Building: Ibsen, Jugendstil and the Playwright as ‘Master Builder’

  • Cathy Turner
Part of the New Dramaturgies book series (ND)


In my introduction, I referred to Hans- Thies Lehmann’s characterisation of the dramatic form as ‘a certain architecture’ (Lehmann 1997: 56). In The Secret Life of Plays, playwright Steve Waters develops a similar characterisation of the dramatic text as architecture:

It’s no accident that when Ibsen in The Master Builder or David Greig in The Architect or Howard Barker in The Castle wished to dramatise the ethical dilemmas of the playwright, they used architects for their surrogates … A play, like a building, is made out of disarticulated elements; like a building, it needs to have carrying capacity and it needs to work; like a building, it will be put to uses by its inhabitants. (Waters 2010: 194)


Utopian Vision Dream Life Dramatic Form Master Builder Closing Vision 
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© Cathy Turner 2015

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  • Cathy Turner

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