The 10 Selected Productions

John Gabriel Borkman

Based on Henrik Ibsen by Simon Stone
German translation by Martin Thomas Pesl

Burgtheater im Akademietheater, Vienna
Co-production with Wiener Festwochen and Theater Basel

Premiere Vienna: 28 May 2015, premiere Basel: 30 January 2016

John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman. f.l.: Birgit Minichmayr, Martin Wuttke, Max Rothbart, Nicola Kirsch, Caroline Peters

© Reinhard Maximilian Werner

  • Duration 2h, no interval
  • With English surtitles

Past Dates

Public discussion on 15 May, following the second performance

The 31-year-old Australian’s method is simple, yet striking: Only very little original text remains of the plays that he applies himself to. He retells the story in his own, modern-day words. This version of Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman” is set in the present, where people google themselves and follow each other on Facebook. The financial scandal that sent Borkman to prison has left persistent traces on the Internet. Similarly to the characters, who only gradually dig themselves out of the drifts of continuous snow-fall created by designer Katrin Brack, disgrace and shame are only superficially covered up. In the icy setting of this often astonishingly funny production, a society of wolves gets ready to tear each other to pieces. Martin Wuttke as a long-haired, degenerate outcast Borkman who pisses into buckets, Birgit Minichmayr as his deeply disappointed wife, the alcoholic diva Gunhild, and Caroline Peters as her sister, a cancer patient who has come home to die, are pulling no punches. The others take to their heels (Max Rothbart as son Erhart) or go to the dogs (Roland Koch as a woolly-minded Foldal). High-pressure theatre, where no prisoners are taken and even the dying exit giving a defiant victory sign. | |

Directed by Simon Stone
Stage design Katrin Brack
Costume design Tabea Braun
Music Bernhard Moshammer
Lighting design Friedrich Rom
Dramaturgy Klaus Missbach

John Gabriel Borkman Martin Wuttke
Gunhild Borkman, his wife Birgit Minichmayr
Erhart Borkman, their son Max Rothbart
Ella Rentheim, Gunhild’s twin sister Caroline Peters
Fanny Wilton Nicola Kirsch
Wilhelm Foldal Roland Koch
Frida Foldal, his daughter Liliane Amuat