ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - Henrik Ibsen's play The Wild Duck opens Wed. Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. at the Bruce Davis Theater in Montgomery Hall Fine Arts Center on the St. Mary's College of Maryland (SMCM) campus. Performances continue through Dec. 10.
Norwegian-born, Ibsen wrote The Wild Duck and some of theater's most compelling realistic plays during the late nineteenth century. Considered by many theater historians as the "father of realism" on the modern stage, he is best known by audiences for A Doll's House.
Written in 1884 and considered one of Ibsen's greatest plays, The Wild Duck is the story of Gregers Werle, the idealistic son of a wealthy businessman, who has returned home from seventeen years of self-imposed exile. At a party thrown for him by his father, he meets his childhood friend, Hjalmar Ekdal, now a down-and-out photographer married with a fourteen-year-old daughter, Hedvig. From a couple of chance remarks, Gregers begins to suspect that the Ekdals' social and financial decline might in some way be connected with his father's greed, both commercial and sexual.
With the play's ironic shifting of illusion and reality, it remains as disturbing and challenging as ever. In playwright George Bernard Shaw's words, The Wild Duck combines "the profoundest tragedy with irresistible comedy."
"It is a play about family; a family deep in crisis. Certain ideological and moral absolutes may, in some rare cases, be worth striving for," the play's director Michael Ellis-Tolaydo says. "But in a diverse and multicultural world such as ours today, absolutes can lead to disaster. What could be more appropriate than a play that examines the consequences of intolerance and extremism?"
Other well-known Ibsen plays that have become staples of the modern repertoire include An Enemy of the People, one of the first environmental plays, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, and The Master Builder. In them, Ibsen takes on some of the most controversial social issues of his time, like women's liberation, sexual disease, and environmental despoliation in the name of profit. Critics often condemned Ibsen for criticizing Norwegian society by exposing its failings.
Ticket prices are $4 or $6. The Wild Duck performs Dec. 6 at 8 p.m., Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 9 at 8 p.m., and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. To make reservations, call 240-895-4243 or e-mail boxoffice (at) smcm.edu. For more information, contact Mark Rhoda at 240-895-4231 or marhoda (at) smcm.edu.