A warm welcome awaits you at The Swallow Theatre.
These enjoyable play reading afternoons are great for anyone who wants to join in reading a script, reading different character parts and learn a little about the background to the play.
No experience necessary
Tea and coffee provided
(Suggested donation towards costs £3)
About ‘The Pillars of the Community’
“A grippingly entertaining stage thriller” is how Charles Spencer of The Telegraph described ‘Pillars of the Community’, also known as ‘The Pillars of Society’, a 1877 play by the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
The play follows a few days in the life of a small-town businessman, who is a leader of his community, employer of a large number of men, and a generous contributor to public works. With a seemingly perfect family and a thriving business, he is set up by the townspeople as an iconic figure who symbolises the respectability the community values so highly. The arrival home from America of his wife’s siblings who left the town many years earlier following a scandal, threatens to disrupt all he stands for and unravel his wealth and future plans with the revelation that his decisions have not always been as altruistic as they seem.
Rolf Fjelde, a leading translator of Ibsen’s work into English, says of the leading character: “Bernick is that most dangerous type of public man, the born opportunist who, with the agility of a dropped cat, can turn even contrition to his own advantage.”
It’s a rarely performed work, perhaps due to its large cast size. The most recent major production was at The National Theatre in 2005. Charles Spencer wrote “Ibsen unravels his complex plot with superb panache, and keeps the dramatic twists coming to the end. The tone of the piece is a surprise, too, with a good deal of sharp and often genuinely funny social satire on the town’s sanctimonious citizenry.” You can read the whole review here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/3647655/Gripped-by-the-master.html
It’s a long play, so in order that we can all hopefully get home in the daylight, we shall be reading extracts of Act 1, and nearly all of Acts 3 and 4, with our group facilitator explaining what happens in the gaps.