Wake Forest University’s version of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” has been shifted from the 1880s to the 1980s. Directed by John Friedenberg, the play opens Friday, Feb. 12, and runs Feb. 13 and 17-21.
All performances begin at 8 p.m. in the Scales Fine Arts Center’s Mainstage Theater with the exception of a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Hedda Gabler (played by senior Megan Cramer) is the daughter of a general who expected a life of glamour and wealth and rebels against the boredom of a dull, narrow existence by vindictively scheming against everyone around her. Her much maligned husband, George Tesman, is played by sophomore Carter MacIntyre. Hedda also strives to ruin Eilert Lovborg (played by senior Rohom Khonsari), the intellectual she once rejected as a suitor.
By setting it in the 1980s, students can relate more easily to the characters, said Friedenberg, who is the director of the University Theater.
“The play is difficult to put in a 1980s context, but that has been a fun struggle,” said Friedenberg. “The actors catch themselves slipping into a 19th century stage lilt and then grimace as they try to pull themselves back out of it.”
“It is a very modern play, set in a very contemporary house,” he added. “And, they don’t take the carriage back from the pier, they take the limo.”
Wake Forest senior Jimmy Hilburn designed the set. Jonathan Christman, production manager and lecturer, created the lighting and Lisa Weller designed the costumes. She gave Aunt Julie (played by senior Catherine Justice) “a real Barbara Bush look, while Hedda has more of an eighties haute couture look,” said Friedenberg.
“Hedda Gabler,” not performed as often as Ibsen’s “The Doll’s House,” was published in Norway in 1890 and premiered in 1891. It was first staged in New York in 1892 and was most recently revived on Broadway in 1971 with Claire Bloom cast in the title role. Bloom will perform “Portraits of Shakespeare’s Women” at Wake Forest University April 10.
Tickets are $10, $5 for students. They may be purchased at the box office at 336-758-5295. The box office is open weekdays, noon-5:30 p.m.
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