Peer Gynt

Premiére date20 Mar. 1975
Produced byThe National Theatre
Based onPeer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
AudienceAdults
LanguageNorwegian
ExpressionsDrama, Theatre
Running period20 Mar. 1975  —  26 May. 1975
Duration4 hours
WebsiteNationaltheatret, DigitaltMuseum, Ibsen.nb.no

About Peer Gynt

Peer Gynt (1975) was a theatre production staged by The National Theatre.Peer Gynt wasbased on the play by Henrik Ibsen with the same title. The production was staged at the main stage. The opening took part March 20 1975, to the day 147 years after the birth of Henrik Ibsen.

Edith Roger directed it.

Svein Sturla Hungnes (the young Peer), Tor Stokke (the adult Peer) and Knut Wigert (the old Peer) shared the role of Peer Gynt.

Evy Engelsborg acted in the role of Mother Aase.

The stage designer and costume designer was Lubos Hruza.

The production was part of the 75th anniversary celebration of The National Theatre. The expressed purpose of the production was to give Ibsen's text the onstage expression of a poem.

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Press review

Writer unknown, Peer Gynt premiereklar (literally: Peer Gynt ready for its premiere), Wednesday March 19 1975, Aftenposten [Oslo]:
"Because Ibsen not just describe Peer at three different ages, but also lets us meet him as a human being from time to time, one has chosen to split the main part in three. Svein Sturla Hungnes plays him as young. In the next act the former act The Old Man of the Dovre - Tor Stokke – has taken his place and in the last part of the performance Peer is played by the strange passenger - Knut Wigert."

Freya Gerstad, Freya Gerstad Reports on a new "Peer Gynt", June 5 1975, p.20, The Stage and Television Today [London]
"Grieg has of course been banished from this production, but apart from this and a few other modern innovations, such as the three cow-herd girls being dressed and acting straight out of 1975, the production follows fairly traditional lines. [...] Lubos Hruza brilliantly solved the décor problem by suspending huge white sheets of canvas from the flies. These could be pulled up into mountains, become a desert, tent, ship and so forth. Complementary lighting made this into one of the most beautiful scenic solutions I have ever seen."

Writer unknown: KB, Tre Peer Gynt-er på en scene (Three Peer Gynts on one stage), February 28 1975, publisher unknown:
"National Romantic the production is not, and the costumes are near timeless and placeless. The fundamental idea has been to perform it as a poem, and naturally, that has to be followed through on, in all parts."

Odd Eidem, Forgjeves angrep på Peer (literally: Attack on Peer in vain), Saturday March 22, page 19, Verdens Gang [Oslo]:
"A beautiful and practical stage solution Lubos Hruza has found, assisted by his strange and moveable 'tarpaulins' that sometimes create lyrical mountain tops, other times they are tents, then they are lifted as ceilings within a high hall, etc. [...] In short I think Edith Roger's plan for the direction is fundamentally without perspective, also when it comes to the length of time. [...] The performance consists of either snappy revue innovations or particularly beautifully posed poses. But little is connected to the rest! [...] Has Edith Roger ever considered why Solveig is even part of the play? Oh, yes, she probably has. But I don't think she has been able to find the answer. In the book, as one knows, she is only sporadically here and there, and she can be assigned many symbolic values. But onstage she must, knock my head, have another function than looking like a tourist memorandum on the fireplace shelf of Norwegian-Americans in Brooklyn. [...] We also experience some strong individual achievements. Such a clown-vital green-clad woman as the version of Frøydis Armand it will probably be difficult to find the equal of anywhere in the world. Here is a daredevil confident humour one can only applaud with gusto."

Aud Thagaard, Overdådig Peer Gynt. Med sangerpaodi (SIC) på Dovre og gyllent badekar i Afrika (literally: Extravagant Peer Gynt. With singer pa(r)ody at Dovre and a golden bathtub in Africa), March 1975, Dagbladet [Oslo]:
"The whole production of Peer Gynt is characterised by a magical swarming imagination that must exist in the instructor, Edith Roger, as well as in the stage designer Lubos Hruza. In the first part the imagination swarms with restraint. Blankets create sharp mountain peaks, lying down when the text demands it, for soon to get up in power and stature again. They are drawn carefully aside, opens to stairs with a façade with a clock, it can awaken associations to the food storage as well as the church. In the second part the true extravagancies show up. [...] The finest stage solution comes with the asylum, a room strictly held in black and white, in the middle a giant stair arrangement: An art (SIC) treadmill on which the sick and their guardians walk together, as reasonable is, when sense has recently passed away. [...] Following the visual impressions are sound effects. Here are fabulous dance acts in which sound from rhythmically stamping feet replace music, a whole little (unnecessary) pantomime with screaming seagulls. Dove-like love sounds can be heard from the green-clad woman (fabulously acted by Frøydis Armand) […] The very most of it is imaginative as well as artistic. It is only that there is so very much too much of it. Where does Peer's soul go in the throng of ideas? [...] It would be a shame if the spectators grew tired before the end is near, because that is when the best part of the performance comes: Knut Wigert's interpretation of the old Peer. Here one feels as if threads are connected back to the first Peer, it may be in the surroundings, in the lyricism, too. It is as if motifs once interpreted in major key now return in minor key."

