SO and I have our birthday within 2.5 weeks from each other. Last year my parents were pretty much at a loss as to what to give us. Mum, not entirely without observational ability, had noticed that though we love going to theatre etc we had not been there for a while. In part this was due to family issues, in part because we had so much on our plates and had not been taking the time. My parents therefore had bought us a theatre giftcard (podiumcadeaukaart) as our birthday present. It is redeemable in most theatres for a large number of shows. Sort of giving us that nudge to go, but still giving us the freedom to choose what we wanted to see.
SO and I decided during the christmas break to have a look around to see if we could find something we liked, but was a tad different from our usual. We ended up with the original play to one of our most favourite pieces of music Ibsen‘s Peer Gynt.
The play was a 20 minute drive and on Friday evening. It also happened to be on the day that the car had to go into the garage for its warrant of fitness too. So everything was carefully planned. Dinner was an easy meal, which I made knowing what time SO would be home.
We had plenty of time in the end, because we had made good arrangements between us. Time worked out despite the fact that we nearly drove over a cyclist and a pedestrian (which both decided to cross the road without looking to see if there was any traffic, behaving like complete idiots) and SO nearly knocked over another pedestrian when walking around the corner at the garage. Well on time to see this piece of which we find the music so enchanting. And we were looking forward to having a night out in a way we have not done for some time.
Some of Grieg’s music was reworked and used in the piece giving it at least in part a flavour of recognition. The play itself was retranslated form Norwegian to Dutch using rhyme as the original is. Using rhyme gave specifically the mountain king part a wonderful funny flavour. I loved that part, though concentration is needed to fully keep up with the wonderful play of words that is happening in an ever changing storyline. The play is very much focussed on the story with a rather minimalist decor, which is ever changing despite the (seemingly) simple set-up. As the play jumps between Peer’s life and dreams it is sometimes hard to keep up with what is real and what is not. But it pulls you in. It is never boring but also not relaxing because you need to keep up. It was just as well that we had read some of the story in the program as it really helped us. It is not very surprising that I am finding some parts of the play reminiscent of Tolkien (though time scale wise it is the other way around) as they both draw from the old Norwegian saga though in very different ways.
SO loved everything about it. I initially found it interesting but would not have said loved it. However in part this turns out that this was because I needed to digest the full extend of it. As I write this the play has sunk in more, it landed and it is still on my mind. Right now I would sign up to see it again as I found it bewitching and thought-provoking. It is kinda under my skin. I like that, I like it when something new comes along and I need to come to terms with what I have seen, because the appeal is there, just not the instant landing. For me it is a form of learning and exploring in my mind. It needs to find a place in me as there is no ready box where it fits. To help the settling in of this intriguing piece I am playing the Grieg‘s Peer Gynt suite. My appreciation of the music seems to have deepened now I have seen the play. It makes more sense instead of being just a wonderful piece of music.
All in all it was a wonderful evening with a lot of new things to take in. Both SO and I felt we should do this more often. Sure it is tiring as this was a long piece, but as I tried to convey also nourishing and deeply satisfactory.