Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen insisted that he was a poet, not a social critic, no matter how audiences regarded his most renowned work, 1879's "A Doll's House."

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen insisted that he was a poet, not a social critic, no matter how audiences regarded his most renowned work, 1879's "A Doll's House."

Columbus Civic Theater now stages Ibsen's 1884 satiric tragedy, "The Wild Duck." It pits Hjalmar Ekdal, a self-delusional inventor and neglectful husband and father, against his old schoolmate Gregers, who has uncovered an Ekdal family secret that he is determined to divulge regardless of its consequences.

"The story, with its ending, resonates the timeless advice that some of us should leave well enough alone," said director Richard Albert.

Albert, artistic director of CCT, tries to strike a delicate balance in "The Wild Duck."

"Ibsen actually warned directors and actors of his day not to play Hjalmar as a buffoon and Gregers as a villain. He said the ending would not work as he intended," Albert said, referring to the sadly ironic final scene.

"I approached the play, as I do with all realism, by finding the action and playing the action only, regardless of anyone's - especially my - interpretation of the characters," Albert continued. "The discoveries are seemingly endless this way."

There's a great deal of comedy in the play, he added. "The laughs, if we get them, will occur organically unified with the rest of the play's responses."

Comedy, tragedy, poetry, critique: It's all in there.