Little Eyolf

By Henrik Ibsen

Translated, Designed and Directed by Terje Tveit

Lighting Design: Finnuala McNulty

Technical Assistant: Paul Engers

Images courtesy of

Produced with the generous support of

Riverside Studios

17 January – 12 February, 2006

Teatret Vårt

Molde, Norway

10 - 11 March, 2006

Parken Kulturhus

Ålesund, Norway

12 March, 2006

Rita is confronting Allmers and pushing his manuscript against his chest. Allmers facial expression is a mix of helplessnes and despair.

© Image courtesy of StagePhoto

Little Eyolf, Riverside Studios

Allmers and Rita, on their knnes, are facing each in a confronational moment. Allmers' manuscript is scattered on the ground around them.

© Image courtesy of StagePhoto

Little Eyolf, Riverside Studios

The Rat Wife is performing a trick with her umbrella as if it has a life of its own. She has put up the umbrella and turned it on its head as it is a carousel. and making i

© Image courtesy of StagePhoto

Little Eyolf, Riverside Studios

Rita is leaning on an upright trunk. Her pose is sensual and unapologetic.

© Image courtesy of StagePhoto

Little Eyolf, Riverside Studios

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Little Eyolf, Review in Romsdalen Budstikke

“Rita, [is] played with simmering feistiness by Sarah Head. Rita is an intriguingly modern Ibsen heroine, a woman who is not, in the words of today's magazines, Getting What She Wants In Bed and is not afraid to say so. Head acts her fellow cast members off the stage.”

“Poetic, intensely detailed production that takes rarely-seen Ibsen out of the realistic frame. Just three months after Terje Tveit’s production for Dale Teater Kompani [Ibsen Stage Company] of Ibsen’s early, expansive Peer Gynt, covering decades and continents with a 14-strong ensemble, it’s fascinating to see his account of the much later, extremely compact Little Eyolf. The intense relationships lie between the three adult Allmers, giving this play its Freudian landscape. [...] Directing in his non-realistic ensemble style, Tveit loses the claustrophobia of a living-room and the sheer everydayness of the Allmers’ agonized marriage. The abstract setting can make the dialogue seem abstract also. But the gains are immense in unlocking Eyolf’s modernity and Ibsen’s astonishing psychological acuity. Alfred doubly denies life: in his marriage to Sarah Head’s black-clad Rita – they look away from each other whenever they talk - and in seeing Eyolf only as a vessel to continue his great literary project. Loose manuscript pages are stored in a huge suitcase kept central stage, till Alfred stuffs it under a mini-bridge, scenic echo of the water where Eyolf (already crippled in a moment of parental neglect) drowns. Almost mockingly, using the kind of revelation he despised in nineteenth century boulevard dramatists, Ibsen reveals Asta and Alfred are not blood-relatives. There’s been no doubt where true passion lies; Alfred may be too obsessed with his self-image to realize, but Valborg Frøysnes’ patient, resignedly pained yet loving Asta is more self-aware. Thematically choreographed, with Head especially showing the pain of a strangled relationship, with crippled Eyolf viewing people through his crutch and Rosalind Stockwell’s quietly sinister Rat-Wife ever-present, this production needs careful following but shows Little Eyolf in its full depth, picking up themes running through Ibsen’s earlier, more famous dramas.”

Front cover of the Italian theatre magazine Hystrio.

Little Eyolf, Hystrio

“It’s little wonder that the capital’s theatreland is in such creative disarray when some of the most engaging and thrilling theatre currently being staged in London plays outside the West End. Dale Teater Kompani’s [Ibsen Stage Company] adaptation of Little Eyolf is truly wonderful. Directed with flair by Terje Tveit, the production is stunning, a triumph of simple set design and graceful performances. Little Eyolf is awash with symbolism: the physical crutch of the young crippled Eyolf acting as a crutch in his parents’ relationship; an old wooden suitcase acting as a catalyst for a journey of return, as well as a journey of freedom. There is plenty to wade through and ponder here, but Dale Teater Kompani’s [Ibsen Stage Company] staging is hugely accessible, distinguished by brisk pacing and compelling performances. [...] Sadness and remorse, as in most Ibsen, soon descends upon the Allmers household; suffice to say that the accidental death of little Eyolf brings familial secrets and longings to the fore, lighting the touch-paper on the near-destruction of a rocky marriage. The entire cast of the Dale Teater Kompani [Ibsen Stage Comany] is outstanding, with special praise reserved for Head and Frøysnes in the demanding roles of the two women caught up in this maelstrom of emotion. [...] With an enthusiastic and assured production, the themes in Ibsen’s writing come vividly to life on the stage of the Riverside Studios. Terje Tveit’s production of Little Eyolf is a wonder to experience.”

“Ibsen is renowned for creating strong, passionate women in his plays and Little Eyolf, one of his lesser known plays, is no exception. [...] Sarah Head, who is a force to be reckoned with, plays the dominant Rita Allmers with a mix of vulnerability and hard-hearted sharpness. Her sentences are delivered quickly and sharply, her movements stilted and her eyes are constantly wide open and searching. She honestly acknowledges her deep love and suffering but cannot do anything about it. During her struggle the course of her life changes again and her son dies by drowning, igniting resentment between herself and her husband. The set is small and simple but Dale Teater Kompani [Ibsen Stage Company] prove you don’t need elaborate scenery to create great theatre. They succeed in bringing to life vivid and haunting images throughout – the lifeless Eyolf lying on the bottom of the fjord with his eyes wide open, the crutch floating alone on the water. The play is a beautiful, sad and honest portrayal of a family trying to come to terms with their own desires under tragic circumstances. It has been pointed out that, after Shakespeare, Ibsen is the most performed playwright, and having seen this powerful production of Little Eyolf, it is easy to see why.”

“Eyes of Eyolf [...] Little Eyolf and the crippled Allmers family looked both each other – and life – straight in the eye in a production of uncompromising and intense reality performing at Forum in Molde last Friday. A top-score production presented by Dale Teater Kompani [Ibsen Stage Company]. The play from 1894 has stood the test of time, and with the energy given by the ensemble, the production could easily kill off any of today’s TV-reality-nonsense. The actors were captivating, and the interaction between Sarah Head/Edward Fulton as husband and wife Rita and Alfred Allmers was electrifying. Valborg Frøysnes, Shane Armstrong, Stephen Doran and particularly Rosalind Stockwell as the mysterious Rat-Wife were impressive. Terje Tveit directs with a deft hand and is also responsible for the English translation. [...] Alfred and Rita Allmers are a married couple in deep crisis. Both are seeking something to hold onto, searching for goals that are unattainable. A family drama on the edge where disappointment and bitterness are eating away what once was their common pride and happiness. [...] A brave production from Dale Teater Kompani [Ibsen Stage Company] and Teatret Vårt, and first and foremost a triumph for the actors. They showed the discipline, energy and ability to present the play in a production which probably would have delighted Ibsen greatly. Also credit to Carl Morten Amundsen who has succeeded in hooking this ensemble to Molde.”

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Little Eyolf, Review in Hystrio

“Edward Fulton is a seriously good Alfred who brings out the character’s yearning to regress to infantile sexuality. Sarah Head as his wife, conversely, progresses from animalistic desire to spiritual charity confirming my view the play should really be called Educating Rita. And Valborg Froysnes loyally recalls the unsatisfied itch under Asta’s long-skirted severity.”