Steph Dickens and Daniel Stock star in the upcoming production of “A Doll's House” at the Commoweal Theatre.
Steph Dickens and Daniel Stock star in the upcoming production of “A Doll's House” at the Commoweal Theatre.
The Commonweal Theatre Company announces its 16th annual Ibsen Festival to be held April 12 to 14 in downtown Lanesboro. Named for the acclaimed "Father of Modern Drama," the festival is a celebration of Scandinavian theater, visual art, music and dance, centered around the opening of Commonweal's annual Ibsen production.

The highlight of the festival is the opening of Commonweal Theatre's annual Ibsen production with a preview performance Friday, April 12, and grand opening performance Saturday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. with an opening night reception to follow.

This year, the theater will present "A Doll's House" which centers on a young wife who is forced to make a shocking decision when a prior misdeed threatens to destroy her perfect household.

The weekend will also feature an encore performance of the Commonweal Apprentice Company production of "Miss Julie" by August Strindberg in a new adaptation by Apprentice Ethan Bjelland on Sunday, April 14, at 11a.m.

"A Doll's House" is directed by executive director Hal Cropp, and features resident ensemble member Stef Dickens as Nora Helmer, a woman desperate to keep her ideal home intact in the face of a secret that could unravel it. The cast also includes Commonweal resident ensemble members David Hennessey, Megan K. Pence, Daniel L. Stock, Jeremy van Meter and annual company member Carla Joseph.

The script for "A Doll's House" has been adapted by renowned Minnesota playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. This is the fourth Ibsen adaptation created for the Commonweal.

The Ibsen Festival offers events and presentations throughout the weekend to satisfy a variety of interests. Guests may attend lectures, film presentations, musical concerts and artist displays.

The Commonweal is proud to welcome Astrid Sæther, from the Centre for Ibsen Studies at Oslo University and Nissar and Amal Allana from Dehli, India. Dr. Allana is the director of The Dehli International Ibsen Festival and Ms. Allana is the head of acting at The Dramatic Art & Design Academy in Dehli. Sæther will discuss the legacy of Ibsen on human and women's rights and the ways the Norwegian government has used Ibsen's works to advance these causes.

Ms. Allana will present on Ibsen's influence on social and cultural thinking in Indian and beyond.

Finally, Dr. Allana will discuss his experiences bringing Ibsen from the 19th century into the 21st century in India through the Delhi Ibsen Festival, as well as the intercultural importance of Ibsen's work.

Festival events officially begin Friday evening, April 12, at The Commonweal Theatre at 6:30 p.m. with an art reception showcasing selected pieces of jewelry by Crown Trout Jewelry's goldsmith and artist Liz Bucheit. Bucheit has created a series of pieces inspired by Ibsen's greatest heroines. The reception will begin with remarks on the work by Bucheit and then the pieces will be on display at the Commonweal throughout the entire weekend.

At 7:30 pm, festival-goers can choose between attending the final preview performance of "A Doll's House" onstage at The Commonweal or a presentation of "Over The Back Fence" - a community variety show - next door at the St. Mane Theatre which will include a special appearance by the cast of "Miss Julie."

Saturday, April 14, offers an entire day and night's worth of activities, including a Krumkake baking demonstration/tasting at Lanesboro Local as well as the second annual Ibsen Festival Kubb (also known as Viking Chess) tournament in Sylvan Park. The Commonweal Theatre Events Hall will be set up all day offering coffee and old-fashioned, handcrafted Scandinavian treats from A Little Decadence. Enjoy a coffee break and view the costume and jewelry exhibit, as well as featured video presentations.

The Commonweal Theatre will host several events in its own building on Saturday. Including the keynote addresses, members of Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis will share a presentation and demonstration of the Tarantella, a form of dance featured prominently in "A Doll's House" and longtime Commonweal costume designer Janis Martin will be displaying her "Ibsen's women" costume designs.

All weekend long, Scandinavian cuisine will be featured at Pedal Pushers Café and The Old Village Hall, and Scandinavian specialty drinks will be available at local pubs.

Throughout the run of "A Doll's House," visitors to the Commonweal may view the three-dimensional art exhibit ― "To be a Poet is to See: Ibsen in Our Time," a gift from the Norwegian government.

A complete schedule of Festival events is available by calling (800) 657-7025 or going online to www.ibsenfest.org. For more information about the 2013 Ibsen Festival, contact Adrienne Sweeney at (507) 467-2905 x208 or adrienne@commonwealtheatre.org.