive decision is counterbalanced
by the emptiness and the insecurity of her hard-won freedom. This is the first
phase of his deliberation on the idea of freedom and its fears, his first dramatic
image of an ambiguous emancipation which the women in his later plays - Mrs.
Alving, Rebekka West, Ellida Wangel, and Hedda Gabler - will enact in
increasingly more complex variations on a major tragic theme.
Errol Durbach
Reprinted, in part, from "Ibsen's Liberated Heroines and the Fear of Freedom,"
Contemporary Approaches to Ibsen, Volume V. Errol Durbach is Professor of
Theatre and Head of the Department at the University of British Columbia. The Impact of Ibsen
The evening of Friday June 7th, 1889 is a significant moment in the
cultural, social, and intellectual history of late nineteenth-century England. This
was the first real production of A Doll's House on the English stage, and it
signalled the beginning of a decade of spirited - and at times ferocious -
controversy about Ibsen's plays. When Ghosts opened in London in 1891, it
was denounced in the Daily Telegraph as "simple only in the sense of an open
drain; of a loathsome sore unbandaged; of a dirty act done publicly; or of a lazar-
house with all its doors and windows open"; and the newspaper asserted that
"Morality, Criticism, and Taste alike must certainly draw the line at what is
absolutely loathsome and foetid." To look back now at the abuse that was poured
on Ibsen's work a century ago is to realize what a sensitive nerve these plays
touched.
The Daily Telegraph's response to Ghosts concerned itself particularly with
what it (not too decorously) called "the gross, and almost putrid, indecorum of
this play," but it was not only the play's oblique references to venereal disease
and sexual misconduct that provoked a sense of unease. Ibsen's plays challenged
something deeper than a late Victorian commitment to propriety on the stage.
One reason why Ibsen's plays aroused strong anxieties is that audiences found
themselves looking at tragic, tormented characters whose lives were not so very
different from their own. In contrast to earlier plays by Ibsen set in a remote
Viking past, the middle and later plays that arrived on the English stage in the
1890's had contemporary nineteenth-century settings. Prominent among the
characters were those with such occupations as bank manager, photographer,
physician, university lecturer, and housewife. And the situations in which these
characters were placed were often close to ordinary middle class preoccupations
and tensions about such matters as career and money. A Doll's House, for
example, opens by bringing onto the stage a newly-promoted bank manager
speaking anxiously about his wife's extravagance over Christmas presents.
Beneath these surface tensions in Ibsen's plays there are the much more
disturbing forces that cannot easily find expression in speech, but make
themselves felt in dramatic gestures and in tremors beneath the language. The
threatening abyss of panic and emptiness, of personal collapse and failure, is
another reason for the shattering, disruptive power of Ibsen's plays, a hundred
years ago and today.
A further element in the impact of Ibsen's plays in the late nineteenth-
century is the way in which they call into question the moral certitudes. Among
the most certain of these Victorian certitudes was the sanctity of the family, and
in A Doll's House we have the picture of an ideal husband, his wife, and their
children, about to celebrate Christmas. Not only does the play undermine this
domestic paradise, but it keeps all the moral questions open. "I'm not content
any more with what most people say, or with what it says in books," Nora
declares near the end of the final act. "I have to think things out for myself, and
get things clear." The play leaves it to the audience to think things out and get
them clear. A Doll's House, like most of Ibsen's plays, subverts the established
moral categories, and creates a dramatic world in which people are compelled to
face moral challenges on their own, without the traditional supports. These
moral ambiguities, and the mere fact that moral questions are seriously and
insistently raised, help to explain Harley Granville Barker's comment on Ibsen in
relation to the English drama of the 1880's: "A fancy dress bazaar in the Vicarage
garden, with everyone enjoying it very innocently; suddenly the wind veers to
the east! Such was Ibsen's advent."
JonathanWisenthal
Jonathan Wisenthal is a distinguished Shavian scholar and editor, and author of
Shaw and Ibsen: Bernard Shaw's Quintessence oflbsenism and Related Writings.
He is Professor of English and Associate Dean of Arts at the University of
British Columbia. A Doll's House
by
Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Charles McFarland
Production
Adapted from the Christopher Hampton Translation
Set and Lighting Design by
Robert Gardiner
Costume Design by
Mara Gottler
Cast
Torvald Helmer Lawrence Kagan
Nora Helmer Victoria Maxwell
Dr. Rank Mark Weatherley
Mrs. Kristine Linde Janine Payne
Nils Krogstad Neil Gallagher
Anne-Marie Tracy Holmes*
The Helmer Children Ezra Cannon, Andrew Seebaran,
Kelly Sullivan
Errand Boy Randall Plitt
Helene Cathy Golf
Act I: Christmas Eve, late morning
Act II: Christmas Day, late afternoon
Act III: Boxing Day, mid-night
There will be two intermissions of 10 minutes.
