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‘Nats go home’: modernism, television and three BBC productions of Ibsen (1971-1974)

Smart, B. (2016) ‘Nats go home’: modernism, television and three BBC productions of Ibsen (1971-1974). Ibsen Studies, 16 (1). pp. 37-70. ISSN 1502-1866

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/15021866.2016.1180869


This article examines 1960s arguments that called for the rejection of naturalism in television drama, and for new modernist forms to be created in its place, through close analysis of three BBC productions of Ibsen: The Wild Duck (Play of the Month, BBC1 1971), Hedda Gabler (Play of the Month, BBC1 1972) and The Lady from the Sea (BBC2 1974). Troy Kennedy Martin’s polemical 1964 essay ‘Nats Go Home’ suggested that television drama had “looked to Ibsen and Shaw for guidance” (relying upon verbally constructed narratives derived from the naturalist theatre) and called for a new, more visual and abstract, modernist form of drama to be created in its place. This new drama would agitate the viewer into forming an objective understanding of events and themes through montage and juxtaposition. Through analysis of three television productions of canonical Ibsen plays, Kennedy Martin’s representation of naturalist drama can be tested, demonstrating how modernist elements within Ibsen’s drama were realised through television adaptation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:71899


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