The 10 Selected Productions

John Gabriel Borkman. 4th part of the Ibsen saga. Season 2 / performances #20–25

By Henrik Ibsen
German translation by Hans Gerlach
Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin / Norsk Kulturråd / Nordwind Platform and Festival

Premiere 27 October 2011

Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller’s gallop through ’John Gabriel Borkman’ is the most passionate session of self-revelation in the current theatre season. It’s unusual enough that actors and audience end up cheerfully duelling with props. But the papier maché rocks are by no means the most radical things to go flying through the fourth wall in this Ibsen marathon lasting up to twelve hours.

John Gabriel Borkman

John Gabriel Borkman

© William Menke

  • open end, no intermission – entrance and exit possible at all times

Past Dates

In re-evaluating the basic questions of theatre – representation, performability, fakes, dramatic masterplans and their frustration through performance – Vinge and his team cross all the theatre’s usual pain thresholds and make a deliberate departure from a hyper-artistic scenario. Following the uniform dramaturgy of contemporary computer games more than Aristotle’s ‘Poetics’, the white-masked actors move like avatars through a complex papier maché work of art located somewhere between a ghost train, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Augsburger Puppenkiste on speed. Ibsen’s text is reduced down to a few core sentences spoken with distorted electronic voices and repeated as if on a loop: Vinge and Müller translate the psychological drama about a banker facing criminal charges into the free-running symptoms which – also in reaction to Borkmann’s view of society – exclude none of the violent fantasies of the 20th and 21st centuries. Instead of spelling out neuroses and repressions verbally, these are acted out physically in a brilliantly deceptive children’s bedroom theatre world – and differently each evening. Ibsen has never been seen like this.

Directed by Vegard Vinge, Ida Müller and Trond Reinholdtsen
Stage design Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller

By and with:
Martin Aaserud, Pelle Ask, Lea Basch, Cornelia Behmenburg, Edwin Bustamante, Ilaria Di Carlo, Torbjørn Davidsen, Nancy Eschler, Robert Faber, Paul Flagmeier, Fredrik Floen, Michael Frenzel, Jens Grotjohann, Florian Gwinner, Marcel Heuperman, Margarita Hoffmann, Franziska Huhn, Sebastian Kaiser, Harald Kolaas, Maria Koulouti, Henry Krohmer, Timo Kreuser, Anne Kutzner, Frank Kwiatkowski, Ada Labahn, Ida Müller, Nefeli Myrtidi, Carl Nilsen-Love, Murat Özuzun, Christina Peios, Normen Pelikan, Marc Philipps, Julia Raabe, Adam Read, Trond Reinholdtsen, Silvia Rieger, Angela Roudaut, Susanne Sachße, Antje Schulz, Hagen Schulze, Paul Schwesig, Judith Seither, Andreas Speichert, Volker Spengler, Stefan Paul, Tilman Van Tankeren, Sarah Teichmann, Arnt Christian Teigen, Christian Valerius, Vegard Vinge, Sonia Wagemans, Dominik Wagner, Lisa-Theres Wenzel, Petter Width Kristiansen, Wojciech Zopoth