Bengt Calmeyer, Endelig - Peer er sluppet fri! (literally: Finally - Peer is let free!), Friday March 21 1975, Arbeiderbladet [Oslo]:
"Now Edith Roger, assisted by a genius of a stage designer and excellent actors, blow up, wholly and fully and definitely the frame Ibsen's contemporaries set for Peer Gynt - as a national epic. [...] it is from abroad the most interesting Peer productions have come in recent years. [...] Not just a little of the honour for the final liberation of Peer Gynt from unactable dramatic poem until it now is presented as exciting, entertaining theatre, I think should go to the Czech stage designer Lubos Hruza, who has created the outfits the performance moves wearing. [...] He has also seen the hindering mountains, the towering clouds, deserts and oceans, and elements of these things exist in his decoration. But here these things are presented as flighty dreams, Gyntian hallucinations, bending after Peer, wave-like transformable as his mind and thought. [...] But the real surprise arrives with the old Peer and Knut Wigert. In Wigert there is nothing resigned nor lethargic nor old. [...] This is a man who is running out of time, who knows he is to die, and who doesn't fear death - but who is afraid of his lived life."

Turid Larssen, Interview with Knut Wigert: Fascinerende å spille Peer Gynt (literally: Fascinating to play Peer Gynt), Friday March 21 1975, Arbeiderbladet [Oslo]:
"I chose to read the poem more symbolic than realistic. From the scene with the ship and on I perceive the character independent of naturalist stage directions. [...] It is necessary to revise one's national poetry, to attack it from new sides. In that is renewal as well as a challenge. I could imagine that the next time around one could make a musical of the West Side Story kind. People would surely flock to a Peer Gynt production of the kind."

Olav Nordrå, Maratonforestilling med tre manns Peer (literally: Marathon performance with three men as Peer), 1975, Morgenbladet [Oslo]:
"The same way one has saved time through brilliant use of draperies. Humble reverence to Lubos Hruza. He has practically made the scene changes an exciting game. The spectator is moved through intricate lifts in the drapery from Heggstadtun to the mountain plateaus. Simply through a simple lift of the mountain plateau we are inside the hall of The Old Man of the Dovre. [...] Images shift as in a fabulous dream. Thus the stage design is something of the most fun with the whole production, it follows the changes in Peer's mind as clouds in the sky."

Kåre Fasting, Tre Peer'er og nye poenger (literally: Three Peers and new points), publisher unknown:
"In its celebration season of its 75th anniversary The National Theatre has celebrated Henrik Ibsen […] In the last phase of the jubilee Peer Gynt was first performed Thursday [...] the choreography makes every sequence seem plastically thoroughly considered and innovatively performed. But the stage arrangement is stylised in a way that mostly seems annoying. [...] It demands more than four hours to re-experience Peer Gynt the way the play is now performed at The National Theatre. One is often reminded of the longwinded school lessons with the material and also that Henrik Ibsen endlessly repeated that Peer Gynt was meant to be read - not performed onstage."

Odd-Stein Anderssen, Under ild fra tre kanoner (literally: Under fire from three cannons)Friday March 21 1975, Aftenposten [Oslo]:
"But then there is nothing particularly Norwegian in Peer Gynt the way we meet him again on the main stage. [...] Nobody could well in their wildest imaginations see Peer Gynt's manifold life surrounded by waves of sailcloth. Yes - Lubos Hruza has not just thought it and wanted it, but also made it real, and that to top marks. [...] The solution is efficient as well as effectual, but also has the risk of seeming monotonous in such a long performance. One eventually tires from all the white, but the decorator has foreseen this. In the last few scenes he shows the cloth in the dark. They are transformed into the dusk Peer meets on the Eve of his life. [...] To a larger degree than before the actors are admitted to give themselves to the art of the word. [...] the instructor who here reinstates the young Peer in the last image with Solveig. Due to this the scene finds its entirely correct character of an inner vision."