*Appearing through the courtesy of
Canadian Actors' Equity Association.
Technical Director Ian Pratt
Properties Sherry Milne
Costume Supervisor Chelsea Moore
Set Construction John Henrickson, Don Griffiths,
Robert Moser
First Hand Celia Brauer
Stage Manager Elana Honcharuk
Assistant Stage Manager Randall Plitt
Properties Assistant Cathy Golf
Scene Design Assistant Katherine King
Lighting Design Assistant Kairiin Bright
Makeup Cynthia Johnston
Assistants to the Director Bruce Dow, Michael Groberman
Box Office Carol Fisher, Timothy Hyland, Linda McRae
House Manager Alan Brodie
Business Manager Marjorie Fordham
Production Norman Young
Acknowledgements
UBC Gates Hairdressers
Pappas Furs
The Vancouver Playhouse
Kyla Gardiner
Noah Cannon
Terry Kuzyk
Vancouver Youth Theatre
Thank you to all staff, faculty and friends who
loaned their Christmas decorations. A Doll's House
Notes from the director
There are two kinds of spiritual law, two kinds of conscience, one for men
and one, quite different, for women. They don't understand each other; but in
practical life, woman is judged by masculine law, as though she weren't a
woman but a man.
The wife in the play ends by having no idea of what is right or wrong;
natural feeling on the one hand and belief in authority on the other have
altogether bewildered her.
A woman cannot be herself in modern society. It is an exclusively male
society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess
female conduct from a male standpoint.
She has committed forgery, and she is proud of it; for she did it out of love
for her husband, to save his life. But this husband with his commonplace
principles of honour is on the side of the law and regards the question with
masculine eyes.
A mother in modern society, like certain insects, goes away and dies once
she has done her duty by propagating the race.
-Henrik Ibsen, Notes for a Modern Tragedy, 19.10.1878
Hypocrisy, pretexts, euphemisms and rationalizations are widely practised by
one or both partners in "successful" marriages.
Another factor which may perpetuate the union is the individual's particular
orientation to life. Many people are 'institution-oriented'. They conform to
society; the marriage vows must not be broken. A good marriage, they feel, is
not to be equated with personal happiness or self-fulfilment.
A more obvious reason that divorce is less frequent is that most people are
bound in marriage by "traps". There's the ecclesiastical trap: conscientious
Roman Catholics eschew divorce. The cultural trap: by tradition, Jews as well as
other groups hold sacred the cohesiveness of the family and the welfare of the
children. The career trap: society still penalizes, however subtly, the man who
leaves his wife. Top posts tend to go to the man with the 'clean' personal record.
The pride trap: many people are prepared to endure a private hell rather than
publicly admit that they have failed at marriage.
Separations and divorces are more likely if one of the partners is 'person-
oriented', which is to say he thinks in terms of self-fulfilment, self-realization
and personal happiness.
Of the small proportion of good man-woman relationships, a surprisingly
high number are carried on outside of marriage. Usually the man, the woman, or
both are married to somebody else. The extramarital relationship with "the other
woman" (or man) often has many constructive qualities. These are frequently
important, meaningful and central in the lives of the two people concerned.
About half the time the other spouse is aware of the relationship, and often
condones it. Often the extramarital affair does not include sex yet still retains its
significance.
The Mask of Modern Marriage, Macleans 19.10.1963
What, then, is that incalculable feeling that deprives the mind of the sleep
necessary to life? A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a
familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of
illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy
since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised
land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly
the feeling of absurdity.
-Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus
Living is a war with the trolls
In the depths of the mind and heart;
Writing means summoning oneself
To court and playing the judge's part.
- Henrik Ibsen
Charles McFarland - Director
Born in England of Canadian parents, raised in Stratford-upon-Avon and
graduating from Cambridge University, Charles McFarland returned to Toronto,
his family home, in 1981. Since then, his work has been seen across Canada,
and he has spent three seasons at the Stratford Festival as assistant director of
Separate Tables, Antigone, The Beaux' Stratagem and Pericles, directing the
1985 Young Company in a special production of Shakespeare and Fletcher's The
Two Noble Kinsmen.
