The Master Builder

Henrik Ibsen
Translated by David Hare
Date Published
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The change will come. And it’s not far away, I promise you that. Some figure will emerge from the dark screaming ‘Get out of the way’. And not far behind others will follow… The young are waiting. In all their power. Knocking on the door.

The master builder Halvard Solness has a fear of falling. A self-made man, without professional qualifications, he has achieved domination in the town but he’s increasingly frightened of being displaced by the young. A woman, Hilde Wangel, appears from the mountains, claiming to have known Solness ten years previously, and telling him of a promise he made to her when she thirteen.

David Hare has written a new adaptation of one of Henrik Ibsen’s most complex autobiographical masterpieces – a mesmeric exploration of control, power, lust and death, which builds to a vertiginous climax.

The Master Builder premiered in this English version at The Old Vic, London, in January 2016.

Critic Reviews

A play that offers one of the most searing self-portraits in drama.

Critic Reviews

A ferociously unflattering self-portrait of the artist as an ageing man. It weaves together the realistic, the mythical, and the symbolism of the subconscious mind as it journeys into the protagonist's mid-life crisis.

Critic Reviews

A beautifully controlled and intelligent production.


Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), Norwegian poet and playwright, was one of the shapers of modern theatre, who tempered naturalism with an understanding of social responsibility and individual psychology. His earliest major plays, Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867), were large-scale verse dramas, but with Pillars of the Community (1877) he began to explore contemporary issues. There followed A Doll’s House (1879),…

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