Theatre from Sfantu Gheorghe’s IBSEN version offered a well thought-out example to our own fragmented and atomized world. If you ask someone for his image of Ibsen there often will come back the caricature of a Scandinavian dramatist steeped in remorseless gloom. From this you see that I am also not a fan of it… So it has been a surprise for me to come across the play by Ibsen with a very different atmosphere.
The Lady from the Sea (1888) takes place over a few days towards the end of a long summer in Horatiu Mihaiu‘s version by (Hungarian) Studio M Movement Theatre from Sfantu Gheorghe. A kind of comedy with sunny tones in between the sound of the waves of the sea. The counterpointed love stories were presented by good actors with excellent talents to move their bodies over brilliant sound carpets, especially by piano and electro guitar.
While the story had its conversational character, the actors floated over the stage like waves in the sea, sometimes rough, sometimes very soft and smooth expressing the psyche of the protagonists with remarkable „pas de deuxs” mostly in form of modern dance. So it was for the quite young audience a visual transposition from the challenge for the women of the late 19th century – for whom the opportunities for self-realisation were limited while the obligations of duty were enormous – into the presence.
„It’s like the happiness we feel on a long late summer’s day – we can sense the dark winter days ahead. And that casts a shadow over us… just like driving clouds cast shadows over the fjord. It’s all so bright and blue – and, then, suddenly…” Ellida Wangel, the LADY FROM THE SEA.
The staging was brought to perfection by absolutely restrained and skillfully use of video media. This performance fitted perfectly to festival director Ranin‘s vision of the educational principle of BABEL festival: attracting people by big poet’s names and interesting up to date versions of staging. Thank you, Horatiu Mihaiu and Studio M Movement Theatre from Sfantu Gheorghe for offering a well thought-out example to our own fragmented and atomized world.
Dieter Topp, german journalist, guest at BABEL FESTIVAL