Ibsen is much in demand at the moment — Ralph Fiennes stars in Ibsen's Brand at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket beginning May 29 (press night on June 4) — and this play is a fascinating choice by Trevor Nunn, directing his first drama since leaving the National Theatre.
The play's title, The Lady From The Sea, comes from the fact that the central character is irresistibly drawn to the ocean, where she swims compulsively. Subconsciously she is trying to reconnect with a previous lover, a sailor, with whom she celebrated a symbolic marriage, years before, by throwing two rings into the sea.
Having killed a man in a brawl, he was forced to leave forever, so the woman settled down to a marriage with a charming, loving, but unexciting doctor. One of several “unconscious” plays admired by Freud, The Lady From the Sea looks at the classic clash between the desire for security and comfort and that of romance and adventure. The play shows what happens when this divided loyalty is brought to a dramatic head — with the unexpected return of the sailor.
Natasha Richardson, daughter of Vanessa Redgrave, is part of the extended Redgrave theatre dynasty and has achieved considerable success on Broadway (particularly in the role of Sally Bowles, in Sam Mendes' production of Cabaret) as well as the West End.