Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Marvin Carlson

Committee Members

Jean Graham-Jones

David Savran

Subject Categories

Cultural History | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | European History | German Literature | Performance Studies | Scandinavian Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies | Theatre History


Henrik Ibsen; Richard Wagner; Historical Avant-Gardes; Modernism; Experimental Theatre; Modern Drama


This dissertation examines the influence of modernist aesthetics and ideologies on contemporary, European and U.S. experimental theatre. I argue that modernist and contemporary experimental theatres offer competing notions of reality, fiction, and temporality, which I interrogate through Vegard Vinge and Ida Müller’s Ibsen-Saga. I illuminate this tension by reading current modes of performance against the Saga’s productions and work practices, as well as their aesthetic and ideological foundation in three modernist sources: the artificiality of Ibsen’s realism, the utopianism and totality of Richard Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk, and the temporal provocations of the historical avant-gardes. I contend that the Saga reanimates Ibsen, Wagner, and the avant-gardes’ modernist forms and ideas to reject the conventions of twenty-first century practice.

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