Amy Scarlett Theatre Designer

Ghosts

Ghosts

Written by Henrik Ibsen

The Royal Court Theatre

Ghosts (1882) by Henrik Ibsen is a naturalistic play, about the Alving family. The story’s drama centres around the tensions of family secrets, maintaining appearances and how they can unravel, causing people to become alienated and disillusioned. Ibsen’s play highlights many of the hypocrisies of 19th Century society.

The original play is set in a manor house conservatory and I decided to keep this basic premise and expand it to reflect the emotional state of the characters, particularly that of Mrs Alving. In this way, the greenhouse is symbolic of the family’s public appearance; once immaculately maintained, however it has been left to the wayside and the secrets and lies have grown out of control. The vines hide the world and restricts the outer sunlight. A once beautiful floral haven, and symbol of status, is now a dark and contracting, self-induced cage.

The costume are mostly earthy greens and browns, although slightly less vivid and more washed out and Mrs Alving’s coat is embroidered with vines. This is to imply how the tendrils of the lies have taken root and are slowly consuming the Alving family.

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