September 9, 2006
It's surprising that the great filmmaker Frank Capra never made a movie of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. Like the title character in Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ibsen's protagonist, Dr. Stockmann, takes on the political power structure. And like George Bailey in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, Dr. Stockmann is -- at least initially -- concerned with the welfare of the people. But at Washington's Shakespeare Theatre, with the exception of Joseph Urla's carefully nuanced Dr. Stockmann, most of the portrayals of Ibsen's characters come across merely as foils, lacking dimension or shading.
July 20, 2006
EXHIBIT WALTERS' PRECIOUS BOOKS It's an odd name for an unusual exhibit. Schatzkammer: Henry Walters' German Manuscripts, an exhibit of 24 medieval German manuscripts, is on display Saturday through Oct. 29 at the Walters Art Museum. Henry Walters amassed the collection of high-quality, rare and illustrated ninth-through-16th-century Gospel books, prayer books, liturgical manuscripts and theological texts throughout his lifetime. During the Middle Ages, precious books and possessions such as these were stored in the Schatzkammer, or treasury, of a church or palace for protection.
June 22, 2006
INIMITABLE IBSEN The lowdown -- In this centenary year of Henrik Ibsen's death, Olney Theatre Center's Potomac Theatre Festival is presenting two plays by the Norwegian dramatist. First up is Hedda Gabler, now in previews and opening Sunday. Under Halo Wines' direction, Julie-Ann Elliott portrays the title character, the perilously disenchanted new wife of a professor, played by Christopher Lane. Next month, the same actors will again play husband and wife - Dr. and Mrs. Stockmann - in director Jim Petosa's production of An Enemy of the People.
August 28, 2003
The Everyman Theatre is bringing an updated version of the classic Henrik Ibsen play Hedda Gabler to Baltimore next week. Written in 1890, Ibsen questioned the role of women in Victorian society through his protagonist Hedda, an affluent woman trapped in a marriage to a struggling scholar. The adaptation, written by acclaimed up-and-comer Jon Robin Baitz, stays true to Ibsen's work but cuts down on much of the original text and replaces it with a more modern vocabulary. "This is a new approach for Hedda -- it's sexy and dangerous and fun," said Deborah Hazlett, a member of the resident acting company at Everyman who plays Hedda.
September 15, 2002
Michael Bookspan, 73, a longtime percussionist for the Philadelphia Orchestra who was famed for his cymbal playing, died Thursday in Philadelphia of complications from heart surgery. A member of the orchestra since 1953, Mr. Bookspan, as principal percussionist, was known as a dynamic presence in the back of the ensemble. During his tenure, he played under three conductors and was widely recognized as an expert percussionist, especially with the cymbals. Rolf Fjelde, 76, a teacher and writer who translated the works of Henrik Ibsen into English, died Tuesday in White Plains, N.Y. Mr. Fjelde was best known for his translations of works by the Norwegian playwright, which are frequently performed.
November 1, 2001
Theda Bara, the legendary actress of the silent screen, was the original Vamp, but she pales in contrast to Hedda Gabler, the selfish, immoral and conniving vixen created by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen some 20 years before Theda started leading men to their cinematic doom. Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler, at the Kittamaqundi Theatre in Oliver's Carriage House in Columbia through Saturday, is the tale of a bored middle-class housewife married to an aspiring pillar of the community, scholar George Tesman.