Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
Ibsen's Ghosts: Stephen Unwin's last hurrah at the Rose Theatre
He's been unofficially crowned as “the finest director of Ibsen in Britain”.
And for the past six years, he’s been officially known as artistic director of the Rose Theatre.
So it makes sense that Stephen Unwin should choose the Norwegian playwright for his directorial bow before leaving the High Street venue in January.
Ghosts, directed and translated by Unwin himself, starts a three-week run at The Rose on September 19.
In a neat little sign-off, it has been co-produced by the English Touring Company, the group Unwin founded 20 years ago.
“It’s quite a big moment for me personally,” says Unwin. “It’s my swansong here and a co-production with ETT in its 20th anniversary. I’m going to be sad to go.”
It will be the seventh time Unwin has directed a Henrik Ibsen play, and the second time he has done so at the Rose, following last year’s The Lady from the Sea with Joely Richardson.
So what is it about Ibsen that keeps Unwin coming back?
“What I love about it is this is the writer of the modern world,” says Unwin.
“He writes about the stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis.
“He writes about men and women, fathers and sons, kids, families, lies and the truth.
“What he had running through all of his plays was that a human being has to be allowed to be themselves.
“He was saying: ‘I have to be able to be me, and I can’t pretend to be anybody else. I can’t fit into anybody’s box’.”
Stephen Unwin (left) with chief executive Robert O'Dowd
Ibsen’s importance cannot be underestimated. His works are the most frequently performed after Shakespeare – although Unwin knows who he prefers.
“Shakespeare, marvellous as he is, is all about fairies and kings and people I’ve never met,” he says.
“I think that’s the main reason why I’m drawn to Ibsen.
“It’s about how you balance individuality with a sense of society, and in particular families. That’s the thing that runs through all of the plays.”
Ghosts is the story of Osvald, who returns home from Paris to honour his dead father.
“There’s the lad whose dad was a dangerous drunk, but he’s been brought up to think his dad was marvellous,” says Unwin.
“The mum tells the truth about his dad so they can stop living a lie, so how do you do that without damaging the kid?”
How will Unwin feel after directing his final Rose Theatre play? “I want to keep a connection with the Rose,” he says. “It isn’t goodbye.”
Ghosts, Rose Theatre High Street Kingston. Thursday September 19 to Saturday October 12; tickets £8 to £28.50 Call 08444 821 556 or visit rosetheatrekingston.org
- Psychedelic Furbies: Rock group Toy set to play Kingston
- Review: The Beat live at Kingsmeadow
- Even more to Shout! about this Christmas
- Interview: Rough Copy dream of Croydon homecoming gig and life after X-Factor
Comments are closed on this article.