Q&A with REBEKKA MAGNÚSDÓTTIR
LADY KIRSTEN LILJEKRANS
What do you think are Lady Kirsten's main motivations are?
Lady Kirsten Liljekrans is a very strong female character, but at the same time quite comical. She has a special talent in manipulating others and getting her way by being devious. This talent she uses throughout the play, although things don’t always turn out quite like she had anticipated, which makes the story very entertaining. Lady Kirsten is wealthy, important and high born woman. In the play she mentions this often and seems to think about this quite a bit. Therefore I think having this status is one of the most important thing in Kirsten’s life. Without it she would have nothing. Only her son, Olaf, but he would be poor. I think Kirsten’s main motivation is maintaining her wealth and pride. Everything she does, everyone she manipulates, she does in order to maintain her fine lifestyle and honour. She thinks that if she only secures her finances, everything else will follow and fall into place.
Do you sympathise with their situation?
Yes and no. Yes in a sense that Lady Kirsten is only doing what she can, as a woman in this time, who has to take over her husbands estate and affairs after his death and do what she can with the things and people that she has around her. And no; Lady Kirsten manipulates others ruthlessly (however effective she is, is another matter) and doesn’t seem to care about others that stand in her way. If she would be a tad more sensitive and caring I might sympathise more with her.
Do you think that Henrik Ibsen was sympathetic with your Kirsten's dilemma?
I do. Despite all the effort and misunderstanding Lady Kirsten has to go through to try to get her will, it all goes well in the end. So I think Ibsen does sympathise a little bit with poor old Lady Kirsten in the end.
Who or what do you think is the real villain / antagonist of the play is and why?
The character I think thinks most about themselves throughout the play is Lady Kirsten. She doesn’t let anyone or anything stand in her way. I wouldn’t say she is a villain, but she is definitely the least caring character compared the the others. But maybe I think that just because I play her and think my character is the most important one :)
Does Ibsen's Olaf value the role of women in this time period?
I think the female characters in the play definitely have an important role. Ibsen created strong and indepentent female characters that influence the plot immensely, and drive the story forwards. Despite the time the play was written in, Ibsen does go out of the norm and creates strong women in his plays, and this one is no excption. Kirsten controls her son and other men with her status and femininity. Ingeborg goes her own ways in spite of being the daughter of rich Lord Arne of Guldvik, and Alfhild just wants to be free to love whom she chooses to love. So the women in Olaf don’t seem to be controlled too much by the men, which is great!