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"The Wild Duck" centers on the Ekdahl and Werle families.
The patriarch of the former, called "Old Ekdahl," has fallen from grace due to his previous imprisonment for a crime he may not have committed. He does copying for Håkon Werle, but isn't quite all there: at home he wears his uniform and shoots rabbits he keeps in the attic.
Hjalmar Ekdahl, his son, is a photographer. He is married to Gina, a former servant in the household of Håkon Werle. They have a teenage daughter, Hedwig, who is going blind.
Håkon Werle's son Gregers has just returned from exile, and is enraged to find Gina married to Hjalmar. Gregers' mother died believing her husband had an affair with Gina, and he suspects Hjalmar doesn't know. Gregers rents a room from the Ekdahls with a single purpose: "I intend to open his eyes."
Hjalmar Ekdahl is a dreamer who does not allow anyone to discuss "unpleasant matters" (like reality) with him. He tells everyone he's working on a magnificent invention; this apparently requires hours of solitude, quiet, and lying on sofas. Sadly for his wife and daughter, "within his own little circle he's always been mistaken for a shining light."
The tangled interactions between these characters (and a few more) culminate in the heart-breaking events of the last scene.
Overall, "The Wild Duck" is a well-acted and produced masterwork of psychological realism.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Henrik Ibsen and Stephen Mulrine or narrated by the narrators?
Another Ibsen definitely, but not performed by this company/director
What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?
Over earnest delivery, most of the players straining to demonstrate their emotions in their lines. Very disappointing that the actors weren't empowered to speak naturally. Sounded as though they were performing to a class of 10-year olds in a patronising fashion. Were they trying to play it in a style they thought appropriate to the 1880s? If so, I think they guessed incorrectly. I've seen and heard Ibsen productions that flow properly and sound like real people are speaking.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Use of plot and imagery demonstrates Ibsen's perceptions of the human condition and of power inequalities in family/society. Is the main psychological theme (the life-lie) overly emphasised? It might not have seemed so if played in a more nuanced way.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful