Friday, August 20, 2010

Ibsen’s Enduring Influence

Did you know that, next to Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world? I knew that Ibsen was an influential playwright, but I was still surprised to learn this fact while editing “10 Artists Who Shaped a Nation,” part two of our Notable Norwegians series for the September issue of Viking.

In the article, Jan Sjåvik, professor of Scandinavian studies at the University of Washington, calls Ibsen “amazingly current…and amazingly interesting.” This is evidenced by the wealth of opportunities to see Ibsen’s work performed around the world.

If you’re in the Oslo area, check out the National Theater’s Ibsen Festival. Every other year at the end of the summer, the theater invites outstanding Ibsen productions from around the world to its celebration of the playwright. This year the festival kicks off on Aug. 26 with Ibsenmachine, a production based on several of Ibsen’s well-known works.

Ibsen fans in New York City have the opportunity to see Hedda Gabler in a unique setting. Running through Sept. 4, the production is staged in a historic townhouse, where the actors mingle with the audience, creating an intimate atmosphere. Tickets are limited. For more information, visit

Photo courtesy of National Library of Norway.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minnesota, where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. Amy is a Nordic folk music enthusiast, and when she’s not working or parenting, she can often be found making music with friends.

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