SIST Auditions: The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen

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Director: Frank Williams
Assistant Director: Cara S. Liander

When a sailor returns to fulfill their promise, a lighthouse keeper’s daughter must choose between her landlocked marriage and the mesmerizing allure of the sea. Hailed as a watershed moment in Ibsen’s writing, The Lady from the Sea dissects issues of duty, marriage, and agency with raw emotion and disarming resonance. A blend of domestic realism, symbolism, myth, and folktale, the drama examines the varieties of love, marriage and its alternatives for women, psychological obsession, free will, and the opposing attractions of land and sea.

This play is centered on Ellida, married to Doctor Wangel, a physician in a small fjord town in northern Norway. He has two daughters (Bolette and Hilde) by his previous wife, now deceased. He and Ellida have a son who died as a baby. Ellida is restless and troubled by a former romantic attachment. Wangel, fearing for Ellida’s mental health, has invited up Arnholm, Bolette’s former tutor, and a former suitor to Ellida, hoping his wife can be helped.

Auditions will take place on Friday, January 6 from 5:00 to 10:00pm, and Saturday, January 7, from 12:00 to 5:00pm, with possibly some callbacks at 6:00pm in The Harbor Room, Building G, at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301.

To make an audition appointment email Stage Manager Nikita Chernin at [email protected] with preferable time slot and we will accommodate as best as possible.

All actors MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED and provide proof upon entering the audition.

Performances will take place in the Theatre at Empire Outlets on Staten Island, right next to the ferry terminal on the following dates:

  • Friday, March 10 – 8:00pm
  • Saturday, March 11 – 8:00pm
  • Sunday, March 12 – 2:00pm
  • Friday, March 17 – 8:00pm
  • Saturday, March 18 – 8:00pm
  • Sunday, March 19 – 2:00pm

ALL ROLES ARE OPEN. There will be a small stipend provided to actors

Please prepare a monologue from the play, other Ibsen plays, or similar works. Memorized is preferred, but rather have you on book than not there if interested.

This production is interested in having a diverse cast and actors of color and Latinx descent are encouraged to audition.


Ellida: Doctor Wangel’s second wife. She grew up in Skoldvic as a lighthouse keeper’s daughter. She is drawn to the sea and bathes daily in the local fjord, but much prefers open water to the fjord’s brackish water. She was named for the ship of Frithiof in the Frithiof Sagas, derived from Old Norse (elliði) and means ‘fast going ship.’ Wangel describes her as having a sometimes nervous energy. Insists from play’s beginning that she has a life that her new family has no part of. According to Hilde, her mother died in a mental asylum. Ellida Wangel cannot give herself fully to her husband because she is overwhelmed by memories of the past and her attraction to the ocean. Will she suffocate on dry land, or find freedom across the sea? (age range: late 20s – 30s)

Dr. Wangel: the local doctor of a small holiday town in Northern Norway. He has been married once before, but his wife passed away several years before the play begins. Ibsen’s doctors tend to be sympathetic characters. (age range: 40s – 50s)

Bolette: Wangel’s daughter by his first wife. She has taken care of the house and her father since her mother’s death. She expresses desires to get away and learn about the world, but feels responsible for her father. (age range: Close in age to Ellida)

Hilde: Wangel’s second daughter by his first wife. She is mischievous and critical of Ellida, though she very much wants to be close to her. She shows a morbid fascination with Lyngstrand’s imminent death. (age range: 20s)

Arnholm: Bolette’s former tutor and Ellida’s former suitor. He proposed to Ellida ten years ago in Skoldvic. (age range: 30s – 40s)

Hans Lyngstrand: young, naïve, and frail, an aspiring sculptor. His lungs were affected by spending hours in icy water after a shipwreck– he expects travel to warmer climates to improve his health. He romanticizes the roles of women and artists. (age range: 20s)

Ballested: a painter, who has been in town for eighteen years after coming as a theatre company’s scene painter. Ballested (who can be of any gender) is also a self-proclaimed haricutter, a Dancing Master, and Leader of the Brass Band. (age range: 30s – 60s)

The Stranger: a mysterious American who symbolically married Ellida many years before the play begins. He has sailed the world and gone by names including Freeman and Johnston. Ibsen was adamant that the Stranger was billed in the cast of characters at “The Stranger” and not by a more specific name. (age range: 20s – 40s)