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Visjoner Teater, Oslo, NorwayIbsenWomen
Ibsen Women – put an eagle in a cage
Created and performed by Juni Dahr
Music created and performed by Chris Poole

Costumes: Inger Derlick/Juni Dahr
Lighting design: Aimee Malthe Harnes, Marianne Thallaug Wedset and Frank Tangen
Directing advice: Aimee Malthe Harnes/Marketa Kimbrell
Photo: Marianne Thallaug Wedset

IBSEN WOMEN was conceived in the United States while I was touring with Joan of Arc. Being a Norwegian actress, I was often asked aboout Ibsen's dramas. This inspired me to present the Norwegian master playwright through some of his female characters.

Through improvisations based on fragments of Ibsen's text, "Ibsen Women" slowly evolved in an empty space with a minimum of props and decoration.

"Ibsen Women" was first presented at the International Ibsen symposium held at Yale University in April 1989.

Put an eagle in a cage and it will bite the bars whether they are of iron or gold", says Hjørdis in The Vikings of Helgeland.

Playing Hjørdis, under the direction of John Barton from the Royal Shakespeare Company, opened my mind to Ibsen's challenging questions to freedom and life itself. Henrik Ibsen reveals a deep understanding of women – but where did he get his knowledge from? Through his characters he makes us experience our own lives. Henrik Ibsen is the genius that tempts us to explore his women looking for the essence, the source, the spirit that makes these female characters so fascinating even today.

 

Juni Dahr is a leading Norwegian theatre and film actress who has been a member of the repertory company of the National Theater of Bergen for 12 years. Classically trained at the State Academy of Performing Arts in Oslo, she has played many of the great classics – from Shakspeare to Ibsen and Chekov – as well as modern experimental drama.

In 1980/81 Juni was awarded a State scholarship to Poland to study at Grotowski’s Laboratory Theater. In 1986 she studied film and theater at New York University and at the Actors Studio in New York with Shelly Winters. In 1989 she received a Fullbright fellowship centered on the project “Female Legends” and formed her own company, Visions, in order to explore the lives of legendary female characters and create independent theater and film productions.

Joan of Arc – Vision through Fire opened in 1988 in Los Angeles. The performance was highly acclaimed and has toured the USA, Europe, Russia, the Nordic countries and israel; in 1992 the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation produced a television version. Joan of Arc is now performed on request in mediaeval locations.

Ibsen Women – Put an Eagle in a Cage opened in New York and Los Angeles in 1990 and has sincetoured the USA, Europe, India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, South America, Russia, China and all the Nordic countries.

In 1991 Juni received the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Award for her performance in Ibsen Women, and in 1993 she won the San Francisco Critics’ Award for her interpretation of Ellida Wangel in Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea.

Together with her sister, film director Eva Dahr, she has made two short films, Dolce Vita and Troll.

In 1994 Juni was commissioned to create an adaptation of Sigrid Undset’s mediaeval novel Kristin Lavransdatter for the Winter Olympics in Norway. Kristin Lavransdatter has toured in Norway and the USA and also been performed in Rome; in 1995 it was adapted for video.