Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, St. Edward's University, September 29 - October 9

Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler

by Michael Meigs

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler by Jeff Whitty has an abundance of clever and not much of depth or heart. Director David M. Long does a bang-up job of making it a whizzing entertainment, having recruited three gifted Equity professionals to work with the six St. Ed's Equity-candidate actors relegated to secondary roles.

Playwright Whitty starts with an intriguing hypothetical: what happens to Ibsen's Hedda Gabler after she so famously commits suicide in the last scene of the 1890 play of the same name? We watch Hedda awake in an afterlife, confused, looking around to decipher the only partly familiar world around her. She rises from the 19th century sofa and discovers that her pillow is drenched with blood but she is apparently unharmed. Then her worst nightmare appears: her husband George Tesman, pained and concerned for her. Won't that man ever go away? Not even beyond the grave?

Whitty gives us a literary limbo, populated with an arbitrary assortment of fictional characters embraced by the popular imagination. Hedda learns that she has been committing suicide over and over again for more that a century. She and others in this limbo survive, deathless and ever the same -- until the moment in which they disappear from living memory.

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