"My sweet, sweet wife, how kind and good you have been to me". These were playwright Henrik Ibsen`s last words, when he died iin 1906. After her husband`s death, Suzannah never left the flat. In this powerful, but calm drama (1 x 50 min) we are brought into her mind and we experience how her relationship with the Ibsen must have been.
Suzannah was 19 when, in 1856, she first met the playwright and theatre manager Henrik Ibsen; two years later they were married. The following year saw the birth of their only child, Sigurd. For 27 years the family lived abroad, in Italy and Germany, returning in 1895 to move into a spacious flat in Arbins gate in Kristiania (now Oslo). Henrik Ibsen died in 1906. His last words, addressed to Suzannah, were: ‘My sweet, sweet wife, how kind and good you have been to me’. After her husband’s death, Suzannah never again left the flat. She was convinced that her husband was still alive – invisibly present, together with her. On the morning of 3 April 1914 she too passed quietly away.
‘She lived to make Henrik Ibsen famous. He was the genius, while she had the character,’ says Berit Nesheim, who directed this television film, which is based on Jon Fosse’s story of Suzannah.
Ane Dahl Torp plays the part of the infatuated 19-year-old Suzannah Daae Thoresen, who is waiting for Henrik to come to dinner at her father and stepmother’s home in Bergen.
Hildegun Riise plays Suzannah in midlife, while she waits for her husband and son Sigurd to come back from a stroll through Rome.
An old lady, alone in the flat in Arbins gate, Suzannah sits waiting for Sigurd; it is her birthday. Wenche Foss is brilliant as the lonely widow, crippled with rheumatism.
There is much evidence to suggest that Suzannah was a tower of strength for her husband. The couple had one overriding ambition: to make a success of Henrik Ibsen’s writing. It is rumored that it was she who induced him to write about women, and that, through him, she avidly campaigned for women’s rights.