John Gabriel Borkman

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Norwegian actress Linn Stokke (born 1961) as Frida Foldal at the Nationaltheatret of Oslo in 1979

John Gabriel Borkman is the penultimate play of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, written in 1896.

Plot[edit]

The Borkman family fortunes have been brought low by the imprisonment of John Gabriel who used his position as a bank manager to speculate with his investors' money. The action of the play takes place eight years after Borkman's release when John Gabriel Borkman, Mrs. Borkman, and her twin sister Ella Rentheim fight over young Erhart Borkman's future. Though John Gabriel Borkman continues the line of naturalism and social commentary that marks Ibsen's middle period, the final act suggests a new phase for the playwright, a phase brought to fruition in his final more symbolic work When We Dead Awaken.

Characters[edit]

  • John Gabriel Borkman
  • Mrs. Gunhild Borkman
  • Erhart Borkman, their son
  • Ella Rentheim, Mrs. Borkman's twin sister
  • Mrs. Fanny Wilton
  • Vilhelm Foldal
  • Frida Foldal, his daughter
  • Malene, housekeeper

Background[edit]

The play is based on an incident that Ibsen recorded from an earlier period in his life, the attempted suicide of an army officer who had been accused of embezzlement.[citation needed]

Revival[edit]

In 2010 a revival of the play was performed in the Abbey Theatre as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. In a new version by Frank McGuinness directed by James Macdonald, it featured actor Alan Rickman as John Gabriel Borkman, Fiona Shaw as his wife Gunhild and Lindsay Duncan as Ella.[1][2] The play had previously been performed in the Abbey Theatre in 1928.[3]

In 2011 the production moved to New York and received mixed reviews.[4]

References[edit]

External links[edit]