From the Director
From the Director
I had the good fortune of seeing Pillars of the Community several years ago in London with Damian Lewis as Karsten Bernick. This tight-knit world of characters Ibsen created captured me immediately. The fierce weapons of gossip and criticism; the protection of reputation bordering on obsession; the lonely voices crying for a world without judgment and stigma. At the helm of this community, hiding the truth of his past on the catwalk of his empire, is Karsten Bernick. High above everyone, keeping secrets, making deals, and planning great things for his community, Karsten is isolated and alone in his brilliance and lies. Only two people know the truth he hides, and, thankfully for him, they are in America, far from the rocky shores of Norway.
But, Ibsen being the dramatist he is, has the “Americans” arrive midway through Act 1 and threaten to destroy Karsten’s world; “one anxious moment, one stray word, and you will lose everything,” these words haunt Karsten and now this pillar of the community must grapple with what he has hidden for years. Will he let his community know all of him?
To lead and to be human at the same time takes great character and strength. To lead from a place of humility requires acceptance and knowledge of your self. To live under this kind of pressure and scrutiny tests the very fiber of a person’s character. It also asks of those of us in the community—what we require of our leaders, do we require of ourselves?
Ibsen, no stranger to scrutiny or secrets knows the burden these leave on the human psyche and soul. What kind of holes they can burn into a person, stealing their humanity and hope. Rippling through Ibsen’s text is the theme from Apollo’s Temple at Delphi, “Know Thyself.” It is with this perspective Ibsen pleads in his writing for honesty and equality in all relationships—providing hope for a future without secret or lies, no matter who you are in the community.