Based on Ibsen, Simon Stone writes and directs a grand family epic about the troublesome but inevitable coexistence of different generations under one roof.
After his stagings of an entirely contemporary Medea and Husbands and wives by Woody Allen, Simon Stone falls back on Ibsen. He already caused much ado internationally with his quirky adaptation of The wild duck, which was performed a few years ago at the Holland Festival. That adaptation was the starting point for Stone’s first and much-praised feature film The Daughter (2016).
In Ibsen house, Stone combines elements from the less well-known plays by Ibsen and rewrites them into something completely new. The starting point is the house built by the visionary architect Solness out of love for the much younger Hilda Wangel. Houses play a large part in the work of Ibsen. They are the place where relationships become clear: the complex relations between men and women, the difficult bond between parents and children. There is a reason why little Eyolf lives in a large house near the lake with his parents. The drama about Nora and her husband Torvald is not called A doll’s house for nothing.
Simon Stone about Ibsen house
‘The more I read Ibsen’s plays, the more I see that characters recur. Although they have different names, they bear the same features. Like they are cousins, sisters, daughters, sons of a single character, once imagined by Ibsen. The young, idealistic dreamer; the bankrupt industrialist, fighting for his legacy; the woman who is stronger than her husband, searching for meaning; the man who is haunted by his father’s actions throughout his life; the couple whose relationship falls apart into a chaos of sex, death and mutual accusation. In Ibsen house, I process this material into a story about different generations in one house. The rooms in this house are places of trauma and confrontation, but also of joyful memory. The house harbours the memory of each chapter from this family’s history in the way it jumps from one masterpiece by Ibsen to another. His entire work is permeated with a deep insight into families in times of crisis. Into wounds that do not heal. It is about how we struggle to be able to go on. About how we attempt to feel normal again after things have been far from normal for far too long.’