Ghost Busters

Turkmenistan-born theatre director and Uzbek artistes will present their interpretation of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's plays created a sensation among audiences in the 19th century due to their attack on societal norms. Ghosts was one such play, first performed in 1881, that took on the hypocrisy of moral values and dealt with taboo subjects such as infidelity and illegitimacy. Now, an adaptation of this family drama will be presented in the Capital by Turkmenistan-born theatre director Ovlyakuli Khodjakuli.

Khodjakuli, one of the most sought after theatre directors in Central Asia, has come to Delhi along with the Ilkhom Theatre group from Uzbekistan. The group will interpret Ghosts in Russian language on December 3 as part of the ongoing Delhi Ibsen Festival. The play deals with the theme of the complete destruction of the institution of family.

Khodjakuli says the most touching moment of the play is towards the end, when the protagonist's son makes a daring confession to his mother regarding his illness and his love for her. "The scene shows how mothers can't let go of their children and can go to any extent for their sake. Children sometimes try to manipulate them and the mothers bear the psychological abuse," he adds. Khodjakuli believes that even though Ibsen raised the issue more than a 100 years ago, it is still relevant. "A ghost is a symbol of our animal instincts and a return to the non-civilised state, where there are no ethical and moral standards. This ghost chases each character of the play," elucidates Khodjakuli.

The play covers significant issues of humanity that surpass national, cultural and territorial differences.

For the five actors who are part of the two-hour performance, the most challenging part was to figure out what Ibsen was trying to say through the play and what the director wanted them to do. They say they had "a difficult time mixing both the worlds together".

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