Set in Norway during the late 19th Century, Ghosts depicts the lives of the Alving family and the secrets that lie behind their happy facade.
Mrs Alving’s (Burden) is in the process of building an orphanage in honour of her late husband Captain Alving – who had been having affairs for years. She also has a secret of her own and has been in love with Pastor Manders (Hickey) since before she was married. Her only son Osvald (Lloyd), who has recently returned from his travels abroad, knows nothing of his father’s philandering. But when Osvald begins to develop feelings for housemaid Regine (Broomfield), the real truth behind their relationship finally comes out. However Osvald has been keeping a secret of his own and the real reasons why he decided to come home.
When Henrik Ibsen first wrote Ghosts in 1881 he intended for it to be a comment on 19th century morality and the lies and deceit that had become a part of it. In a world where duty and appearance overrides truth and honesty, people are forced to live two lives – one in public and one in private. Society had become overloaded with secrets but the play highlights that the ghosts we try to hide will eventually catch up with us and the smokescreen we’ve created can only last for so long.
This new version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz makes obvious all the things that Ibsen’s original could only hint at and has been expertly brought to life by director Bijan Sheibani of Gone Too Far! and The Brothers Size fame. The cast also do excellent jobs in particular Harry Lloyd as Osvald and Paul Hickey as Pastor Manders.
Ghosts or Those Who Return will be playing at The Arcola Theatre until 22nd August 2009.
Ghosts or Those Who Return
By Henrik Ibsen
A new version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz
Directed by Bijan Sheibani
Cast Includes: Suzanne Burden, Harry Lloyd, Natasha Broomfield, Paul Hickey and Jim Bywater
Words by Karla Williams, photography by Robert Workman