Wednesday 28 October 2009

ibsen gets it

In Ibsen's The Wild Duck the elderly Ekdal, who has suffered disgrace and imprisonment, sounds as if he's been reading Jared Diamond's Collapse.

Or he has seen this YouTube clip where David Attenborough explains what happened on Easter Island. Or he has studied Dr Seuss's drawings for The Lorax.

In the second act, the elderly Ekdal asks the merchant's son, Gregers, about the forest they both know around Hoydal.

EKDAL: How does the forest look up there now? Still good, eh?
GREGERS: Not as good in your day. It's been thinned out a lot.
EKDAL: Thinned out? Chopped down? Bad things will come of that. The forest'll have its revenge.
(Trans. Michael Meyer.)

The Wild Duck depicts a number of characters who have retreated from the real world into a make-believe one. The way that Ekdal and his son keep the animals in the attic is just one example. (Another of the play's green angles: Ibsen's wild duck presents the first laboratory animal on stage.)

pic: poster for Christopher Morahan's 1979 production at the National Theatre.

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