Currently no Performances
"I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts…it is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant all the same, and we can never be rid of them. There must be ghosts all over the country." Henrik Ibsen
An eerie loneliness rules among the Alving family. The most dangerous ghost in Ibsen’s counter-piece to “A Doll’s House” is the life-long lie of Helene Alving, who has – in stark contrast to Nora in "A Doll’s House" – been wearing her familial corset for far too long. Striving to give her son Osvald the most unencumbered life possible, she must face the painful truth that her devotion to social double standards amounts to the sacrifice of her beloved son. Because Osvald, entirely unaware of the truth, cannot break free from his family’s heritage and goes insane. Incurably ill – like a revenant of his dead father –, he asks his mother of all people to end his young life. We will never be free of the ghosts that we have conjured up because they dwell in our unexplored inner psyche.
Set designer Raimund Orfeo Voigt has created a spatial labyrinth from which there seems to be no escape. No outside to be seen. The isolation that reigns in the Alving household and the impossibility for the individual to penetrate the situation is given a concentrated spatial rendering.
Slovenian theatre and opera director Mateja Koležnik has already directed four of Ibsen’s plays. She regularly works in Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, Basel and Ljubljana. Mateja Koležnik has received numerous awards and distinctions.
We regularly present performances of "Ghosts" with English surtitles. You can find the dates here. Our box office staff will be happy to tell you from which seats you will have a good sight-line to the surtitles. For the best view of both stage and surtitles, we recommend seats in the stalls (Parkett) from row 11, or in the balconies (1. Rang, 2. Rang). Seats in the side boxes have a partially obstructed view.
Casts & Staff
“Crystal-clear, oppressive: Mateja Koležnik’s staging of ‘Gespenster (Ghosts)’ at Berliner Ensemble features a sublime Corinna Kirchhoff.”
“But the way that Mateja Koležnik confines her characters in absolute isolation gives the drama a distressing topicality. A must for every theatre lover.”
“One has to rummage around in one's memory for quite some time to come up with a similarly radical, strongly formal staging, which, like Mateja Koležnik's Ibsen classic, now remains so close to the text and yet at the same time sends the audience's eyes into a searching movement, which always keeps everything completely alienating.”
“This Ibsen touches a nerve.”
“As Mrs Alving, the martinet lady of the house, Corinna Kirchhoff achieves magnificent, at times funny, moments that allow those remnants of joie de vivre to flash up which are so often mentioned in the play. In fact, she is a figure of light in this show, wresting a glow and a few sparks of freedom from her old-fashioned severity.”
“Nevertheless, the Slovenian director has given a radical topicality to this classic: by transferring the collective experience of lockdown ‘Stay at Home’ to the play – and prescribing social distancing, as it were. This is very powerful. And while we all felt our own confinement as a burden a few months ago, it makes for a marvellous evening of theatre.”
“The stage, designed by Raimund Orfeo Voigt and Leonie Wolf, is like a cabinet of horrors, a light-poor tangle of corridors, which, like in the board game 'Das verrückte Labyrinth' (The Crazy Labyrinth) popular years ago, is newly composed of rotating stage elements scene by scene.”
“In fact, in its spatial synchronicity of contrary views, this production celebrates the theatre in a new and uncanny manner.”
“This theatre experiences is as sombre as it is exciting; it shows how important it is to adopt Ibsen’s principle of following your own conscience rather than the ideals of others.”
“In its sombre illumination, this tableau sometimes seems as though Rembrandt had applied his brush to it.”