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Vikings of Helgeland

By Henrik Ibsen. Adapted by Eline Arbo.

"A feast of a performance"

Drama of intrigue, family tragedy, and feminist manifesto.

Ibsenian Viking drama in a post-apocalyptic age.

Hjørdis is a conflict-loving, uncompromising and fiery woman, moulded from a world ruled by raw muscle and honour. Resentful of male advantage, she seeks to navigate a society that permits her no room to develop as she desires. When Hjørdis discovers that she is living a lie, she ruthlessly demonstrates her willingness to fight for what she believes in.

One of Henrik Ibsen’s early plays, and pointing the direction of his future work, the ironically titled Vikings of Helgeland is a drama of intrigue, a feminist manifesto and a family tragedy. Hjørdis, played by Kjersti Tveterås, is an Ibsen archetype, a Hedda on speed, who understands that she is living the wrong marriage, and who proudly and passionately stirs revenge. As in The Wild Duck, her life’s delusion is exposed – and as in Little Eyolf, her own young son is who stands in her way. The conclusion is, as can be expected, fatal.

The setting for Ibsen’s Vikings of Helgeland was the pagan Viking Age – far removed from the safety and protection of modern rule of law. Instead, the young and aspiring director Eline Arbo sets the play in a post-apocalyptic age; post-Christianity, and post ideas of morality, human rights and equality on which our society relies. “Today, faith in societal structures and politicians is crumbling,” notes Arbo, pointing to the waves of civil unrest which have brought about unforeseen political turbulence in recent years. She sees her production as a thought experiment: How do you survive in an extreme world, where everybody must fight for themselves and what is theirs?

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Performed at Amfiscenen from 13 August 2019.

Duration: Approx. 1 hour and 25 minutes without intermission.