Pittsburgh City Paper – The first Master Builder staged here in years.
“Castles in the air”: Ibsen’s iconic architect, Halvard Solness, wants to build them. Fascinated by the younger generation, the aging Solness is also threatened by it, even as he’s reinvigorated by the appearance of a younger woman named Hilda.
Quantum Theatre’s artistic director, Karla Boos’ longstanding affinity for Ibsen’s plays — “They leap off cliffs wildly,” she says — is giving Pittsburgh its first production of The Master Builder in years, possibly decades. Fellow Ibsen-admirer Martin Giles directs a cast of seven including John Shepard as Solness, and Hayley Nielsen as Hilda.
But the production significantly co-stars its venue: Quantum, which makes site-specific theater in nontraditional spaces, is reanimating the ninth floor of the North Side’s former Two Allegheny Center, now known under new ownership by Faros Properties as Nova Place. Working with the Heinz Architectural Center of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Quantum translates Ibsen’s Victorian-era setting to the mid-20th century, and emphasizes this former office building’s unornamented mid-century-modern style — and 360-degree view — as an analogue for Solness’ grandiose architectural visions…