Soon after Ibsen’s premiere of A Doll’s House in Copenhagen, 1879, something highly irregular happened the following spring when the play opened in Germany? Can you guess what it was?
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Ibsen’s A Doll’s House outraged the audience’s at it’s premiere in Copenhagen 1879, with a mother (Nora) leaving her small children and husband forever at the play’s end.
By the time it was due to be performed in Germany the following year, theatre managers feared a similar reaction and the play’s conclusion was deemed too controversial for German audiences. The solution? A rewrite.
Because Ibsen’s work was not covered by any form of copyright at the time, and seeing the inevitable about to occur, the playwright himself was forced to pen the rewrite to the play.
Reluctantly, Ibsen altered the last part of the final scene, resulting in Nora changing her mind at the last second and staying with Torvald in the family home.
Ibsen said he preferred ‘to commit the outrage himself, rather than leave his work to the tender mercies of adaptors’.
German performances of the show subsequently received a butchered version of the original A Doll’s House with an alternate ending.
With his artistic integrity now compromised, Ibsen refused to have any further performances use the altered ending and to this day, the traditional version of the script is performed across the world.
Some published editions of the play still include the alternate ending to A Doll’s House, hidden away in the footnotes at the rear.