Monday, July 26, 2010

Aimless Reading: The I's, Part 1 (Henrik Ibsen)

Four Major Plays
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Ibsen, Henrik
Four Major Plays

I know I have had this since I was in college, but I am not sure where or why I bought it. I don't ever recall using it as a textbook.

About ten years ago, a friend of mine, Kristen Gasser, played the role of Nora in "A Doll's House" at the Irish Classical Theatre in Buffalo. She gave me a free ticket, so I went to check it out one Sunday afternoon. It was late fall, and I was wearing a heavy leather jacket my brother had given me for Christmas the year before. I handed in my ticket in the lobby and entered the theatre, which seats about 150.

To my right as I entered there hung a wooden coatrack with four pegs. I took off my leather jacket it, hung it on the first peg, and sat down in the front row. After the theater filled, the lights dimmed and the play commenced. Kristen entered first, carrying a bundle of something which she set on the table. A moment later another character entered wearing a heavy coat, which he proceeded to remove and, yes, hang on the coat rack next to my leather jacket. He was followed by another character, then two more, each wearing heavy coats they removed and hung on the rack.

Finally, when the fourth took off his coat and realized there was no peg in place for it, he scanned the coats and then, having discovered the offending outerwear, pulled my coat off the rack and tossed it into the empty back row as I cringed with shame.

from A Doll's House

[SCENE.--A room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not extravagantly. At the back, a door to the right leads to the entrance-hall, another to the left leads to Helmer's study. Between the doors stands a piano. In the middle of the left-hand wall is a door, and beyond it a window. Near the window are a round table, arm-chairs and a small sofa. In the right-hand wall, at the farther end, another door; and on the same side, nearer the footlights, a stove, two easy chairs and a rocking-chair; between the stove and the door, a small table. Engravings on the walls; a cabinet with china and other small objects; a small book-case with well-bound books. The floors are carpeted, and a fire burns in the stove.

It is winter. A bell rings in the hall; shortly afterwards the door is heard to open. Enter NORA, humming a tune and in high spirits. She is in outdoor dress and carries a number of parcels; these she lays on the table to the right. She leaves the outer door open after her, and through it is seen a PORTER who is carrying a Christmas Tree and a basket, which he gives to the MAID who has opened the door.]

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