One Minute World Arts- The Doctor: Examining Modern Ills in the Theatre

Based on the 1912 play Professor Bernhardi by Arthur Schnitzler, The Doctor is a new play reimagined, adapted, and created by Robert Icke, widely regarded as “the great hope of British theatre”, that deals with several critical issues of modern society. The story of The Doctor centers on Ruth Wolff, a Jewish director of a medical institute, who refuses a Catholic priest permission to administer the last rites to a14-year-old girl dying of sepsis caused by a botched home abortion in order to make sure that she is not disturbed, and therefore can continue to fight for survival. Ruth’s decision soon turns into fierce debates on medical ethics, spreading across the media and enraging the public.


The play places its intellectual strength on a difficult question: does medical ethics surpass all the other values? It thus opens up discussions about race, religion, gender, and class for people to examine them from different perspectives. Juliet Stevenson, one of the most outstanding actors on stage in the U.K., plays Ruth Wolff in the play. Meanwhile, Icke has adopted a unique approach for the casting, with women playing male roles and black actors playing white characters, and vice versa, so as to challenge the audience’s habitual thinking and viewing patterns. His inspiring and masterful work managed to impress the audience and the critics alike when The Doctor premiered at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2019. Michael Billington, a senior and highly respected theatre critic of The Guardian, rated the play with 5 stars after seeing it to show his unreserved admiration. Much to the audience’s anticipation, in September 2022, The Doctor was re-staged in London’s West End at the Duke of York’s Theatre, once again with Icke acting as the director and Juliet Stevenson playing the leading role, and has so far received rapturous acclaim. It is already made known to the public that The Doctor will have its U.S. premiere in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory in 2023.




備受讚譽的當代劇作《醫生》(The Doctor),乃是由英國最令人期待的年輕作家兼導演羅伯特.艾克(Robert Icke),根據奧地利作家亞瑟施尼茨勒(Arthur Schnitzler1912年劇作《伯恩哈迪教授》(Professor Bernhardi)所重新發想、編創而成。《醫生》是一部充滿辯證性的戲劇作品,內容聚焦於猶太裔醫療中心院長露絲.沃爾夫(Ruth Wolff)身上;她為了確保患者不受驚擾,斷然拒絕讓天主教神父進到醫院,替一位因不當人工流產而導致敗血症的14歲少女進行臨終祝禱儀式,造成軒然大波,並且在媒體上引發激烈的醫德爭論。


《醫生》緊扣著「醫學倫理是否凌駕一切其它價值觀」的核心意旨,挑戰現今大眾對於種族、信仰、性別和階級等議題的思考向度。此劇由英國劇場界最優異的演員之一茱麗葉.史蒂文森(Juliet Stevenson)擔綱演出,同時在選角上大膽摒棄各類傳統設定,不但讓女演員飾演男性角色,也讓白人演員詮釋黑人角色,藉此叩問一般人對性別、膚色等外在條件所持俱的偏見。艾克充滿靈動意念的創作手法,使得《醫生》於2019年在倫敦阿爾梅達劇院(Almeida Theatre)首演後廣獲好評,就連《衛報》(The Guardian)深受敬重的當家劇評人麥可.比林頓(Michael Billington),也給出5顆星的最高評價,顯示他毫無保留的激賞。今年9月,艾克攜手史蒂文森捲土重來,在倫敦西區的約克公爵劇院(The Duke of York’s Theatre)再度推出《醫生》,上演後照樣佳評如潮,並已宣告將在明年進軍紐約的公園大道軍械庫(Park Avenue Armory)演出。



Photo Credit ©Manuel Harlan