The Lady From The Sea Moral Message on the Power to Choose is sound but sluggish.

The Lady From The Sea Moral Message on the Power to Choose is sound but sluggish.

Do I matter? And what is the purpose of my life, are questions we have all asked ourselves. But what does it mean to be free? 

These questions have rattled within the minds of humanity since the time of Adam and Eve. Court Theatre continues its 2021/22 season with The Lady from the Seaby Henrik Ibsen, translated by Richard Nelson, and directed by Shana Cooper. 

Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright and theatre director, starts The Lady From The Sea, using a character similar to himself by introducing us to Ballested, an immigrant who came to the small fjord town in Northern Norway after his traveling theater company disbanded. Ballested, who wears a plethora of heads to help make ends meet, is finishing up a painting when a young lad named Lyngstrand strolls into the garden. 

He meets the daughters of Dr. Wangel, Bolette, an intellectual young woman who plays the role of a mother to her younger sister Hilda after her mother passed. Bolette longs to see the world but fears she will never leave the long, narrow, deep inlet between high cliffs called home, as she needs to care for her father and sister. Hilda is the rambunctious younger sister hiding her feelings of needing a mother’s love lashes out by looking for ways to rebuke her stepmother, Ellida, using a celebration of her deceased mother’s birthday as one of her ways to demonstrate her displeasures. 

However, Ibsen centers The Lady From the Sea around Ellida, a lighthouse-keeper’s daughter. Ellida, who grew up loving the open Sea, married Edvard Wangel, a doctor whose wife passed, leaving him with two daughters (Bolette and Hilde). 

While married, they have a child, who dies. Wangel believes Ellida spiraled into depression, causing issues within their marriage, and asked an old friend of Ellida, Arnholm, to return to aid in her recovery. However, Arnholm, who was also the former tutor of Bolette, believes the letter sent for him to return is due to a fixation Bolette has for him, not realizing Wangel has learned Arnholm was a rejected lover who once proposed to Ellida. But Ellida’s illness has nothing to do with Wangel or Arnholm but a demonic haunting of a stranger from the past. 

A stranger who returns with a proposition. The freedom to choose between a lost love from the past. Or the love she lost because of her past. 

Considered one of the founders of modernism in theatre and the father of realism, Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea, written in 1888, was his firstof several mystical, psychological dramas.

The Lady From the Sea touched on many of the cultural views of the 1800s when Ibsen wrote this play, where women’s ideological place, her thoughts, dreams, and admiration should center around their husbands or the men’s plans, ideas and pursuits. It also hinted that the woman had to financially lean on the man’s kindness to have any possibilities of survival. Written during the Women’s Rights Movement era, many could have seen The Lady From the Sea as a groundbreaking pattern for a women’s right to choose, which is Ibsen’s primary focal point in this playwright’s five-act play. 

Though Ibsen is considered one of the most influential playwrights of his time, The Lady From The Sea first hour and thirty minutes can cure your insomnia. Its lethargic pace, which Ibsen may have deliberately intended, as he enjoyed the development of humanizing the character, seems to have confused the audience, not understanding its direction. 

I was one of the few who previously saw the adaptation, so I knew its ending, which indeed held the audience’s attention. However, I believe a better translation of The Lady From The Sea is using the method of reverse chronology storytelling (RCS), whereby it hints throughout the play the ending. RCS would intrigue its audience; rather than this adapted from new translation which slowly draws them into a slow hypnotic sleep.    

The cast Chaon Cross (Ellida), Gregory Linington (Dr. Wangel), Tanya Thai McBride (Bolette), Angela Morris (Hilda), Will Mobley (Lyngstrand), Samuel Taylor (Arnholm), Dexter Zollicoffer (Ballested), and Kelli Simpkins (The Stranger) did their best to bring out this psychological battle for freedom. And playwright Richard Nelson and director Shana Cooper’s desire to bring out Ibsen’s passion for having the audience feel the humanism of real people being in front of you was admirable. Still, unfortunately, The Lady From The Sea falls short of accomplishing a compelling message where humans have the right to choose freedom over war. 

Назавжди Україна (Forever Ukraine)

In the end, Ellida’s husband releases her from their vows. She is free to choose and makes a decision that liberates her from the lamented anguish that plagued her soul. But Bolette is captured by the kindness of men to achieve her goals.

Let’s Play Somewhat Recommends The Lady From The Sea. 

Court Theatre

The Lady from The Sea

Written by Henrik Ibsen

Adapted From a New Translation By Richard Nelson

Directed by Shana Cooper

Now Running through March 27, 2022

Filed under:
ChicagoNow

Advertisement:
Advertisement:

Welcome to ChicagoNow.

Meet
our bloggers,

post comments, or

pitch your blog idea.

Meet The Blogger

Let’s Play

Rick and Brenda McCain are the review critics of “Let’s Play Inc!” With the loving support of great theater members within the Chicagoland area, we have been passionately reviewing plays for many years to where we are on our way to helping people “Discover the hidden gems of Chicagoland theaters.”
We have seen these great plays at American Blues Theater, Black Ensemble, Court Theater, Drury Lane, Goodman, Lookingglass, Northlight, Paramount, Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Writers and the list continues to grow each month.
We pride ourselves on being a trusted source in helping individuals get the inside story on each play to guide you to a remarkable theater performance.
Our goal is to leave a memorable impression that will entice you to visit one of these impressive theaters and enjoy the excitement within Chicagoland that happens on a daily basis.
Rick and Brenda are also internet radio host of The Let’s Stay Together Talk show where they have quickly become to trusted informational platform on ALL RELATIONSHIPS. Within a short period, they have reached people all around the globe, and they continue to grow due to their fun, relatable conversations that are open and honest.
They bring that same joy to Let’s Play so join them as they open your eyes to the hidden gem of Chicagoland theaters.
You can reach us about reviewing your upcoming play, by contacting us at letsplayreviewhost@gmail.com.

Subscribe by Email

Completely spam free, opt out any time.

Latest on ChicagoNow

The Lady From The Sea Moral Message on the Power to Choose is sound but sluggish.

from Let’s Play by Let’s Play
posted today at 5:41 pm

Signs of Spring

from Chicago Weather Watch by Weather Girl
posted today at 2:42 pm

ChicagoNow’s Best Posts of February 2022

from Margaret Serious by Margaret H. Laing
posted today at 2:17 pm

Chicago’s Week with Beer, March 7-10

from The Beeronaut by Mark McDermott
posted today at 12:20 am

WNBA Star Brittney Griner detained in Moscow since February

from S.O.S. – Sheri On Sports by Sheri Warren
posted Saturday at 11:51 pm

Read these ChicagoNow blogs

Cubs Den

Chicago Cubs news and comprehensive blog, featuring old school baseball writing combined with the latest statistical trends

Pets in need of homes

Pets available for adoption in the Chicago area

Hammervision

It’s like the couch potato version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Advertisement:

About ChicagoNow

FAQs

Advertise

Recent posts RSS

Privacy policy (Updated)

Comment policy

Terms of service

Chicago Tribune Archives

Do not sell my personal info

©2022 CTMG – A Chicago Tribune website –
Crafted by the News Apps team

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.