WILD DUCK
Nationaltheatret, Oslo
September-December 2012

"Hi, I am the real Hedvig. This is my dream. The dream is shared with a lot of other people, but I think of it as my dream - just like I think of the wild duck as my wild duck, even if it of course is its own. In the dream everything is as usual, but different. It is like reality, but reality seen as the exception; what always is but can not exist."

In 1884 Henrik Ibsen writes Wild Duck.
In the play, a city apartment is utilized as a photography atelier; a simulacra-machine where human reality is transformed into images. Also, in the middle of their human lives, the attic of the Ekdal family is transformed into a symbolic other-space. Here lives not only the wild duck, but also chickens, rabbits and other animals – in other words, a non-human territory at the threshold of the human space.

This production focuses on the tematic dichotomies established by this two spaces: Reality/Image, Original/Copy, Human/Non-Human,Us/Them.

It is intriguing that Ibsen in 1884 chooses photographer as profession for one of his main protagonists – two years before the first handheld Kodak camera is introduced, fiftytwo years before the publication of Walter Benjamin´s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and ninetythree years before Susan Sontag writes On Photography.

I also find it fascinating that, seventy years after Hegel but one century before Derrida and Spivak, Ibsen comes up with this rather odd idea to let the souvereign of the story – the rich and mysterious Werle Senior – place the symbol of human freedom, the wild duck, in the midst of a space full of (locked-in) animals. The attic in the story thus has the function of a threshold separating the human community from whatever that can not be included, what can't be understood as ”us” - whether it is the dreams of Hedvig, or her criminalized grandfather, or just the actual existence of the wild duck and the other non-humans living there.

This is not so far from our contemporary political reality; whether it is described as philosophy in Giorgio Agamben´s Homo Sacer, or as popular culture in John Carpenter´s Escape from New York.
Therefore, in our reading these and some other texts will co-exist side by side with Ibsen – just like the ducks and chickens and rabbits co-exist with the humans in the play.

PRESS-QUOTES on WILD DUCK

Svenska Dagbladet
"A boldly wayward interpretation, at the same time accessible and consciously enigmatic."

"It is supremely executed"

"Paulin lets the text levitate over the stage as a monument, which gets commented by staged sketches and solutions. The medieval ballad Bisclavret... becomes an extremely suggestive mini-musical about undomesticated sexuality and the animal called human."

"In the end he turns off the light totally for eight full minutes. The audience is embraced by complete darkness exactly as Hedvig steps into the attic with a loaded gun."

"The Wild Duck is a remarkable mixture of entertainment and sophisticated philosophical questions."

"Unique theatre art that doesn´t lean on tradition for one moment. Superbly well-played and perfectly unpredictable"


Aftenposten

"Irresistable Wild Duck"

"Groovy Wild Duck fricassee"

"The Wild Duck has an irresistable playfulness and capacity to mix between weight and lightness."

"Anders Paulin opens the door to Ibsen's attic, as the lid of Pandora's box"

"Associatively intricate"

"A theatrical and essayistic circling of motives as identity and exclusion"

Norwegian Radio
"The right not to understand"

"The direction opens the text, without wanting to direct its reception"

"It´s not necessary to leave the theatre understanding what Kafka's text actually had to do - or did do - with The Wild Duck. It´s maybe also not important to put words on this experience of theatre, but more to have been part of it"

"Unexpected and magnificent"

"Ibsen's play is recognizable, but something very different."

"It is liberating not having to understand. The components of the performance are allowed to drift and take shape as they wish"

Dagsavisen
"The performance in itself is a slightly confusing experience, and I don´t know exactly how all this will fall into place as time goes. I am still in a process; as in an extension of Wild Duck's own flow of associatons."


Verdens Gang

"Absoutely succesful"

"Paragraph after paragraph in the law of normality-theatre is suspended: Nobody is somebody, everybody is everyone; the genres are mixed wildly, notions turned upside down, bent, cracked and everted."

"Paulin's execution of Ibsen's text carries lot of love and profound knowledge."

"Seriously comic surrealism"

"A very un-traditional concretization of a classic text"