Thursday, May 26

Hedda Gabler is tapped for meaning. And filled with clichés.

The National Theater makes no attempt to make Hedda Gabler a real human being. Instead, she becomes a 19th century fury in a black trouser suit.

Eivin Nilsen Salthe as Judge Brack and Ingrid Giæver as Hedda Gabler. The former brings out some comedy in the role of Brack, while Giæver struggles with funny direct choices and a stereotypical interpretation of the text.

When Henrik Ibsen published “Hedda Gabler” in 1890, the play received mixed reception. Male critics from London to Paris struggled to understand her. Here at home, Morgenbladet’s reviewer called Hedda an “eerie fantasy fetus” and “a monster in the form of a woman”.

In some early productions, Hedda was also played as something of a fury: naughty and hysterical. Other actors gave her more depth, and beyond the 20th century she was seen as a powerful feminist force. In our time, one can recognize oneself in Hedda Gabler’s life pain. Her infinite boredom and existential emptiness.

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