His work ranges from Children of a Lesser God and Sail-Water Moon at
Halifax's Neptune Theatre, Educating Rita and a one-character play about Truman
Capote at London's Grand Theatre, and a new version of Sophocles' Ajax for
Equity Showcase Theatre in Toronto to a collaborative adaptation of Dario Fo's
We Can't Pay? We Won't Pay! at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and a season's
training with the Canadian Opera Company, assistant directing Lucia di
Lammermoor, Adriana Lecouvreur and Rigoletto.
For the 1987-88 season, Mr. McFarland is an associate director of the
Manitoba Theatre Centre, directing Joe Orton's Loot and Athol Fugard's The
Road to Mecca; he also returns to Neptune Theatre for a Christmas production of
a modern-dress Cinderella. Henrik Ibsen
A Brief Chronology
1828 Henrik Johan Ibsen born at Skien in south-east Norway on 20
March, second child of Knud Ibsen, a merchant, and his wife
Marichen, nee Altenburg.
1834-35       Father becomes ruined. The family moves to Venst0p, a few miles
outside Skien.
1844 Ibsen (aged fifteen) becomes assistant to an apothecary at Grimstad,
a tiny seaport further down the coast. Stays there for six years in
great poverty.
1849 Writes his first play, Catiline (in verse).
1851 Is invited to join Ole Bull's newly formed National Theatre at
Bergen. Does so, and stays six years, writing, directing, designing
costumes, and keeping the accounts.
1856 The Feast at Solhaug acted at Bergen: his first success.
1858 Marries Suzannah Thoresen. The Vikings at Helgeland staged: a
failure.
1859 His only child, Sigurd, born.
1860-61        Years of poverty and despair. Unable to write.
1864 The Pretenders staged in Christiania: a success. He leaves Norway
and settles in Rome. Remains resident abroad for the next 27 years.
1867 Writes Peer Gynt, in verse, in Rome, Ischia, and Sorrento. It, too,
is a great success; but is not staged for seven years.
1871 Revises his shorter poems and issues them in a volume. His
farewell to verse: for the rest of his life he publishes exclusively in
prose.
1876 Peer Gynt staged for the first time.
1879 Writes A Doll's House in Rome and Amalfi. It causes an
immediate sensation.
1881 Writes Ghosts in Sorrento and Rome. It is violently attacked: all
theatres reject it, and bookshops return it to the publisher.
1884 Writes The Wild Duck in Rome and Gossensass. It, and all his
subsequent plays, were regarded as obscure and were greeted with
varying degrees of bewilderment.
1886 Writes Rosmersholm in Munich.
1890 Writes Hedda Gabler in Munich.
1891 Returns to settle permanently in Norway.
1892 Writes The Master Builder in Christiania.
1894 Writes Little Eyolf in Christiania.
1896 Writes John Gabriel Borkman in Christiania.
1899 Writes When We Dead Awaken in Christiania.
1900 First stroke: partly paralysed.
1901 Second stroke: left largely helpless.
1902 Dies in Christiania on 23 May, aged 78.
cSsWSS?,!,'
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52 Years and Counting
On October 24, 1935, David Fairleigh celebrated his 19th birthday
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With the recent closing of the Dunbar and Varsity theatres, The
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with an enjoyable alternative to the downtown film complexes.
David and his staff are looking forward to the theatre's 53rd birthday
and welcome all to come and enjoy a film at The Hollywood.
The Hollywood Theatre
3123 West Broadway
738-3211
Schedules for upcoming
films are available at the
theatre, in the Vancouver Sun
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Double Feature Admission Prices
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special gift. Choose a 999 Pure silver
or gold piece of jewellery, designed
and handcrafted by Gold & Silversmith Erich Grill.
A fabulous collection of pearls and
semi-precious stones
at very reasonable prices.
Tues.-Sat. 10-5.30 p.m.
PANACHE, 4475 West 10th Ave.,
224-2514.
SPUSh
Vi
Bath Boutique A
Not Your Average Bath Store
4471 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V6R 2H8
224-3888
Licenced Bistro
Open daily
A place of
culinary comfort,
serving breakfast,
lunch and dinner.
A Place to Remember
3763 West 10th Ave.
224-5558
<*
£
!££i\]-J\Fi3
ADULT ACTING  CLASSES
263 18j38,^   , ^3 Bj^.,

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