Ibsen's The Master Builder

The Questors Theatre until 5 December

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Simon Roberts and Claudia Carroll in The Master Builder

Simon Roberts and Claudia Carroll

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Ibsen's powerful and ground-breaking emotional drama The Master Builder is one of his most personal plays. It's got the lot: fear, grief, love, duty, and something of the fantastical.

Following a life of outstanding success as a master builder, despite the personal tragedies affecting his family and marriage, Halvard Solness lives in fear that the younger generation will displace him and make his life meaningless. But the unexpected arrival of a bewitching young woman, Hilde Wangel, to hold him to a forgotten 10-year-old promise, gives him new inspiration. But is it possible to build castles in the air while your demons are dragging you down?

Simon Roberts plays Halvard Solness, a role he has long wanted to play: "Roles having the complexity and intensity of Halvard Solness don't come along every five minutes," says Simon. "He is on stage for most of the play, so it's a part that requires a lot of energy and a lot of you emotionally."

Claudia Carroll plays Hilde Wangel: "Hilde is the embodiment of vitality and light but she has a dark element to her that lives in a dream world and whole heartedly believes in the impossible. I was attracted to her for her youthful sense of hope and her determination to get what she wants."

Simon and Claudia are joined by an exceptional ensemble cast and an experienced backstage and creative team.

The Master Builder is directed for The Questors by John Davey, assisted by Peter Gould: "Ibsen's later plays are extraordinarily good pieces of theatre. We've found this in rehearsal when every line brings something new; it colours something which has been said before or builds towards something new. It's a rich text, but not heavy. Again and again you're forced to admire the sheer quality and depth of Ibsen's writing."

Ibsen wrote The Master Builder in 1892, so is it still relevant for modern audiences? As John says, "Great drama endures. It speaks to audiences across time because it deals with lasting human preoccupations and dilemmas. Ibsen certainly does that. Like all great plays, it's about the choices which human beings make about how to live their lives. Choices which lead to happiness or misery, to triumph or defeat, life or death. The extraordinary thing about plays from this period, especially those written by Ibsen and Chekhov, is that they still seem ground-breaking. They still seem fresh and challenging. They've retained their emotional heft."

The play will be performed in the Studio in the round: "Plays of this sort of intensity respond well to a real proximity with the audience. And the intimacy of the Studio setting makes the possibility of close engagement even stronger."

The Questors Theatre production of The Master Builder runs 27 November – 5 December in the Studio.

The Questors present
The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Kenneth McLeish
in the Studio at The Questors Theatre, Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 5BQ
27 Nov-5 Dec at 7.45pm; 29 Nov at 2.30pm
£14 (£12 conc, £7 under-16/student), final Fri/Sat £17.00 (£14 conc, £9 under-16/student)
Bargain Tickets £7.00 on 27 November
Full details and online booking: www.ealingtheatre.com
Box Office: 020 8567 5184


2nd December 2015