Peer Gynt

Premiere April 2020

Who is Peer Gynt? What is Peer Gynt? Why does Peer Gynt lie? Why does Peer Gynt drink? Where does Peer Gynt go? What is Peer Gynt running away from? Why is Peer Gynt banished? Why does Peer Gynt have fantasies of omnipotence? Why does Peer Gynt read the clouds? Why does Peer Gynt take it? Why does Peer Gynt dish out? Does Peer Gynt not have scruples? Is Peer Gynt a narcissist? Or is Peer Gynt full of love? Why does Peer Gynt have no goals? Why is Peer Gynt unable to commit? What does Peer Gynt really want? Are Peer Gynt’s wishes monstrous or all too human? Why does Peer Gynt build a house but leave it straight away? Why does Peer Gynt free a woman but leave her immediately? Why is it Peer Gynt’s story we recount, and not the stories of the slaves through whom he becomes wealthy? Why is it Peer Gynt’s story we recount, and not the stories of the women he destroys? Why does Peer Gynt travel from north to south? Why does Peer Gynt want to become an emperor, and why does he then become a colonial ruler? What is Peer Gynt’s reason for engaging in commerce, and why can he only stop when he loses everything? Why does Peer Gynt’s ship, and all his wealth, sink in the Mediterranean off the Moroccan coast? Why does Peer Gynt have no good goals? Why does Peer Gynt make it so far even so? Does Peer Gynt dedicate his life to revenge? What does Peer Gynt prophesy during his time as a prophet in the desert? What is the story he researches during his time as a historian? In the madhouse in Cairo, does Peer Gynt really meet madmen? Or is it Peer Gynt who is mad, not the residents of the madhouse? Does Peer Gynt meet his own past in Africa? What is Peer Gynt haunted by? Is Peer Gynt a criminal? Why does Peer Gynt travel from south to north in the end? What is the reason for his return to Norway? Why doesn’t Peer Gynt want to let himself be melted down in order to be united with other souls? Is Peer Gynt an onion, or an averted cut in the eye? Is Peer Gynt his flesh, into which he bites? Why is Peer Gynt not a sinner? Why is Peer Gynt not innocent? Is Peer Gynt a fantasy? Is Peer Gynt a departure or a return? Is Peer Gynt straightforward or ambivalent? Is Peer Gynt his drive, his ambition, his success? Or is Peer Gynt his sins, his crimes, his losses? What is the essence of Peer Gynt? Does Peer Gynt have a self? Or is it precisely the point that Peer Gynt has no self? Or is Peer Gynt’s self a herd of horses in a storm? Does Peer Gynt come from Europe? Is Peer Gynt a European? Is Peer Gynt – Europe?

The director Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson and the author Mikael Torfason present a new reading of Henrik Ibsen’s famous dramatic poem of 1867. They have given Peer Gynt a makeover with a particular focus on the history of Europe, permeated by expansive power, exploitation and double moral standards, and thus on the very continent that marks the start and end point of Peer Gynt’s chequered odyssey through the world.