John Gabriel Borkmann

Thomas Ostermeier

Teatro Comunale, Modena

09/10/2009 21:00  
10/10/2009 18:00  

by Henrik Ibsen
german text by Marius von Mayenburg based on Sigurd Ibsen translation
scenography Jan Pappelbaum
dramaturgy Marius von Mayenburg
lights Erich Schneider
costumes Nina Wetzel
music Nils Ostendorf
assistant director Anne Schneider

with Josef Bierbichler (John Gabriel Borkmann), Kirsten Dene (Gunhild Borkmann), Sebastian Schwarz (Erhard), Angela Winkler (Ella Rentheim), Cathlen Gawlich (Fanny Wilton), Felix Römer (Wilhelm Foldal), Elzemarieke de Vos (Frida)

produced by Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, Berlin, togheter with Prospero/Théâtre National de Bretagne – Rennes supported by programma Cultura dell’Unione Europea
played in german with italian subtitles
An exclusive for Italy

Running time 1h 50'

The banker John Gabriel Borkman has not left his first-floor apartment since he
was re-leased from prison. During the night he will sometimes slip quietly down
the stairs, but he never ventures past the main door, where he stops, reflects,
and eventually returns to his self-imposed imprisonment. Inside his room, he
paces back and forth, laying plans for his re-turn to society. His wife, Gunhild,
hates him, and lives below him on the ground floor. He married her for her money,
but in a set of bold transactions he managed to lose her entire fortune along with
that of his other clients. His resulting prison sentence made the situation even
more humiliating for her: she was forced to live with her twin sister Ella Rentheim.
Borkman never touched Ella's money, and she happens to be his real love, whom
he did not marry due to his economic considerations. Ella is terminally ill. A battle
develops between her and her sister over Borkman's son, Erhart, whom Ella
raised during the banking crisis. He is now supposed to come back to see her
in the city, to be with her at her deathbed. But Gunhild has other plans with her
son: she wants him to relinquish his Borkman name, and to cleanse himself of
his father's criminal failure with his own brilliant career. Borkman himself has
plans for his son: together he wants to stir up the country's economy and return
to the top of the socio-economic pyramid of power. Gerhard is still a student and
only be-ginning to take his first, independent steps in life. All the expectations
heaped upon him suddenly threaten to become overwhelming. One night Ella
appears. She is prepared to carry out her conflict with her sister to the end, and
demands a decision from Erhart. Finally Borkman leaves his room for the first
time, in order to take part in the fight for his son.
Ibsen's 1896 work is the portrait of a man obsessed with power, and fascinated
by the abil-ity of money to shape the world. His own personal gains are actually
secondary to him, though; rather, he thinks in broad strokes about human progress.
He is willing to walk over corpses, if need be , and to sacrifice his own
love. He honors money as if it were a force of nature, which exists above human
law and order. Ibsen describes the comet-like rise and fall of a man, as well as
the crater left behind after impact: that of torn-up lives and human dev-astation.
There is, however, a desperate hope remaining: that the next generation can set
everything right.

The show

Vie Scena Contemporanea Festival is an Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione project,
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