Peer Gynt

Peer Gynt (1978) was a puppetry production by The Norwegian Touring Theatre, based on the play by Henrik Ibsen. It went on tour the autumn of 1978, with its tour opening in Lillehammer November 1.

Romanian director Margareta Niculescu directed it.

The role of Peer Gynt was played by the Romanian actor/puppeteer Justin Grad. Parts of Peer's text was performed by the actors Toril Gording and Noralv Teigen.

Peer Gynt was the third production produced by The Norwegian Touring Theatre's puppetry division.


(Objekt ID 44123)
Object type Production
Premiere Navember 1, 1978
Produced by The Norwegian Touring Theatre (Riksteatret),
Based on Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
Audience Youth, Adults
Audience size 4127
Number of events 40
Language Norwegian
Keywords Puppetry, Drama, Theatre, Masked Theatre
Running period Navember 1, 1978  

In the playbill for Peer Gynt, director Margareta Niculescu wrote the following, among other things:

"Why use puppets? Because it is exotic and picturesque? The answer lies in the puppets' ability to express the tragic, in their richly grotesque opportunities, their irony, maliciousness, in their ability to create a theatrical synthesis. And because the puppets...... are poetry in themselves."

In a press release from The Norwegian Touring Theatre, dated October 16, 1978, the following, among other things, is written:

"The Peer Gynt now sent on tour by The Norwegian Touring Theatre, looks different than any Peer Gynt we have ever seen. The performers onstage are puppets, but this does not mean that The Norwegian Touring Theatre plans to make Ibsen's epic work into a production for children. (...) The puppets in Peer Gynt are also unusual, this time. Instead of moving them with the assistance of strings, rods or hand movements, the puppeteers have now wriggled into them, and the stage designer - Ella Conovici - (...) has used her complete knowledge of puppetry in creating the very special effects this technique invites."


Einar Dahl's private archive, donated by Einar Dahl, 10.11.2014

Mona Wiig's private archive

The Norwegian Touring Theatre's archive, playbill from the production

Press release from The Norwegian Touring Theatre, dated October 16, 1978

Performance dates
Press coverage

Liv H. Røed, Verdens Gang November 2, 1978:

"A picturesque feast for the eye, and a true joy for the ear. If one thinks that puppetry is only for children, one has to think again. This is theatre for the whole family. (...) Justin Grad is new at these latitudes, but has years of puppetry expertise behind him. He made Peer strangely real in front of our eyes, and it is impressing to note how coordinated the puppet and the voice were, considering that Grad had to play against an unknown language."

Aftenposten November 3, 1978:

"Inside of Puppet Peer, Romanian Justin Grad spends the evening. He is one of Romania's best known puppeteers. One cannot avoid to be the most impressed by the physical and the linguistic effort - his movements are coordinated to lines in a lanugage he cannot understand too much of. But the whole of the puppet theatre's ensemble - Knut Alfsen, Pål Brantzeg, Marianne Edvardsen, Stein Grønli, Christine Stoesen and Anne Stray - makes an impressive effort in the thorough work it must have been to put this production together. Steinar Ofsdal has written evocative music, and Toril Gording and Noralv Teigen are given the joy of singing two of Peer's monologues."

Bengt Calmeyer, Arbeiderbladet November 4, 1978:

"It will, for more than me, be a strange discovery. More than that. One will see that in this production of Peer, parts of Ibsen's dramatic poem is given a stronger expression than when the usual form of theatre is used. The reason is likely the very obvious, that in puppetry, any demand for naturalism is void. As Max Frisch says: Puppetry can't for a moment be mistaken for reality."

Erik Pierstorff wrote the following, among other things, in his review in Dagbladet:

"They (the puppets, Sceneweb's comment) are not like anything I have seen onstage before. (...) They are human-sized and the puppeteer is inside of the puppet. The head of the puppet is on top of the head of the man or woman inside. This gives each puppet a special, very strange and - as the performance progresses - rather stereotypical look. The contrast between the head area and the fully stiff torso on one hand, and the pretty movable and naturalistic arms on the other became rather distracting. And then there is the issue that the poor puppeteers must be able to see to be able to perform. At the centre of the puppets' throats, around where one could imagine an Adam's apple, one senses the puppeteers' faces, even more when the fabric is thinner here, so that the puppeteers can see. But then we can also see them."