John Gabriel Borkman
by Henrik Ibsen
John Gabriel Borkman, former bank manager and entrepreneur, has sunk low. Since his return from prison eight years ago, where he went for embezzlement, he lives with his wife Gunhild in the house of his sister-in-law Ella. He occupies the upstairs and his wife the ground floor, with no communication between them. One evening the terminally ill Ella, whom Borkman once loved, but sacrificed for his career, turns up. Ella wants to claim back the Borkmans’ son, whom she raised. But Gunhild has other plans for Erhart, and Borkman too has hopes in the child as a chance for a new beginning. The son acts as a saviour, an avenger, a projection of hope for a generation that has come to lead an existence in the shadows and is incapable of acting responsibly. But the boy rejects the role assigned to him, wanting only one thing – his own happiness.
»John Gabriel Borkman«, Ibsen’s penultimate play before his death in 1906, is considered one of his masterpieces. In this play the plethora of themes that intrigued Ibsen throughout his life are once again tightly woven together. He deals both with the grand delusion or “the will to appearance, to illusion” as an existential condition of mankind, and with human relationships, which in their universe are driven only by the laws of the market. Everything has become a commodity – love, their son, their own life.
Invited to the Theatertreffen 2015, where Lina Beckmann was awarded the 3sat Prize for her portrayal of Ella, and Gala Winter received the Alfred-Kerr-Darstellerpreis (Actors Prize) for the portrayal of Frida Foldal.
Photos © Klaus Lefebvre