Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen
Today I finished reading the dramatic poem Peer Gynt by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. After I read it I had to search for my old brooch made of pewter that I remembered from my childhood.
I haven’t been reading the poem for years, but I was once again taken by its fine blend of realism, folklore and fairytale. Peer Gynt is the egocentric Norwegian lad from the countryside who is happily daydreaming his way through life. He finds commitments hard, travels to the supernatural world of trolls before he chooses to encounter the real world in order to make fortunes. But who is he and has he learned anything of life? These are questions he asks himself by the end of his life journey.
It is one hundred and forty years since it was written (1876), but still it has current interest. I guess we all feel a bit like Peer from time to time. Apparently in a conversation with a friend, Ibsen should have said that he didn’t think the play was well suited for acting. Funny because Peer Gynt is actually one of the world’s most widely performed plays accompanied with the music by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
The most authentic way to see the play is the outdoor version by Lake Gålå high up in the Norwegian mountains where the original Pe(e)r came from. Lake Gålå is seated in Gudbrandsdalen which is my favorite part of Norway, and the best part is that I am going to see this play together with my daughter and mother this coming weekend.
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