Conceived and directed by JoAnne Akalaitis Dead End Kids: A History of Nuclear Power,Zellerbach Theater, Annenberg Center, University of Pennsylvania, September 23-27, 1983
Lee Breuer (book and lyrics), Bob Telson (music and lyrics) The Gospel at Colonus, James A. Doolittle Theater, Los Angeles / December 1985
Percy and Eleonore Aldon and Christopher Doherty (screenplay), Bob Telson (music), Lee Breuer (lyrics) Bagdad Café / 1987
Lee Breuer La Divina Caricatura (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2002)
Conceived by Lee Breuer, adapted by Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell from Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Mabou Mines DollHouse, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, New York, November 2003 / Freund Playhouse, University of California Los Angeles, November 28-December 10, 2006 / The performance I witnessed was on Sunday, December 3, 2006
While it is popular among contemporary directors to “deconstruct” classic dramatic texts, Lee Breuer refreshingly “reconstructs” Ibsen’s great drama. A Doll’s House is, in fact, one of the Norwegian playwright’s most contrived and preachy works; when performed today, 127 years after its original premiere, it is often a painful ordeal for actors and audience alike. But rather than eviscerating Ibsen’s dramatic achievement, Breuer simply revisits the text, investing its metaphors and Victorian structures with startling new meaning.
Indeed, Breuer and Mitchell draw on the whole bag of dramatic styles—tragic, histrionic, melodramatic, comic, farcical, and absurdist (a demonstration akin to the various dramatic genres named by Hamlet’s resident pedant, Polonius)—to point up the implications of Ibsen’s dialogue.
Los Angeles, December 4, 2006
Reprinted from The Green Integer Review, No. 7 (January 2007).