Viewport width =
April 27, 2009 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler, as a theatrical text, is canonical. Synonymous with good theatre, it sits shoulder to metaphorical shoulder with the other behemoths of the form—Hamlet, Godot, The Seagull, a wee way down the line Angels in America—daring you to put it on. It carries with it a wealth of expectations and exceptions. Everyone has their own very personal interpretation of it and own separate set of hooks into it. The story of Hedda Tesman (neé Gabler) and just how stuck within her new house with her new husband she is. Old friends return, settled dust is disturbed and there is no room in their house for flowers. There are a million ways to do this play, and most people will say that most of them are wrong. People care a lot about this play and you’re never going to please everyone all of the time. Unless you’re a half-octopus, half-feather duster creature who can move at the speed of light. But such things are sadly rare these days.

The Wild Duck have made a very smart decision in their current production of Hedda. They have transferred it to modern day Wellington, translating and adapting the script as they go. This is a brave and a bold move, made with aplomb and courage. They have also made a clear departure from the realist mode of the original text, not so much reworking as remixing the play into a less restrictive mode, letting scenes flow into and out of each other much more organically. Whether this is a change too far to the text is really for individuals to decide.

The cast do fine if underwhelming work, none of them really excelling as much as I wanted them to. This is not a judgement against their fine performances, more against my expectations of a group of performers with this pedigree working with such a perfect text.

Lawrence’s direction is slick and uncluttered, hitting all the right beats within the piece. The design by Penny Angrick and Ulli Briese is distinct and pleasing.

Whether you will enjoy this production of Hedda Gabler is hard to tell. It has really polarised people and the only way to find out will be to see it for yourself.

Written by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by the Wild Duck
Directed by David Lawrence
With Clare Kerrison, Asalemo Tofete, Tupe Lualua, Amy Tartleton, Salesi Le’ota and Michael Ness
At BATS, 15 April–2 May 9pm (No Shows Sunday or Monday)


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. VUW Halls Hiking Fees By 50–80% Next Year
  2. The Stats on Gender Disparities at VUW
  3. Issue 25 – Legacy
  4. Canta Wins Bid for Editorial Independence
  5. RA Speaks Out About Victoria University Hall Death
  6. VUW Hall Death: What We Know So Far
  8. New Normal
  9. Come In, The Door’s Open.
  10. Love in the Time of Face Tattoos

Editor's Pick

Uncomfortable places: skin.

:   Where are you from?  My list was always ready: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, puppy dogs’ tails, a little Spanish, maybe German, and—almost as an afterthought—half Samoan. An unwanted fraction.   But you don’t seem like a Samoan. I thought you were [inser

Do you know how to read? Sign up to our Newsletter!

* indicates required