theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Ralph Fiennes likes a challenge. He picks his parts like a pole-vaulter pushing himself higher. Last year, it was Jack Tanner in the moral maze of Shaw’s “Man and Superman,” a four-hour tongue twister in human form. Now, it’s the title character of Ibsen’s “The Master Builder,” Halvard Solness — a tangle of ambition, paranoia and buried guilt. It’s a commanding performance, but not a revealing one, and David Hare’s light-touch adaptation offers little steer for navigating the mix of myth, symbolism and psychology that’s typical of late Ibsen.
Solness is Ibsen’s Icarus. A great architect (self-taught, he prefers “master builder”), he dreads being usurped by his young assistant Ragnar (Martin Hutson), son to the man he himself supplanted years earlier. Gradually, his thoughts turn to legacy: a grand steeple, high enough to make a mark on the world.
The Master Builder
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