The Eagle and The Tiger, Sept 13/14

Article Submitted by Shelly Vida / Submit Your Own Article

Created by Carl Hare, Performed by the Ibsen Ensemble
(Tue-Wed) Sept 13-14th/2011 at the Mary Irwin Theatre (421 Cawston Avenue, Kelowna) – 7:30PM

Carl Hare retired to Kelowna 11 years ago after a lifetime in the theatre community. Founder of the theatre department at the University of Victoria, he also taught at the National Theatre School, and was chair of the Drama Department at the University of Alberta. Trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in England, he was a professional actor and director and the Artistic Director of Company One Theatre. Since his arrival in Kelowna he has acted both with Sunshine Theatre and the Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops and been narrator with the Okanagan Symphony on a number of occasions. Over the past two decades he has also explored the writing of poetry and is presently engaged in a major work.

Somewhere Carl has also found time to write a new play “The Eagle and the Tiger”, about Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen to be performed at the Mary Irwin Theatre Sept 13 and 14th as the 2011/2012 season opener.

The Eagle and the Tiger—nicknames given to each other by Henrik Ibsen and his wife Suzannah, with she the Eagle, he the Tiger—explores this relationship and the deeper theme of what happens to a strong woman who devotes herself to making her husband the greatest playwright in Europe.
Carl explains their relationship and the form that the play takes:

“The relationships of great men (or women) to their spouses can on occasion seem like something out of a Greek tragedy–or a Greek comedy–but many times the relationship is one in which the profession or art of the one is unaffected by the partner. Such is not the case with Ibsen and his wife Suzannah. Their life together was tumultuous, with one child, Sigurd, born early in the marriage. They lived decades in frugal conditions away from Norway with the controversy of Ibsen’s work itself. Later, their marriage deteriorated as Suzannah became increasingly crippled by arthritis and Ibsen turned to younger women in intense relationships. Despite their problems, Suzannah remained Ibsen’s strongest support. An avaricious reader, with a keen mind and a strong will, she in many ways shaped Ibsen the artist, forcing him into a disciplined mode of working, and constantly feeding him ideas from her reading and discussion.

This play explores their lives and their struggles in the form of a fantasia in which both historically real people and fictional characters intermingle. It is written in verse, not perhaps a modern idiom, but one that reflects the dimensions of the themes and characters.”

The Ibsen Ensemble includes Carl Hare (John Gabriel Borkman, Sunshine Theatre, the Okanagan Symphony) as the Older Ibsen, Clara Hare (John Gabriel Borkman) as the Older Suzannah, the Toronto actor Kevin Hare as the Younger Ibsen, all three appearing courtesy of the Canadian Actors’ Equity Association. As well, Josephine Stebbings (Macbeth) plays the Younger Ibsen, and the versatile Patricia Burns (Shirley Valentine and with Clara in On Golden Pond) and Frank Takacs (The Merry Wives of Windsor) play a variety of roles.

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