Monday, November 5, 2012

The Lady from the Sea / Fruen fra Havet

A couple of weeks ago I saw this play in our local theater: The Lady from the Sea (Fruen fra Havet) by Henrik Ibsen. This is one of Ibsen's lesser-known plays, and not so much shown as A Doll's House (Et Dukkehjem) or Ghost (Gengangere). 

We are in a little town deep within a fjord on (probably) the north-west coast of Norway.  There, in this narrow valley,  between steep mountains that only let you see a little piece of the sky, we meet Ellida, her husband: Doctor Wangel, and his grown daughters from a previous marriage Bolette and Hilde. 
Ellida is not happy.  She is constantly longing for the openness of the seashore, and she has never felt fully included in this family. She also carries with her the memory of another man, to whom she promised to be faithful many years ago. One day this man arrives at her doorstep, and she will have to make a choice: Leave her husband, or stay...

The play is all about love, and it is about having a purpose to your existence. It is also about choosing, trying to do what's right, about choices made out of fear and dreams of a different life...

It's really amazing that this play was written in 1888. Ibsen surely was ahead of his contemporary Norway, and today we can appreciate the everlasting relevance of his work.

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

This performance was by Riksteatret, which is a state owned theater company who tours Norway. They have a handful of plays every season, and they travel to many small towns (like my own) and even to the countryside, where there is no institutional theater.  The plays are set up in movie theaters or community halls.  Every year there is a new cast of professional Norwegian actors joining the company.
The Lady of the Sea is directed by Anne-Karen Hytten, and the lead actors are Marianne Nielsen and Lasse Kolsrud. See here for full cast and information.


  1. Hi!

    I found your blog when looking for the translated lyrics of "Jag Vill Alltid Älska" as I found it incredibly moving when I first heard it today.

    I know its Swedish now, but initially just based on sound, I wondered if it was Norwegian. :)

    I think it's really awesome that some of your entries were written in both Norwegian and English!

    As someone slowly learning Norwegian due to having a Norwegian boyfriend, it is always interesting to read what normal life is like in different culture. :)


    1. Thanks for your nice comment, and it's wonderful that you're learning Norwegian! (Swedish and Norwegian are so close that they're practically the same language.) Good luck to you :-)


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