Photo by John Altdorfer.

Nova Place
April 8 — May 1
8 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Modern architecture meets modern drama for Quantum Theatre‘s brand new site-specific production. Always keeping its pulse on the transformative potential of urban spaces and the evocative relationships that exist between exterior built environments and interior psychological states, Quantum’s latest ambitious undertaking will reimagine a storied Northside complex as the setting for Henrik Ibsen’s 1892 play, The Master Builder.

Photo by John Altdorfer.

Setting up shop on the 9th floor of Two Allegheny Center—with sweeping views of the Northside and Downtown—Quantum will lead audiences into the mind of architect Halvard Solness. The middle-aged, master builder of a small Norwegian town, Ibsen’s protagonist has achieved success and distinction—yet his “principles drive him past conventional morality and threaten to destroy him.” The drama unfolds when Solness becomes “jealous of younger rivals” and meets a seductive young woman named Hilda Wangel, as the play explores guilt, ego, imagination, and more.

Directing the cast of seven actors is frequent Quantum collaborator and Ibsen enthusiast, Martin Giles. A Pittsburgh-based director, actor and playwright, Giles also teaches at Point Park University. The play stars several Quantum veterans, including John Shepard as Halvard Solness, Catherine Moore as Aline Solness, Phil Winters as Dr. Herdal and Thomas Constantine Moore as Ragnar Brovik. Newcomers include Hayley Neilsen (Hilda Wangel), Kelly Trumbull (Kaja Fosli) and John Reilly (Knut Brovik).

Photo by John Altdorfer.

Helping to create the play’s authentic mid-century modern environs are set designs by Tony Ferrieri, costumes by Richard Parsakian, lighting by Alex Stevens and sound by Aaron Vockley. The production will also feature a selection of recorded, mid-20th-century music, including Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartets, as well as evocative sound effects.

The choice of the long-dormant, former Allegheny Center is central to Quantum’s approach to staging this new production of one of Ibsen’s most significant works.  Currently undergoing a rebirth, the site—which opened in 1965 as a mall and later housed an office complex—will soon be home to a $1.2M project rebranded as Nova Place (read NEXT’s coverage here). Acquired by NYC-based Faros Properties in 2015, the corporate campus will house high-tech companies, refurbished offices, common areas, restaurants, a fitness and conference center, and a 3,000-car parking garage with bike storage. Already open at Nova Place is Alloy 26, the region’s newest and largest co-working space.

Photo by John Altdorfer.

Presented in conjunction with Quantum’s yearlong focus on modernism—in collaboration with Carnegie Museum of Art’s renowned Heinz Architectural Center—the production underscores the company’s long-held passion for Ibsen. Throughout the show, Quantum and CMOA are teaming up to present a series of enriching and unique events where the public can explore modernist architecture, design and thought.

In partnership with the current CMOA exhibition, HACLab Pittsburgh: Imagining the Modern, Quantum is hosting pre-show discussions on April 17, 20 and 29. Topics include architecture, urban planning, the vision of Frank Lloyd Wright and more. Also planned will be a tour of Allegheny Center—and a discussion of its future role on the Northside—led by Jeremy Leventhal of Faros Properties.

The Master Builder runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and on Sundays at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets.

Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in April feature.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...