More often referred to as Pillars of Society the play was the first of Ibsen's plays to be produced in this country in 1880. It centres around two old friends and a fifteen-year-old scandal that has driven one to America while the other has become the cornerstone of his community and a successful businessman. When the banished friend returns, the whole town is mortified, and the families threatened with condemnation and ruin. Calamity strikes when Bernickâs business prowess and pristine reputation are threatened by the revelation of a long-buried secret. Desperate to dodge exposure in the kowtowing local community, Bernick devises a pitiless plan which, by a shocking twist of fate, risks the one life he holds dear. The National marks the centenary of Ibsenâs death with a vital new version of this rarely performed thriller, set amid a society struggling against the rush of capitalism, the lure of America and the passionate beginnings of the fight for female emancipation. Running time 2 hrs 50 minsPerformers Damian Lewis (Karsten Bernic), Geraldine Alexander (Betty), Brid Brannan (Marta Bernick), Michelle Dockery (Dina Dorf), Michael Gould (Knap), Annabel Leventon (Mrs Rummel), Lesley Manville (Lona Hessell), Pamela Merrick (Mrs Lynge), Paul Moriarty (Aune), Justin Salinger (Hilmar Tonnesen), Una Stubbs (Mrs Holt), Michael Thomas (Rorlund).
Author Henrik Ibsen. Producer National Theatre. Adapted by Samuel Adamson. Director Marianne Elliott. Design Rae Smith. Lighting Chris Davey. Sound Ian Dickinson.