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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: October 12, 2012

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

In the last two months I have become involved with the great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. In my class at SUNY Old Westbury, I have had the pleasure of studying A Doll’s House with Professor Narayan Hedge of the English Department. Dr. Hedge is very meticulous and he studies the text line by line. Many subtleties of the text are brought forth and the ideas open up to the average reader.

In addition to A Doll’s House, Lorraine and I purchased tickets to the Manhattan Theater Club’s version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater.

Ibsen’s plays deal with moral, social and psychological themes. He challenges the middle class to think about the problems of society.

In A Doll’s House, he deals with Nora. She is the mother of three children and married to Torvald Helmer, a highly principled, condescending character. He treats Nora as if she were a child and she plays that role to make a happy home. She hides her intelligence and ability to uplift Torvald’s ideal. It is a tight drama of female emancipation from the lows and mores of that time period.

Ibsen wrote, “There are two kinds of conscience, one for men and one quite different for women. They don’t understand each other, but the woman is judged by masculine law, as though she was not a woman but a man. A woman cannot be herself in modern society.”

Intellectual freedom and female emancipation were his two major goals. In An Enemy of the People, the hero, Dr. Thomas Stockmann (played magnificently by Boyd Gaines) tells a newspaper that the water supply is laden with bacteria and new pipes must be installed. His brother, the mayor (played by Richard Thomas of The Waltons fame) tries to hush up the problem. Great confrontations by the brothers make for drama, as well as great acting. Once again, Ibsen has portrayed in his play social problems that ring true today.

Individual responsibility in a corrupt world is searching for a just and human society. I was happy and enlightened to be reacquainted with Henrik Ibsen.

News

One local playwright and his company — The Plainview Project — seem to be headed to the big leagues.

Claude Solnik of Plainview, the Plainview Project’s writer, is married with two children. While he has a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University, after graduating he ended up going into journalism, which currently remains his day job. But in his free time he indulged in his true passion, hammering out numerous play scripts until the day they he realized that he needed to stop sitting on these works he was creating and put them in the hands of actors that could give them life.

Even as they hoped the parties would reach a last-minute settlement, commuters across Long Island were scrambling last week to devise alternate plans for getting to work if Long Island Rail Road’s 5,400 workers go on strike July 20. And they were vocal in their anger with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The strike, it seems, has roused commuter ire over a wide range of LIRR issues, from timeliness to cleanliness to costs.

“I’ll have to figure out a new way home from work,” said Marco Allicastro, a 20-year-old Queens resident waiting for a train home at the Bethpage station after a day’s work at the local King Kullen. “Long Island doesn’t really have a lot of options in terms of transportation. Maybe I should get a new job.”


Calendar

Sonny And Perley

Saturday, July 26

Women Artists You Should Know

Thursday, July 31

Adult Summer Reading Club

Through Aug. 7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com