The Lady from the Sea
23 November 2019
Here by the rocks a mermaid lies, half-dead. She has wandered hither from the sea and can’t find her way out again. And so, you see, she lies there dying in the brackish water.
Such is the inner image of a woman living torn between a predictable family life routine and her unfulfilled ideals. She has everything that is treasured in our society as a condition for a carefree and serene life. She has a loving husband, great wealth, agreeable family environment and a stable everyday life. She has all the conditions to be happy. Yet she is torn apart deep down inside. She is driven by an an unfulfilled desire to break predictable social patterns and venture into the unknown. She is being pulled out into the open sea. Torn between reality and fantasy she is slowly pining away. Increasingly, she is turning into someone whom people want to see in her. She lives as is expected of her. She has supressed her longing and succumbed to conformism. In a little while, she will be completely domesticated.
Ellida is a member of a family living in a small Scandinavian town, practically cut off from the world. A foreigner rarely ventures into the magnificent fjords, steep cliffs and windswept hills. Her hometown in the north comes to life only in summer, when it gets busy with holidaymakers and the slow steamboats begin to promise that there is somewhere far away a better and more beautiful life. Steamboats bring hope. This summer the family will be visited by a family friend and former tutor of the children, Mr Arnholm. His arrival will slowly disclose the veils of a mysterious past and reveal a suppressed family story, resembling a psychological thriller in which all relations are firmly interwoven.
Ibsen, the great master of Norwegian drama, centred his story referring to Norwegian mythology around the subject of a partnership relationship. Wild images of Scandinavian landscape are punctuated by an analysis of psychological mechanisms of love. Using methodically arranged couples, it enables our reflection on various aspects of living in a partnership. Why does one want to live one’s life as a couple? What are the social circumstances that condition our choices like? Torn between their internal instincts and social pressures the protagonists of our story try to find the answers for themselves.
Ellida Wangel, his second wife
Bolette, his elder daughter from a previous marriage
Hilda, his younger daughter from a previous marriage