The Terrible Fate of Being Understood: an Interview with Playwright Will Eno

The New York Times calls playwright Will Eno “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” In this year’s Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, he’s turned his keen sense of irony and compassion to a loose adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Norweigian classic picaresque “Peer Gynt.” 

“Gnit,” Eno’s re-imagining of Ibsen’s play, is the story of a man’s journey to find his true self, which happens to be disintegrating as he searches. 

“It seems that the search for the self has had a good hundred year run, or 150 year run here, and I thought maybe some slight corrective was needed,” says Eno. “The original probably supplied some lessons and some things that it was good for people to think about in Norway in the 1850s .”

“Gnit” opened Sunday in the Pamela Brown Auditorium, where it will run through April 7. 

WFPL’s Erin Keane spoke playwright Will Eno about Ibsen and “Peer Gynt,” his own adaptation, why we can’t truly understand a character and the challenges of updating a classic text. 

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