Writers: Henrik Ibsen Richard Eyre


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
norway, 1890s
Cast Size
Ideal for
Small Cast, Star Vehicle Female
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, mature adult, late teen, young adult characters


In Richard Eyre’s Olivier-award-winning adaptation of Ibsen’s groundbreaking masterpiece, long-held secrets are revealed, uncomfortable truths are faced, and a troubled family meets a cruel and unavoidable fate. On her estate in rural Norway, Helene Alving lives with the bitter memory of her cruel, philandering late husband. To escape the ghosts that plague her, she decides to tell her son, Oswald, the truth about his outwardly respectable father when Oswald returns home from Paris. However, Oswald has returned home with a secret of his own. After living as a painter in Paris, his health has deteriorated with the effects of long-term venereal disease and wretched Oswald holds himself accountable for his own fate. Aware of Regina’s (Helen’s maid) attachment for him, Oswald hatches a plan to marry her so that she can look after him as he gets progressively worse. However, Helene must reveal two uncomfortable truths that shatter Oswald’s world. Not only is his syphilis inherited from his lecherous father, but Regina is his half-sister. With these secrets out in the open, Regina flees and Oswald quickly declines, begging his mother to end his life while she still can. Hard-hitting, emotionally gripping, and full of moral questions, Richard Eyre’s production strips back Ibsen’s work to it’s most intense form

Editor’s Note: Although it is written in 2 acts, this new adaptation was originally performed in 1 act of 90 minutes, without an interval.

Lead Characters

Ghosts guide sections