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Arts and Entertainment

Theater Review: Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts

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Oswald's a sick boy in Ibsen's Ghosts. / Photo credit: Craig Schwartz.

Oswald's a sick boy in Ibsen's Ghosts. / Photo credit: Craig Schwartz.
When you sign up for an evening with a Henrik Ibsen production, you know what you’re getting into: The drama, the heaviness, the repression oozing from the script. But what you don’t always expect is a good production with impeccable acting. But that’s exactly what LAist found with A Noise Within’s production of Ibsen’s 1891 play Ghosts. Directed by Michael Murray, the cast is led by Deborah Strang -- who delivered a powerhouse performance last weekend as matriarch Mrs. Alvin. She’s a thoroughly modern woman living in a male-dominated Scandinavian society in the early 1900s, who’s desperately trying to exorcise the ghosts of her past, more precisely the figurative ghost of her long-dead husband.

Her artist son Oswald (Alex Feldman) has come home from Paris for the grand opening of an orphanage she’s built in his father’s name. He, too, is haunted by the past and bearing secrets of his own. Rounding out the family household is maid Regina (Rebecca Mozzo) who has her sights on young Oswald as her possible ticket out of the fjord count.

Joining the trio for the opening festivities is Regina’s father Estrand (Mark Bramhall), who’s helped build the orphanage as a way to atone for his own past life, and Pastor Manders (Joel Swetow), who’s more interested in what people think than the truth.

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Mrs. Alving believes that the building of the orphanage will clear the way for a new life with her son, but it seems that family secrets that run deep will scar next generation even more.

The fine cast takes on the play’s themes of illegitimate children, STDs, assisted suicide, religious and societal norms without crossing the line into melodrama, which was very hard to do considering the subject matter.

So Ghosts definitely isn’t for everyone, but do head over to A Noise Within if you want to see fine acting and a family that’s probably a little more dysfunctional than you own.

The play’s next staging is on Sat., April 25 at 2 pm, and will have a limited run until Sat., May 9.
Ghosts @ A Noise Within
234 South Brand Boulevard, Glendale
Tickets $40-$44