by Henrik Ibsen

Performed: Dec 2006

Director: David Green

Artwork for Hedda Gabler
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We performed Hedda Gabler from November 17th to December 2nd 2006.

Hedda is frustrated and unfulfilled. Ibsen’s desperate housewife sets out on her destructive and tragic path.

Directed by David Green, the play featured four of the cast from RoughCast’s previous Ibsen, the acclaimed production of A Doll’s House – Paul Baker, Mark Burridge, Grant Filshill and Sarah Gray. Hedda was played by Sarah Farrar, an extremely talented young actress making her RoughCast debut. Other members of the cast were Yves Green and Pat Parris.

Background

Hedda Gabler is one of the most enigmatic figures in world theatre. The spirited daughter of a military general, she has married a plodding academic. Hedda is clearly frustrated, dissatisfied and unfulfilled. But what does she want out of life, or the situation in which she finds herself. The question has been debated among critics since the play was first performed in the 1890s.

There are similarities with Emma Bovary, Flaubert’s 19th century protagonist, who is also bored and stifled by both a loveless marriage to a mediocre husband and the banality of domestic life. Emma seek romance to give her life some meaning but this fails to satisfy her – with devastating consequences.

By contrast, Hedda does not appear to seek love, or at least she is not prepared to risk scandal in order to pursue an affair which might, temporarily, make life endurable. Trapped in a domestic role by a male-dominated society, she resorts to trying to control others and, in particular, to influence the destiny of one of the men around her – with catastrophic results.

Early critics described Hedda as deviant, defective and lacking motive, a monster created by the author in the form of a woman who has no counterparts in the real world. But Hedda exists and she has a message for the 21st century; desperate people commit desperate acts.

Cast

Gallery

Reviews

Eastern Daily Press – David Porter:

“… a sharp, well-costumed and plausible presentation”. On Sarah Farrar’s performance – “a tour-de-force, from manipulative comedy one moment to subtle menace the next – her pent up anger and impatience reinforced by a uniquely expressive face”.

East Anglian Daily Times – Ivan Howlett:

“wonderful stuff, beautifully and classically constructed and played with passion, clarity and aplomb by RoughCast Theatre. Sarah Farrar plays Hedda with a taut, nervy desperation and there are nicely balancing performances all round with Paul Baker’s Judge Brack – smiling insidious and corrupt, the weather vane for the world Hedda sees as almost inescapable”.

Diss Mercury – Basil Abbott:

“Sarah Farrar’s Hedda is a coiled spring fighting 19th century Norse propriety …… with a maleficent glance, a mouth that pouts and a smile like sunlight glinting on a bayonet, she ignites this complex heroine”.

Diss Express – Paul Monkhouse:

“A classic play and an utterly wonderful production”.

Additional Praise (scanned)

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