Woman in Green
Young Peer Gynt
Old Peer Gynt
Richard Engling and Bryson Engelen. Photo: John Sisson
by Henrik Ibsen
Translated by Robert Bly
Directed by Jeremy Wechsler
Read the reviews
November 15 - December 18, 2011
Produced in association with DCA Theater at the Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph Street
a chicago premiere event!
Polarity Ensemble Theatre, in association with the DCA Theater, presented the Chicago premiere of Peer Gynt, a zany, high-energy translation by prolific poet Robert Bly of this rarely-produced Henrik Ibsen classic. Robert Bly is a National Book Award-winner and Poet Laureate of Minnesota, his home state.
In Bly's translation, the wild, globe-trotting adventurer Peer Gynt, unencumbered by morals or a sense of responsibility, takes a mythic journey envisioned as that of America itself, from scrappy trickster to imperial power and beyond. Featuring live music and rustic settings reminiscent of 19th and 20th century Americana, Peer embarks on a 150-year whirlwind tour of the American psyche.
Bryson Engelen and Erica Bittner. Photo: John Sisson
Bly's translation has received one other production at the Guthrie Theater in 2008. Upon that premiere, CityPages declared Peer Gynt to be a "sprawling dreamlike adventure," and Variety raved the show to have "intellectual charge and a pleasing emotional ambiguity."
"Ibsen doesn't pull any punches," said Robert Bly in an interview regarding the 2008 production. "The amazing thing about this play is that, though written in the 19th century, it looks forward to a thousand things that are happening now. Especially when Ibsen lays out capitalism in the 19th century, the play becomes a really powerful indictment of the kind of young male personality that will go into capitalism in such a way as to ignore all other qualities of human nature, and simply aim for the money."
"I am fulfilling a 10 year-long dream of directing Peer Gynt with this production," said Director Jeremy Wechsler, who is also Artistic Director of Theater Wit. "Set in a rough-hewn barn that converts to multiple locations and featuring live Americana folk music, we use each corner of the DCA Storefront Theater space for this epic whirlwind tour of American mythic history as seen through a 21st century lens."
Peer Gynt ran at the DCA Theater's Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St., in the heart of Chicago's downtown theater district, from November 15 through December 18, 2011. Performances were Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3pm.
Not pictured above: Maggie Speer as the Old Green Woman.
Jeremy Wechsler, Director
Paul Gilvary, Music Composer & Director
Steven Hill, Production Manager
Nicole Smith, Stage Manager
Andrew Canada, Assistant Stage Manager
John Kelly, Lighting Designer
Rachel Lambert, Costume Designer
Angela M. Campos, Props & Puppet Designer
Andrew Dallas, Sound Designer
Justin Krecker-Snyder, Technical Director
David Fehr, Fight Choreographer
Karen Tarjan, Dance Choreographer
Chuck Palia, Resident Tech Director
John Olson, Marketing Manager
Maggie Speer, Managing Director
Richard Engling, Artistic Director
Christopher Gagnon (Violin), Paul Gilvary (Bass), and Teddy Stuebi (Guitar and Banjo). Photo: Richard Engling