Hiram College’s theatre arts department will present “Gnit,” a decidedly American and rough adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt,” a 19th century Norwegian play, on Oct. 17-18 and 24-25, 2014.
The performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Renner Theater of the Frohring Performing Arts Building.
Creating your own interpretation of a famous play can be a challenge – even more so when it is based on a play in a language you don’t speak. Yet that’s exactly what playwright Brian Eno tackled when creating “Gnit.” This American adaptation tells a story of bad decisions, deceiving oneself and the search for the authentic self – but absolutely nothing about Norway.
The title character, Peter Gnit, stands in for the audience in the everyman structure. He lives out his life, and the audience follows every misstep along the way; his misadventures inspire the audience to think about the choices they make in our world.
“Peer Gynt” promoted a Norwegian sense of self, with trolls, a common Norwegian folklore motif, as well as other aspects of Norwegian life and folklore. Eno then twisted them into modernized American versions. Instead of becoming highly intoxicated with trolls and then getting harassed by the troll king, Gnit now faces a real estate family. There are still a few accents of mythology, magic and mystery in the play.
“Eno has taken what was specifically Norwegian and streamlined it extremely to be about our capacity for deceiving ourselves,” said Theatre Arts Professor and Director Rick Hyde.
Despite the many changes in Eno’s American interpretation, the core message survives to teach a new generation in a more relatable manner.
A group of six actors were brought together to take on the various characters that come and go in Peter Gnit’s life. Reflecting the play’s “slightly off center” nature, black box theatre will be set up as a “slightly off center” stage.
No tickets are required for entry. Hyde suggests attendees arrive 15 minutes early to ensure a seat.