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Topic Summary

Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:59:13 PM »

I really liked what David said about the soldier in Blasted being like the 'Outsider'. The Outsider is essential in Pinter's work, which I think was mentioned in the original message on this subject. What I find interesting, is the subversion of an established dramatic tradition in Blasted. The first half is very "natural", in the sense that we see a real room, we assume these are actual characters, not expressionist metaphors. Then Sarah pulls the rug out from under our feet: destroying the hotel room, the suspension of disbelief and the audience's precnceptions of what theatre is. At the top of the play, we may expect to see an interesting 'kitchen sink' drama, about long suffering Kate and her idiot boyfriend(?). Baby eating is probably not on the menu... Ibsen was a really interesting guy. He started writing romanticism (Peer Gynt, etc) then defined naturalism (Doll's House) then introduced the world to Symbolism and was hailed as the leader of this new genre (Master Builder). Perhaps Sarah has managed to cover the last 100 years of theatre in one play, including some entirely original thoughts too...

Archive 19-10-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:57:52 PM »

Mmmm, very familiar. Makes me recall now that "Ghosts" and "A Doll's House" were scandalous and controversial when first staged - in fact the initial reception to most of Ibsen's later plays when they first reached the UK and Europe was profoundly negative. A journalist asked me yesterday if I'd ever want to stage "Blasted" and I replied that I'd be interested but sceptical of finding actors prepared to do some of the things the script requires of them...and now I recall there's an alternate version of "A Doll's House" with a happy ending, written reluctantly by Ibsen because many prominent 19th century actresses absolutely refused to play the ending as originally written, because it was considered so shocking!! David

Archive 26-6-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:56:49 PM »

Interesting stuff, David.

A review of Ghosts when it came out called it "a loathsome sore unbandaged; a dirty act done publicly".

Sounds familiar


Archive 26-6-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:54:32 PM »

In Ibsen's last chunk of plays (from 1881 onwards) he went for a specific kind of naturalism - up until then he'd written big clunky verse plays with huge casts - "Brand", "Peer Gynt" and so on. The kind of naturalism in "Ghosts", "Dolls House", "The Master Builder", "Hedda Gabler" and the other famous ones of that last period has some kind of bearing on "Blasted", I think. They're all about a small group of characters in one specific location, within a contained time frame. Hence "A Doll's House" takes place in the one room in the one house over a couple of days with only 5 characters (apart from the Helmers' children and servants). Theatre in INTENSIVE mode as opposed to EXTENSIVE (extensive being, I guess, all the Renaissance epics with huge casts, numerous locations and a plot that unfolds over a long period of time - like "The Winter's Tale" or "Pericles" set in several countries and a story that spans 16 years). "Blasted" is essentially Intensive, with the only problem being the seasons, which would indicate that the action of the story takes a long time to unfold. But like Ibsen, any back story between Cate and Iain is woven into the narrative that's there - we don't lose anything by not seeing their previous meetings/encounters. The other majorly important thing in Ibsen, which has only just occurred to me, is the impact of the Outside World. While Intensive Theatre generally takes place indoors with a small cast of characters, the outside world is always represented by the Stranger, or the person from the past who arrives and shatters everything. In "A Doll's House" Nora's old friend Kristine, who holds the key to all the secrets in the play, turns up after years of absence. In "The Master Builder" the young girl Hilde turns up to stay and she's the person that turns everything into chaos for Solness. In "The Lady From The Sea" Ellida's lover from years ago, who she thought was dead, comes back to reclaim her. In every case, someone from the outside world penetrates the safety and security of the inner world and ruins everything. "Blasted"? Well, I guess the Soldier fulfils that role in many ways - literally ruining everything. It's Winter here but the sun has been out the last few days - not that I have seen it, as I'm spending all my days shut up inside a dark theatre rehearsing the New Zealand premiere of "Crave", which opens next week.

Archive 25-6-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:53:24 PM »

Thanks David. I know there must be also something related to naturalism. Any idea about naturalism in Blasted and in Ibsen? Tomorrow here it may rain, hopefully.

Archive 24-6-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:53:00 PM »

Most obvious Ibsen-Blasted connection that springs to mind is the weather in "Ghosts". Works in a different way but has a similar kind of importance. In "Ghosts" it rains the whole way through; the sun only comes out at the very end when Osvald (is that the character? must check) finally goes completely insane from syphilis. Also, now that I think about it, "Ghosts" has a similar structure to "Blasted" in which important action happens between scene breaks - you know, in "Blasted" the explosion and the soldier's suicide are during the scene breaks, and in "Ghosts" the orphanage (is it an orphanage? will check) burns down between scenes. Am sure there're lots of other things drawn from Ibsen plays but "Ghosts" is the immediate one that comes to mind when I think of "Blasted".

Archive 23-6-2002
Posted by: archive
« on: August 20, 2007, 10:52:23 PM »

Dear frinds! Do you have any hint about the connection between Ibsen and Blasted, because Sarah declared that she was inspired by Pinter and Ibsen for the first third for the play, but after reading two booklets about Ibsen I still don't seen any point of contact!! May because here in Italy is too hot to think. I hope's better in England! Thanks Gaia

Archive 23-6-2002