Interview with CHE WATSON
LORD ARNE OF GULDVIK
I’ve already done a bit of Shakespeare this year by playing Orsino in Twelfth night in Exeter and now I will performing in an Henrik Ibsen play called “Olaf” in London at the Barons Court Theatre from June 20th-30th.
This is the third little known and early Ibsen play I have done with the company, Ottisdotter. Their mission statement is to bring back these early works as interesting studies; not only to where Ibsen travelled from and developed to as a playwright but also how these European pieces can apply to the plight of the individual in society today- especially in the case of women.
I love exploring these themes and having the audience see relevant stories written so long ago. They can watch something set in medieval Norway, after the plague, and still find those human connections that never change no matter when or where you live! It shows we are all human beings no matter what gender or place in the hierarchy and I can not wait to show audiences this gem which has not been performed in London since 1911!
In Olaf I play Arne of Guldvik. A man who just wants a bit of peace and quiet. A simple man, a father who wishes to do best by his daughter and family name. Arranging a marriage for his daughter which will secure her future and the family reputation whilst also bringing peace to his land. By today’s comparison he is basically every TV sitcom dad we grew up with! He is a Homer Simpson meets Oliver Hardy-esque simple man with simple pleasures. Not ever the brightest man in the room and yet constantly frustrated with those around him, a gruff stubborn exterior hides big heart. What a pleasure it is to delve into such a character and explore all of these layers.
The play itself is an interesting piece and I see a lot of similarities, in Ibsen’s writing, to another play he wrote in this period called The Feast at Solhaug, which I performed with Ottisdotter a few years ago. There are also shades of Shakespeare and A Midsummer Night's Dream. In Olaf you will find romance, comedy and a series of errors and misunderstandings leading to plots of revenge. As the play is based on an old Norwegian folk tale the whole play has that folkloric woodland feel, with a hint of magic, whilst the familiar feeling characters are very grounded and real as they are hilariously swept along through the story in the wake of their own ambitions.