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Commonweal Theatre Company announces 17th annual Al Ibsen Festival

Thu, Mar 13th, 2014
Posted in Lanesboro Arts & Culture

LANESBORO, Minn. — The Commonweal Theatre Company announces its 17th Annual Ibsen Festival April 11-13 in downtown Lanesboro. Named for Henrik Ibsen, the acclaimed “Father of Modern Drama,” the festival is a celebration of Scandinavian theatre, visual art, music and dance, centered amidst the opening of Commonweal’s annual Ibsen production. This yearly gathering of artists and craftsmen was honored in 2008 by the Norwegian Government, who awarded the Commonweal Theatre one of only four inaugural International Ibsen Scholarships in recognition of its ongoing commitment to producing the works of Ibsen, one of the world’s premiere playwrights.

The highlight of this year’s festival is the world premiere adaptation of Ibsen’s Brand. The action of the play focuses on fundamentalist Pastor Brand and his desperate search for a new model of humanity. With his faith being constantly tested, Brand remains steadfast in his ideal of “all or nothing” and risks everything in his quest for spiritual perfection. Brand is adapted by Minneapolis playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, directed by Executive Director Hal Cropp and features resident ensemble member Jeremy van Meter in the title role. The cast also includes Commonweal resident ensemble members David Hennessey, Megan Pence, and annual company members Gary Danciu and Ana Hagedorn. The production team will be led by Stage Manager Bailey Otto and Production Manager Thomas White.

The script for Brand is the fifth Ibsen adaptation created for the Commonweal by Jeffrey Hatcher. Hatcher is a renowned American playwright whose credits include “Compleat Female Stage Beauty”, “Scotland Road” and “Three Viewings”, and adaptations of Jean Anouilh’s “To Fool the Eye” and Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw”. This world premiere production is part of a series of new versions of Ibsen’s plays developed by Hatcher and the Commonweal for the American stage, beginning with John Gabriel Borkman, “An Enemy of the People”, “Pillars of Society” and last season’s “A Doll’s House”.

The Ibsen Festival offers events and presentations throughout the weekend to satisfy a variety of interests. Guests may attend lectures, film presentations, musical concerts, and artist displays. The Commonweal is proud to welcome Dr. Mark Sandberg and Mr. J.P. Rosensweig to present two special lectures. Professor Sandberg is jointly appointed in the Department of Scandinavian and the Department of Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for 20 years. He is also the current President of the Ibsen Society of America and a member of the International Ibsen Committee. He has a book forthcoming from Cambridge University Press entitled Ibsen’s Houses, a study of Ibsen’s use of architectural metaphor throughout his writing. His lecture for the festival entitled Brand’s Homelessness presents material from that book.

J.P. Rosensweig teaches philosophy at The Philosophy Institute, which he founded in 1999. The Philosophy Institute is dedicated to bringing philosophy into our society and our lives. He received his B.A. from Yale University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and spent a year at the University of Cambridge as a visiting scholar. He received his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, and spent five years in the Ph.D. program, before founding the Institute, and starting to write philosophy in his own voice. He was recently a guest professor at Colorado College, and is currently writing a book of philosophical explorations. Rosensweig’s talk will explore some of the key philosophical issues in Ibsen’s Brand, namely, the factors that lead people to follow seemingly extreme religious leaders, often at the cost of developing their own individual religious identity.

Ibsen Festival Events officially begin Friday evening, April 11, at The Commonweal Theatre featuring a performance of Brand. The events of Saturday, April 12 will be highlighted with a presentation showcasing the Ibsen-inspired work of international award-winning jewelry designer and goldsmith Liz Bucheit. Ms. Bucheit of Crown Trout Jewelers in Lanesboro will showcase her “Ibsen Adorned” collection. Influenced by her Norwegian ancestry and trained in traditional silversmithing, Bucheit will speak about how Ibsen’s complex characters influenced her creative process. A reception for the artist will follow a presentation of the work. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural fund.

Funding for Commonweal Theatre’s programming is provided in part by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and private funders. A complete schedule of Festival events is available at www.ibsenfest.org. For more details, including information about schedules, tickets, and other Commonweal programs, visit www.commonwealtheatre.org or call the Box Office at (800) 657-7025.


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8:44:51, Mar 26th 2014

Gunnar Berg says:
Would that be Henrik's lessor known younger brother "Al"?