Little Eyolf is the latest installment in the popular and respected Ibsen Series, which has been quietly making its way through all 12 of the Norwegian master's major plays at the tiny upstairs space at the Center for the Performing Arts. The production will begin previews on Feb. 5 for an opening Feb. 10. Steve Ramshur will direct.
Ibsen wrote Eyolf during one of his most creative periods, at a time when he was creating The Master Builder and John Gabriel Borkman. The drama tells of a married couple, Alfred and Rita, whose fragile union is tested further by the death of their young son in an accident. Ibsen uses the incident to examine the nature of love and marriage, why we marry and what keeps us apart. Shaw and William Archer considered the work among Ibsen's greatest achievements. Still, since the famed Russian actress Nazimova performed in the New York premiere of the play, the play has been attempted only seldomly in the U.S.
The Ibsen Series' cast features Kurt Rhoads, Linda Marie Larson, Naomi Peters, Gabriel Maxson, Jonathan Press and Joyce Feurring.
The series is nearly at the end of its mission; by the end of 2002, founder J.C. Compton will have achieved his goal of staging each of Ibsen's great works. The Master Builder will run March 6-24, directed by Compton; John Gabriel Borkman plays April. 9-28, directed by Max Montell; and When We Dead Awaken will be mounted in November, with Compton again as director.
Perhaps now its time to dust of the Strindberg canon? Tickets are $15. The Center for the Performing Arts is located at 111 E. 15th St. off Union Square. Call (212) 279-4200.
—By Robert Simonson