Although I had never read anything by Ibsen -and had only read about him- while I was at the theatre, enjoying Hedda Gabler, I immediately realised his connection to Chekhov.
Despite the play’s self-referential title and the fact that Hedda plays a huge part in every sub-plot, this story is not just about her. She might be the reason why pretty much every story begins and ends, but Ibsen did not concentrate his play just on her: he took time and created well rounded characters. Every single person who gets on stage has a story to tell, regardless how big is their part.
Mr and Mrs Tesman, Jørgen and Hedda, have just returned from their honeymoon and settled in their new home. Her, the daughter of a General, loves horse riding and pistols. Him, a mediocre researcher, hoping to get a job as a University lecturer in order to repay his debts and also be able to afford Hedda’s expensive lifestyle. Soon after their arrival Jørgen’s beloved aunt, Juliane Tesman, pays them a visit, followed by Judge Brack, an unscrupulous friend who took over the couple’s affairs, while they were away. During these social encounters we see Hedda struggling with married life, bored and unhappy.
Things are about to change when Ejlert Løvborg, her husband’s former friend and colleague, arrives. He is an insightful and intelligent fellow who destroyed his career because of his alcohol addiction, until he met Thea Elvsted, a young unhappily married woman who helped him get back on his feet. Hedda resents Thea for her influence upon Ejlert and decides to do something about it.
Written in 1890 this play embodies human -female, actually- complexity. Acting was really good, especially by the actors portraying Judge Brack and Juliane Tesman. Eleni Kousta, managed to play a weird, eerie Hedda. The director used wisely the screen that was behind the stage, in order to make the play a little bit more interactive. The theatre pops and costumes were colourless, faded, in accordance with this deeply psychological play, which brightens because of its own characters, and not their clothes.
You can watch Hedda Gabler at Tzeni Karezi Theatre for six more performances.
For further information please click here.