I saw my first Ibsen at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, last November. It was of course John Gabriel Borkman, one of Henrik Ibsen's later plays, with the superb triumvirate leading cast of Fiona Shaw, Lindsay Duncan and Alan Rickman. It was very easy to enjoy, being a powerfully emotive yet intimate piece, and my friend and I were lucky enough (or obsessive enough!) to see the play evolve over three consecutive evening performances, as the director was making alterations prior to take the production to BAM in the New Year.
Emperor and Galilean, written some twenty years earlier, is an epic with a massive cast, and is Ibsen's longest play. Ibsen allegedly regarded it as the cornerstone of his work, yet it is one of his lesser known and least performed pieces. I don't think it has ever been performed in English before.
I'm not sure why I'm hesitating. Is it the subject matter? It is historically interesting – the Emperor Julian tries to roll back the times and return to the old, pre-Christian gods. Obviously this only helped to entrench opinion and establish Christianity. Is it the length of the play? I'm not sure of it's total running time, but I fear getting fidgety. On the other hand, the promise of 'a cathedral of sound and ritual' is very enticing.
So far, there are still plenty of tickets available, but I seem unable to commit. Help me out here somebody please! Persuade and prod me in the right direction... :-)