After a 2003 that saw The Master Builder (with Patrick Stewart and an award-winning turn from newcomer Lisa Dillon), Brand (starring Ralph Fiennes for the RSC) and Ghosts at the Barbican all playing simultaneously, A Doll’s House will open at the Barbican on Feb. 11. But this is not Ibsen as we know it. German director Thomas Ostermeier has updated the play, which is to be performed in German with English subtitles as part of the venue’s international theatre season (BITE). Updated to the present day, the famous slamming of the door at the play’s end might not have quite the same resonance as it did in the nineteenth century — since the break-up of marriages is hardly uncommon.
Ostermeier, who is bringing the production from the Schaubuhne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin, told the London Times, “A woman leaving her husband and children is not a big shock now when so many marriages end in divorce.” He has come up with an ending that promises to up the ante on the shock front. And Ostermeier told the newspaper, “We’d rather have something like this, where everybody leaves saying: ‘That’s too much! It’s not possible!’ than ‘Oh, what a wonderful show. So nice.’”
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