Hedda Gabler

Is this a feminist dramatic manifesto, or the story of a bored housewife who incites suicide to cure her boredom?
I think the first time I saw this play, nearly forty years ago, I would have taken the feminist manifesto side of the argument, as early audiences certainly did. Now I see Hedda as a woman stifled by her need to conform to the conventions of her restricted society, but so spoiled and ego centric that she cannot break free in any positive way. Instead she rebels within her society by urging Loevberg to a beautiful death. And when he fails to meet her expectations, she finally does the deed herself.
Moya O’Connell is a beautiful, tightly wound Hedda, someone who can “smile and smile and be a villain”.
Claire Julien is her match as Thea Elvsted, the quiet shy woman who wins in the end. A tiny little smile is the only sign that she knows her own victory.
Excellent performances by Jim Mezon as the unprincipled Judge Brack, Patrick McManus as George Tesman and Gray Powell as Eilert Loevberg.
The production, directed by Martha Henry, is still in previews and needs tightening up, patricularly in the first act. But overall, a worthy production of a difficult play.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Claire Julien, Gray Powell, Jim Mezon, Moya O'Connell, Patrick McManus, Shaw 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Hedda Gabler

  1. Keith says:

    Hedda is a psychotic bitch. But a compelling one.You can sympathise with her feeling smothered by the restrictions of her society, but her solutions show no consideration for anyone else – she is just a spoilt brat abusing others for her (fleeting) pleasure. Thea rebels too, but does it in a way that creates and supports, rather than destroys.The principals in this production do a fine job in inhabiting the characters of the story. In the show we saw, the first scene was a bit rough, people either had occasional difficulty remembering lines, or the timing was just off, but this soon smoothed out – and the show is still in previews.A bigger problem is Berthe, the maid. Either by direction or just because Jennifer Phipps wants to upstage the others this character keeps drawing attention from the main action. It diffuses the audience focus and detracts from the tension being built in the play.

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