Ibsen and Chekhov

Although born almost 30 years apart, these playwrights, Russian and Norwegian, may have saved the theatre. Early 19th century theatre, dominated by actors – some pure exhibitionists – favoured melodrama. Ibsen brought vitality back to the theatre. His plays, although set in small provincial towns, deal with huge, challenging themes: the unfair situation of women: the hypocrisy of public respectability: the bullying power of the masses. Anton Chekhov –‘I want to put on stage life as it really is’ – had the skill to combine humour with sadness, absurdity with unassuming strength. He had no heroes or villains but an extraordinary emotional range. Ibsen taught. Chekhov observed. I hope students, in acting out their scenes, will have strong views on what a playwright should do.

Level of Ability: Suitable for All

Teaching Style:
Group Work

Tutor: Rosamund Hall

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