This thesis seeks to study the interplay between text and production in Oscar Wilde’s play An Ideal Husband (1895). The productions analysed and compared are Kjetil Bang-Hansen’s 1996 staging of the play at Nationaltheatret and Peter Hall’s 1996 revival of his 1992 production at The Haymarket. The productions reveal quite different interpretations of the play: Bang-Hansen’s staging had a farcical quality and Hall’s approach was accentuating the more serious aspects of the play, producing the atmosphere of a witty Ibsen play. The different interpretations and the cultural differences reflected in the productions were an interesting starting point for my thesis.
The thesis is divided in two: part one is a textual analysis where the first chapter contains a study of Wilde’s use of genre in An Ideal Husband and a discussion of the subversive elements in the text. Chapter two is a study of the main themes, and chapter three focuses on the main characters. In part two, chapter four presents a study of Hall’s production, where a discussion of the set design and costumes accompanies the exploration of themes and characters. Chapter five starts with an analysis of Per Bronken’s translation of Wilde’s text, and the rest of the chapter, following the pattern of chapter four, is devoted to the study of Bang-Hansen’s production.