When asked to sum up what I had learned over the course of a semester in an Ibsen class, I pondered, then replied:
“Oh Ibsen, what to say what to say… after a semester of reading his works I think it is clear to see why Ibsen & his works remain so important to readers/audiences today. Though criticism of his works has sometimes expressed controversy/confusion (is he a realist or a symbolist? feminist or humanist? poet or dramatist?), almost all agree that he brought innovation to theater. Ibsen did not believe in art for art’s sake. He believed in action, his dramas almost always making social commentary and critique (with exception of some of his later works which focused on his earlier, loftier poetic themes). My favorite example of this is Enemy of the People, Stockmann almost a caricature of Ibsen himself: tellin’ it like it is. In the play, Stockmann finds a flaw in the system (namely, the water treatment & contamination), and he brings it to the forefront of social discussion where no one else dares. The character is a media revolutionary, publishing the facts for even those who don’t want to hear. Ibsen’s plays treat society with similar irreverence, though Ibsen is more characteristic of asking questions than of answering them – his plays often posing open-ended social commentary. That, I think, is the enduring draw of Ibsen’s works. He asks questions and critics get a kick out of answering.”
Gahhh. I really need to start writing more that ISN’T about Ibsen (or David Lynch). Clearly I’m one of those people… you know, who gets a kick out of Ibsen. A poindexter, if you will. If you won’t, well, that’s fine, too.