The Commonweal Theatre is located in idyllic Lanesboro (population 788), which some resident company members call “Brigadoon.” The theater has been credited with revitalizing this small agricultural town, and it has become the mecca for fans of Ibsen plays, as they are the only theater in North America with an annual commitment to producing the works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, known as the Father of Modern Drama. This July they will unveil their new, multi-million dollar theater complex, which blends in nicely on Lanesboro’s historic Main Street, and incorporates the seats from the old Guthrie Theater.
Adrienne Sweeney is a Resident Company Member in her seventh season with the Commonweal. Originally from Philadelphia, she received her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Arizona. Adrienne spent ten years in the Twin Cities and has appeared at a variety of theatres, including The Great American History Theatre and Park Square. Favorite roles at the Commonweal include The Duchess in To Fool The Eye, Irene in Acclimate, and l’il Bit in How I Learned to Drive.
2007 IBSEN FESTIVAL IN LANESBORO
The Commonweal Theatre Company’s tenth annual Ibsen Festival runs February 23-25. The weekend features more than 30 events, many of which are free and provide opportunities for family participation.
In honor of Lanesboro’s Norwegian-American roots, the Commonweal opens each season with a production from playwright Henrik Ibsen’s canon. The Commonweal is the only theatre in North America with an annual commitment to Ibsen, and celebrates the opening weekend with a festival of Scandinavian culture, visual art, music and dance.
Ibsen Festival 2007 will feature the first Ibsen play the Commonweal ever produced: “Ghosts” – an ironic look at how strict conventionality can lead to tragic results. The show will continue its run in Lanesboro through April 22.
Festival events begin on Friday with a felting class, a free screening of a new film version of “An Enemy of the People,” a discounted preview performance of “Ghosts,” and a traditional Scandinavian folk music concert and dance led by the Minnesota Scandinavian Ensemble.
Saturday’s events include demonstrations by Scandinavian artisans, a folk dance workshop with the Winona International Dancers, and a concert of Norwegian classical music.
Along with the opening performance of “Ghosts,” Saturday night features the opening of the “Henrik Ibsen 100th Anniversary Exhibit” at Cornucopia Art Center. Consul General Rolf Willy Hansen of the Norwegian Consulate General will introduce this collection of works from Norway’s greatest contemporary artists inspired by the playwright.
Other special guests appearing throughout the weekend include Luther College’s Jessica Paul and David Judisch, University of Minnesota professor Monika Zagar, Ibsen translator Paul Walsh, and storyteller Dag Rossman.
After touring the United States, "To Be A Poet is to See: Ibsen in Our Time" will be on display during the festival and, through the generosity of the Norwegian Government, will be permanently gifted to the Commonweal. This three-dimensional exhibit explores the universal themes and continued relevancy of Ibsen's works.
For more information, go to www.ibsenfest.org or call 800-657-7025 x208.
Marya Morstad was the recipient of the 2004 National Federation of Community Broadcasters “Golden Reel” award for best local documentary for "Art and Spirit Matters: Arts and Religion in the Twin Cities." Morstad is the host of “Art Matters” a weekly arts program on KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio.