Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Duncan, Rickman & Shaw Lead Abbey's 'BORKMAN' at BAM, 1/7-2/6

BAM Presents John Gabriel BORKMAN by Henrik Ibsen in a new version by Frank McGuinness.  This production comes from The Abbey Theatre, Ireland and is directed by James MacDonald with set design by Tom Pye, costume design by Joan Bergin, lighting design by Jean Kalman, and sound design by Ian Dickinson

The production will take place at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St) from Jan 7-Feb 6. Tickets start at $25 (and at $35 for Saturday night & Sunday matinee performances).


Written in 1896, John Gabriel BORKMAN is Henrik Ibsen's penultimate work. Well over a century later, its central preoccupation with financial greed and subsequent ruin strikes an all too contemporary chord. Three of the theater world's leading luminaries-Tony Award winner Lindsay Duncan (PRIVATE LIVES), two-time Tony Award nominee Alan Rickman (actor: PRIVATE LIVES; director: CREDITORS, 2010 Spring Season), and Tony Award nominee Fiona Shaw (MEADEA, 2002 Next Wave; Happy Days, 2008 Spring Season)-join their considerable Dramatic Forces in a new version of the play by awardwinning Irish poet and playwright Frank McGuinness. James MacDonald, critically acclaimed for his searing productions of modern playwrights such as Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane, directs.

John Gabriel Borkman had its world premiere in October 2010 at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. The complete cast includes Cathy Belton, John Kavanagh, Amy Molloy, Marty Rea, and Joan Sheehy. Former bank manager John Gabriel Borkman (Rickman) emerges from prison forembezzlement, destitute and desperate for a comeback. As he paces and plots alone in his upstairs room for eight years, his long-suffering wife Gunhild (Shaw) concocts her own plans to restore the family's reputation. Into this feverishly claustrophobic environment enters Gunhild's twin sister Ella (Duncan), Borkman's former love whom he abandoned to secure the power that ultimately destroyed him. Her unannounced arrival and unsettling request propels this devastating and darkly comic play to its shattering and surprising conclusion.

There will be a special artist talk with Lindsay Duncan, Alan Rickman, and Fiona Shaw, moderated by Paul Holdengräber, on January 16 at 6:45pm at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street) Tickets are $15 ($7.50 for Friends of BAM).

About the artists:

Among Lindsay Duncan's many theater credits, highlights include PRIVATE LIVES, for which she garnered Olivier, Tony, Drama Desk, Critics Circle, and Variety Club Awards for Best Actress (West End and Broadway), and LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES, for which she received an Olivier Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress (RSC, West End, and Broadway); Duncan played opposite John Gabriel Borkman co-star Alan Rickman in both productions. Duncan also received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress for her turn in young playwright Polly Stenham's THAT FACE (Royal Court/Duke of York's) and an Obie Award for Caryl Churchill's TOP GIRLS (Royal Court/Public Theater). Film and television credits include 'Alice in Wonderland', 'Starter for Ten', 'Afterlife' (Bowmore Scottish Screen and Bratislava Film Festival Awards for Best Actress), 'An Ideal Husband', 'Dr. Who', 'Poirot', and 'A Year in Provence'.

Award-winning actor and director Alan Rickman's theater appearances include THE READING ROOM (Jonathan Lunn Dance Company), PRIVATE LIVES (Variety Club and Theatregoers' Choice Awards and Olivier and Tony Award nominations for Best Actor), and LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES (Tony Award nomination for Best Actor). His work as a theater director includes MY NAME IS Rachel Corrie (Royal Court Playhouse and Minetta Lane Theater; Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best New Play and Best Director), THE WINTER GUEST (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Almeida Theatre), LIVE WAX (West End), and CREDITORS (Donmar Warehouse, BAM 2009 Spring Season). Rickman also directed the film version of 'The Winter Guest' (1997 Best First Film, Venice Film Festival and Best Film, Chicago Film Festival). Recent film credits include 'Alice in Wonderland', the 'Harry Potter' series, 'Bottle Shock', 'Sweeney Todd', 'Nobel Son', 'Perfume', and 'Snowcake'.

Fiona Shaw has appeared at BAM in the critically acclaimed Abbey Theatre production of MEDEA (2002 Next Wave Festival) and the Royal National Theatre's Happy Days (2008 Spring Season), the former of which transferred to Broadway and garnered Shaw both an Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination. The RADA-trained actor has appeared regularly at the Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, and the Old Vic; notable roles including Shen Te Shui Ta in THE GOOD PERSON OF SICHUAN (Olivier Award for Best Actress), the Woman in MACHINAL (Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actress), ELECTRA (Olivier and London Critics Awards), and Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT (Olivier Award for Best Actress). She also performed in Robert Wilson's DD3 at Lincoln Center and T.S. Eliot's THE WASTE LAND OF Europe, North America (Critics Circle Award), and Australia. Film credits include multiple installments of the 'Harry Potter' series, 'My Left Foot', 'The Butcher Boy', and 'The Triumph of Love'. Shaw is an honorary professor of drama at Trinity College, Dublin, and an Officier des Artes et des Lettres; she was awarded an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2001 New Year's Honours.

Playwright and poet Frank McGuinness lives in Dublin and lectures in English at University College, Dublin. Theater credits include THE FACTORY GIRLS, BAGLADY, the award-winning OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME, SOMEOE WHO'LL WATCH OVER ME (New York Critics Circle Award, Writers Guild Award for Best Play), and WHEN GRETA GARBO CAME TO DONEGAL, among many others. McGuinness' adaptations of works by Brecht, Chekhov, Euripides, Ibsen, Sophocles, and Strindberg have been widely performed to great critical acclaim; his version of Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE garnered four Tony Awards, including Best Revival. Television credits include 'The Hen House' (BBC2), and the celebrated BBC drama 'A Short Stay in Switzerland'; McGuinness also wrote the screenplay for the awardwinning 1998 film 'Dancing at Lughnasa', based on the 1990 play by Brian Friel.

James MacDonald was associate director of the Royal Court from 1992 to 2006, where his work included COCK, DRUNK ENOUGH TO SAY I LOVE YOU (also Public Theater), DYING CITY (also
Lincoln Center), BLASTED, 4.48 PSYCHOSIS (including European/US tours), and PUTTING TWO AND TWO TOGETHER. Among Macdonald's other theater credits are THE BOOK OF GRACE (Public
Theater), TOP GIRLS (Broadway/MTC), GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (West End), A NUMBER (New York
Theatre Workshop), DIE KOPIEN (Berlin Schaubu?hne) and THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE (Almeida). Film credits include 'A Number' for HBO/BBC.

The Abbey Theatre is Ireland's national theater. It was founded in 1904 by W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory. It premiered work by J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, Frank McGuinness, and Marina Carr. The Abbey Theatre commissions new writing for both its stages in Ireland and continues to tour worldwide. It takes as its artistic mission the creation of world class theater that actively engages with and reflects Irish society, placing the writer and theater artist at the heart of the organization. The Abbey Theatre was last at BAM with MEDEA (2002 Next Wave), directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw. The production then transferred to Broadway with both Warner and Shaw receiving Tony Award nominations for their work. An Abbey Theatre production of Terminus by Mark O'Rowe will tour to cities across the east coast of the U.S. in February and March 2011, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

BAM 2011 Spring Season is sponsored by Bloomberg. Bank of America is the proud sponsor of BAM 2011 Theater. Abbey Theatre at BAM is supported by Culture Ireland. Leadership support for John Gabriel Borkman provided by Donald R. Mullen Jr. Major support for theater at BAM provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc., The SHS Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation, Inc. Additional support for theater at BAM is provided by the Corinthian Foundation. BAM 2011 Spring Season supporters include: American Express, brigitte nyc, Chase, Estate of Richard B. Fisher, The Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc., The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, The SHS Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Inc., The Skirball Foundation, The Starr Foundation, Time Warner Inc., The Norman & Rosita Winston Foundation, Inc., The Wall Street Journal, and Friends of BAM and BAM Cinema Club. Sovereign Bank is the BAM Marquee sponsor. Yamaha is the official piano for BAM. R/GA is the sponsor. New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is the official hotel for BAM.

The Abbey Theatre gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council of Ireland. General Information BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Shakespeare & Co. at BAM kiosks. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn's only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, is open for dining prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. BAMcafé also features an eclectic mix of spoken word and live music for BAMcafé Live on Friday and Saturday nights with a special BAMcafé Live menu available starting at 8pm.

To reach the theatre you can take:
Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, Q, B to Atlantic Avenue ((2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins St for Harvey Theater) D, N, R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue
Train: Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Terminal
Bus: B25, B26, B41, B45, B52, B63, B67 all stop within three blocks of BAM
Car: Commercial parking lots are located adjacent to BAM
For ticket and BAMbus information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You