Ibsen in Chicago

3f, 3m


The world premiere of Ibsen’s controversial play Ghosts took place in Chicago, performed by a group of Scandinavian immigrants: a little known fact. Grimm’s play spins a yarn based on this ‘great reckoning in a little room’ and explores the immigrant experience and opportunities for self re-invention against the backdrop of changing artistic and social mores.

Casting & Production



HELGA BLUHME-JENSEN (W), Danish immigrant. An actress. A clothes horse. Admits to 36.

HENNING FOLDEN (M), Danish immigrant. 26. A well-read brick mason.

PER GUNDERSEN (M), Norwegian immigrant. 56. Cobbler. Unhealthy. Drinks a lot.

PEKKA VOLQUARTS (M), Norwegian immigrant. 44. Laborer. Unhealthy. Drinks a lot.

ELSA SCHEEL (W), Danish immigrant. 24. Attractive and healthy.

SOLVEIG MUNSON (W), Norwegian immigrant. 51. Bespectacled and depressive.

The Aurora Turner Hall — which is a large wooden room with a second level or gallery, on Milwaukee and West Huron in the North Side of Chicago. There is an entry door and a recessed hall leading to a washroom in addition to a stairwell connecting the two levels.

March, April and May, 1882.

Running time:
100 minutes (1 or 2 acts optional)


“This is a work about the internal turmoil that comes with forging a new identity.”

– The Seattle Times

“A wonderful new work that manages to sneak up on you with how engaging and meaningful it is amidst all the laughs. . . A cavalcade of fantastic characters. . . A lighthearted new work with tons of humor and an engaging story.”

– broadwayworld.com

“Sharp and humorous”

– Seattle Stranger

“David Grimm’s radiant, funny, and trenchant play is more than just a love letter to the theater. It’s an affirmation that to truly overcome the dead ideas and obsolete beliefs that haunt us, we must be willing to risk personal annihilation, and invest in activities that offer the chance for transformation and renewal–the arts, public discourse–any dialogue that seeks truth, encourages empathy, and reveals beauty and meaning in our lives.”

– Braden Abraham, Artistic Director, Seattle Repertory Theatre