John Gabriel Borkman – July 2012

Borkman Ad with performance details & ticket source

John Gabriel Borkman by Henrik Ibsen

Directed by Emanuel Garcia

Performances 19,20,21 July and 26,27,28 July

7:30 pm at Muritai School Theatre,  Muritai Road, Eastbourne

Promo video

Winner of “Best Drama” award in the 2012 Wellington District Theatre Federation Full Length Play Competition

Adjudicators Report on “John Gabriel Borkman”

Video Act 1

Video Act 2

Video Act 3

Video Act 4 ( make sure you have a box of tissues handy!)


The play takes place in Oslo (then called Christiania) in a wintry landscape that reflects the iciness of Borkman’s relationships. Borkman, played by Barry Mawer, is a corrupt and disgraced banker, who embezzled depositors’ funds to invest in a failed mining venture. He has been back home for eight years after serving 5 years in prison, but has imprisoned himself upstairs. His wife Gunhild (Sandra Gillespie), who has not seen him for years, hears only his pacing. His only visitors are his clerk Foldal, (Peter Baldock) and Foldal’s daughter Frida (Rhiannon Bertaud-Gander) who plays the piano to soothe him.

Borkman is unrepentant and vain, and waits to be vindicated. “ The only person I sinned against was myself” he protests. He craves economic power – power to build mines, railways and shipping lines, which he believes would bring happiness to many – so much that he sacrifices morality, reputation, and everyone he loves to this desire. He has loved, not his wife Gunhild but her sister Ella (Florence McFarlane) who he betrays in his lust for power. The penultimate scene is a tussle between the sisters for the love of Borkman’s son Erhart (Laurence Ward) who rejects them both for his love for Mrs Wilton (Elspeth Cotsilinis).


Erhard Borkman

Mrs Wilton

Frida Foldal



Gunhild Borkman

Ella confronts the Borkmans

The two sisters

Carol deep in wigs!

The great rostrum build

The apprentice!

Workers & Supervisors!

Borkman’s cloak is a 2 women job

A good turn out


Director’s notes

Director’s review video

Although John Gabriel Borkman was extraordinarily popular when it premiered in 1896 and was produced throughout Europe the following year, it has had relatively few appearances on the modern stage, a notable exception being the recent revival by the Abbey Theatre in 2010. On the surface, the play chronicles the fate of an embezzler, and thus resonates with topical relevance in an age of  financial skulduggery.  However Borkman reaches far below the surface into the realms of poetry and psychology, and I think it is the difficulty of communicating these aspects that has resulted in its relative neglect.  In fact, Borkman  has been presented only once before in New Zealand, and it is fitting that during a year celebrating the silver jubilee Troupe members will dare to render Ibsen’s masterwork.

The setting of the play, so beautifully suggested by Edward Munch’s painting ‘Starry Night”, is as important as the drama unfolding within it and our production will seek to integrate visual spectacle with a soundscape to accentuate the dramatic beauties of a work that has come to be referred to as Ibsen’s “Lear.”


Production Script of John Gabriel Borkman

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