In 2017, Norway’s best known play turned 150 years. The anniversary was celebrated several places in Norway. It all started in August with The Peer Gynt festival at Vinstra in the Gudbrandsdalen valley. With forests and steep mountains as backdrop, the annual festival took place in the area that inspired the author to write the dramatic play.
“Ibsen wrote the play as a 4,5 hour poem, to say to people: what’s the difference between being yourself and being yourself enough”, says Norwegian actor Dennis Storhøi.
Storhøi is acclaimed for his many performances as the play’s main character, Peer Gynt.
Henrik Ibsen’s play is more than just a tale. It’s a reflection of the 1860’s Norway, a time where many people moved away from the traditional family farms and started a new life in the city. Peer Gynt is also a story of the common man and the challenges and conflicts we all face in life. For that reason, the play is still relevant today.
According to Storhøi Ibsen is a genius in the way that he captures the man or the woman perfectly at all times.
“He must have had a huge insight in how peoples’ weaknesses and strengths worked”, he says.
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Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt was released in 1867, but was first seen on stage nine years later, at Christiania Theater. Since then, there has been many different versions of the play, in all major parts of the world. Peer Gynt is still one of the most famous plays in the world.
A well-known version of Peer Gynt is the annual outdoor production at Gålåvatnet in Gudbrandsdalen.
At the Ibsen Museum in Oslo you can learn more about the playwright’s life and work.
In honour of the 150th anniversary of Peer Gynt, the Norwegian national broadcaster (NRK) produced a documentary about the theatre production at Gålå (in Norwegian only).
Full name: Henrik Johan Ibsen.
Norwegian playwright, theatre director and poet, and considered the father of modern realistic drama.
Born in Skien in Telemark 20 March 1828, died in Kristiania (now Oslo) 23 May 1906.
Made his debut as a writer with “Catalina” in 1850.
Worked at theatres in Bergen and Kristiania from 1852 to 1862.
Married Suzanne Daae Thoresen in 1858 and had a son, Sigurd, one year later.
Moved abroad in 1864 and lived in Italy and Germany for 27 years.
Got his breakthrough with “Brand” and “Peer Gynt” in 1866 and 1867.
Other main works include “An Enemy of the People”, “A Doll’s house”, “Hedda Gabler”, “Ghosts”, “The Wild Duck”, “When We Dead Awaken”, and “The Master Builder”.
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