This thesis shows that the initial awareness, the first signs of reaction towards performatives and performances in life lies in late modern Europe, i.e. in the 19th century. Besides being the age of late modernity, this is also the age when modernism as an aesthetic development started to appear in Europe.In the field of theatre, it was modernism that brought the first shifts that opened and changed classical theatrical art towards performance art. These changes were made by rejecting realism. The modernistâ€™s rejection of a performance of reality later turned into a postmodernistâ€™s real/live performance. Henrik Ibsenâ€™s dramatic works are a consequence of the changes observed in the period of industrial modernity, simply because they are set in the background of this historical sequence and they are investigating life and relations in this age. They can also serve as a model for investigating the rise of modern drama, since Ibsen was one of the first to abandon the romanticist and melodramatic conventions of playwriting and introduced reality-based and actual settings that connected to the modern times and their tastes and preferences. By analyzing When We Dead Awaken, this thesis investigates some of the aspects of performance of the modern human as they can be found in this play, and points to a positive solution to some of the problems that these aspects provoke by introducing play as an essential aspect of performance and culture.