Mainstage: The Wild Duck

March 17th 2011

Mainstage loves Simon Stone! He’s the youngest addition to Belvoir Theatre’s artistic team and the director of The Wild Duck a play he has meticulously adapted for a contemporary audience from legendary Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. This cleverly modernized adaptation of a 19th century play also kicks off the 2011 season for Belvoir under the new artistic directorship of Ralph Myers.

We often talk about the ‘fourth wall’ in theatre, the imaginary barrier between the audience and the world of the play. Ralph Myers, who designed the set, has taken this idea one step further and created a hexagon shaped space partitioned off by a glass wall separating the audience from the actors. This simply action subtly intensified the family melodrama and is a bold move away from Myer’s previous work.

Ibsen’s plays are famously tragic and beautiful, and Stone has effectively taken this darling into the modern era with his contemporary adaptation. The crux of the narrative, however, remains the same. Hjalmar’s father has lost all the family's wealth in a tragic scandal of which details are revealed tantalisingly as a game of pass the parcel, and, as a result, now lives in a tiny apartment with his wife, daughter and father, a charming old man slowly losing his grip on reality because of dementia. When an old friend, Gregers, turns up out of the blue, the dead and buried past rears its head and some untold truths come out which threaten to rock Hjalmar’s world. Which begs the question, are we always better off knowing the truth? You’ll have to see this phenomenal work to decide for yourself.

Each of the actors in this adaptation were specifically hand picked by Stone for the roles and, despite some quirky choices, make lasting impressions. Eloise Mignon, who stars at Hedvig, is really great at playing that awkward in between age of adolescents while Toby Schmitz, who is well known for playing funny and irreverent characters, makes the leap easily into the vastly more serious role of Gregers.

Mainstage recommends you go and check out The Wild Duck, a historic play in Belvoir’s 2011 season. It stars John Gaden, Anita Hegh, Ewen Leslie, Eloise Mignon, Anthony Phelan & Toby Schmitz and a duck. A real, live, duck.

The Wild Duck
Belvoir Theatre
Until March 27th


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