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The Lady From The Sea
by Henrik Ibsen, Trans. By Eleanor Marx Aveling
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As you might expect of the work of one of the founders of Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe, Bernard Sahlins' new translation of Beaumarchais' classic eighteenth-century farce is considerably looser and more accessible than other versions currently in print. Chuckling through the printed version of the play, you can see its appeal for an audience more interested in entertainment than in the play's importance as an influence on French theater and, via Mozart's famous musical adaptation, on the history of opera. Yet Sahlins' "speakable" version of the play sacrifices little of its spirit or of the pointed class distinctions of the French court of its time. Nor does Sahlins, in making the original play palatable to a contemporary audience, denature Beaumarchais' two great comic creations--the wily, wise valet Figaro and his equally wily, beautiful wife-to-be Suzanne remain living, breathing characters, as amusing and likable to us today as they were two centuries ago. Jack Helbig
Sensual gaiety is at the heart of this comic masterpiece which continues the merry tale of the little barber of Seville, a clever common man whose wits overcome his superiors who would suppress him. Plays for Performance Series.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
(SCENE. - DOCTOR WANGEL'S house, with a large verandah garden in front of and around the house. Under the verandah a flagstaff. In the garden an arbour, with table and chairs. Hedge, with small gate at the back. Beyond, a road along the seashore. An avenue of trees along the road. Between the trees are seen the fjord, high mountain ranges and peaks. A warm and brilliantly clear summer morning.
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Play in five acts by Henrik Ibsen, published in Norwegian as Fruen fra havet in 1888 and first performed in early 1889. It was the first of several mystical psychological dramas by Ibsen. The play traces the increasing distraction of Ellida Wangel, the second wife of Dr. Wangel. She is obsessed with images of the sea because she once loved a sailor who promised to someday claim her. When the sailor does arrive, her husband releases her from her wedding vows. This act restores her equilibrium and breaks the sailor's spell over her.
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