Ila Arun brings Henrik Ibsen to Mumbai

The life and work of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is being celebrated in a four-day festival here which will see Indian adaptations of his famous plays like 'Peer Gynt' and 'The Master Builder'.

PTI| Updated: Oct 31, 2014, 18:10 PM IST
Ila Arun brings Henrik Ibsen to Mumbai

Mumbai: The life and work of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen is being celebrated in a four-day festival here which will see Indian adaptations of his famous plays like 'Peer Gynt' and 'The Master Builder'.

'When We Dead Awaken Ibsen Comes Alive' began today with a performance of 'Peer Gynt' in English by Norwegian artiste Kare Conradi. It was followed by Ibsen Jazz by Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer accompanied by pianist Helge Lien.

Tomorrow, there will be another performance of 'Peer Gynt', this time a Hindi adaptation by Arun and direction by K K Raina. A Gujarati adaptation of 'The Master Builder' will be staged on day three while the final day will be dedicated to a seminar 'The Task And Temptation of Adapting, Translating and Performing Ibsen'.

Festival director Ila Arun, who plans to make it an annual event in Mumbai's theatre calender, said she discovered Ibsen while adapting his 'Lady From The Sea' in Rajasthani for Dramatic Art and Design Academy in Delhi. Her trips to Norway further cemented her love for Ibsen.

"As an actor you only focus on your role but when I started adapting, I realised the importance of Ibsen in Indian context. What he wrote hundred years ago is still relevant today. I realised that his work holds a mirror to what is happening in Indian society today. He was ahead of his times," Arun told PTI in an interview.

The actor-singer said her Hindi adaptation of 'Peer Gynt' is set in present-day Kashmir.

"'Peer Gynt' is a long poem. I found that it can be told on an Indian canvas. I have based it in Kashmir and through poetry we try to convey our thoughts. It is a challenging play as the actor has to play Peer from the age of 20 to 80."
 

Arun said it was not easy to raise money to host the festival.

"It was very difficult to raise money for the event. We did receive some funding from Norwegian Embassy. Piyush Pandey was also very helpful but most of the corporates still shy away from supporting Hindi theatre.

"We have 200 to 300 people who are breathing and living Ibsen's ideology right now. They are enjoying the process but it is a struggle. However, I am confident that this will not happen next year because what we are doing is really good."

Arun said the festival will be bigger next year.

"The theme next year would be girl child and we plan to adapt 'The Wild Duck' next year.