Theatre puritists will argue there are some stories you simply cannot alter in any way, shape or form.  Narrative flexibles scoff at such a notion claiming classics become more classical when adapted.

 

Canadian playwright Erin Shields’ new version of Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea is touching playgoers in a new way at the Shaw Festival’s Court House Theatre.

 

Directed by Meg Roe, the Shaw commissioned version – which was three years in the making – revitalizes Ibsen’s rarely produced romance with a contemporary sensibility. Shield’s adaptation captures the emotional intensity of the Ibsen classic, which raises questions of love, freedom, sacrifice and fulfillment.

 

Ellida (Moya O’Connell), a lighthouse keeper’s daughter who loves the sea, swims in the fjord every day to suppress her ever-growing claustrophobia and restlessness. Still haunted by a promise made long ago to a lost love, she plays the dutiful wife and stepmother to widower Dr. Wangel (Ric Reid) and his daughters. On a late summer’s day, an English ship comes down the fjord – the man from her past has come back to claim her.

 

The Shaw’s production of The Lady from the Sea also features the talents of Neil Barclay, Kyle Blair, Darcy Gerhart, Jacqueline Thair and Mark Uhre.

 

Camellia Koo’s set and costumes,along with lighting design by Kevin Lamotte and a soundscape created by composer and sound designer Alessandro Juliani evokes a distant Norwegian town on the shore of a fjord.

 

The world premiere production of Erin Shields’ version of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea is on stage at the Court House Theatre (26 Queens Street, Niagara-on-the-Lake) untilSeptember 13, 2015. For ticket info and showtimes visit www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-SHAW.

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