Ghosts –StageWorks

by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Lanford Wilson

October 11 at 2:00pm & October 12 at 7:30pm

In 1881 Ibsen rocked the literary and theatrical worlds with this scathing commentary on 19th-century morality, immediately generating controversy so strong that even the head of one of Stockholm’s major theaters called it “one of the filthiest things ever written in Scandanavia”.   Once the uproar had died down, audiences proved far more receptive to GHOSTS than the literati had initially been, and while its dramatic subjects of promiscuity, incest and sexually transmitted disease no longer arouse the feverish denunciations of Ibsen’s time, their treatment retains the power that has made the play a masterpiece of Western literature.

Ghosts premiered in May 1882 in the United States, when a Danish touring company produced it in in Chicago, Illinois, at the Aurora Turner Hall. Ibsen disliked the English translator William Archer’s use of the word “Ghosts” as the play’s title, as the Norwegian word Gjengangere would be more accurately translated as “again walkers” or “The Revenants”, which literally means “The Ones who Return”.  Norwegians also use this term for people who frequent the same places, whether pubs, parties, opening nights, or other occasions, so it has a different meaning and connotation than the English word “ghosts”.

A Broadway revival of Ghosts ran from 30 August to 2 October 1982 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York City, and starred Kevin Spacey as Oswald in his Broadway debut. The cast included Edward Binns, John Neville (who also directed the production) as Pastor Manders, Liv Ullmann as Mrs. Alving, and Jane Murray as Regina.

In this crackling new translation, celebrated playwright Lanford Wilson has revivified GHOSTS for a new audience, and as we too continue to confront the specter of horrifying sexual disease, GHOSTS has never seemed more profoundly relevant.

“…a crisp, clear and often lyrical translation…” —Arizona Daily Star.

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