Noorrrraaaaaaa after Ibsen
The Gorki Theater, Berlin
By: Angelika Jansen - Sep 21, 2021
Nora at the Gorki Theater in Berlin
Just be aware. The premiere of Nora at Berlin's smallest theatre, The Gorki Theater, offers anything but the expected story line of Henrik Ibsen's famous 1879 play about a woman stepping out of a comfortable upper middle class family life to become independent. It has been staged by the Gorki Theater in Berlin as a soul searching quest of two women. The director of the play, Leonie Boehm calls it Noorrrraaaaaaa after Ibsen.
Sounding like a long scream, if you were to pronounce it, it has another duplicity to consider. Is it meant to be according to Ibsen or after the times of Ibsen, meaning set in contemporary times ? The stage setting by Zahava Rodrigo does nothing to clarify the situation. Nora and her friend (Julia Riedler and Svenja Liesau) dwell in homoerotic indulgences, sometimes joined by the harp-playing musician, Stefan Czura, but it could be anywhere or anyplace. Contrary to expectations, it is not an erotic play, the protagonists seem in constant search for answers to – a place to live, a place to belong, a place to rest. Thus the play becomes synonymous with the eternal search of men for independence and freedom, a question mark as well as a cry for help.
The dramatic stage setting, a huge backdrop of two faces looking into the audience and the real figures below moving squirmingly on the ground, underscores the importance of the search for a meaningful life. It is a thoughtful and personal work, set into anonymous time and space. Designed as a quest for togetherness and warmth in a relationship, it delivers just that. All ends well - very much in contrast to Ibsen's work. It also diverges from the Gorki Theater's usual bend towards political art, unless a potentially new direction of the theatre points into a different, more personal approach in their mission. What remains is the projection of English dialogues onto the wall.