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Henrik Ibsen

On the stage history of his ghosts

Review by Tobias Burghardt, Delta - Zeitschrift für Essayistik und Dichtung, 1990: "In view of changed realities, the play written by Ibsen in 1881 acquires astonishing topicality: there is no more correct play about AIDS than "Ghosts" (Einar Schleef). The socio-critical approach of the play, which focuses, among other things, on the illness of a young man, can be transferred in its concrete (Norwegian) version to generally valid contexts that still make up our reality today. The heart of the book is the excitingly readable and conscientious record of the stage history of the family drama from its beginnings (e.g., the world premiere on May 20, 1882, before Scandinavian immigrants) to the present day. May 1882 before Scandinavian immigrants in Chicago), through censorship bans, controversies and overrides, to the opening performance of the "Freie Bühne" in Berlin in 1889, the opening of the "Berliner Kammerspiele" in 1906 under the direction of Max Reinhardt (with a stage design by Edvard Munch), and a temporary lack of interest in Ibsen and his plays until the postwar period. One can speak of a rediscovery of Ibsen, both on stage and in "philological research," starting with the seven-hour Peer Gynt production by Peter Stein at the Berlin "Schaubühne" (1970/71).

The dramaturgical work of Marc Boettcher becomes indispensable for those who want to take a differentiated and comprehensive look at the "ghosts" work and work. The book's appendix contains censorship files, reviews, pictures, and other materials that usefully illustrate the remarkable insight into the history of the stage. Ibsen wrote to his publisher, "My book is the future. - Indeed."