Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

By: Henrik Ibsen

February 20, 21, & 22, 2008
Walton Fine Arts Center
Black Box Theatre
Curtain 7:30 P.M.
House opens at 7:00 P.M.
$8.00 general admission
$6.00 Senior Citizen

View images from the production

Why would University Theatre produce a play written by a Norwegian playwright in 1891?   What possible interest could a 115 year old play have for modern audiences?  And what is a Hedda Gabler anyway?

Hedda Gabler is the title character of Henrik Ibsen’s classic of the early realistic theatre.  Tired of the romantic melodramas and mindless entertainments of his day, Ibsen, along with other contemporary European playwrights, investigated realism in the theatre.  They wanted to write and produce plays that examined serious issues of their day, including marriage, sexuality, religion, poverty, and feminism.  These playwrights investigated the effect of environment upon character, and wanted to awaken audiences to the rapidly changing society surrounding them.  Ibsen treated those issues in other landmark land mark plays such as A Doll’s House,  Ghosts, and An Enemy of the People.   Ibsen was far from a one hit wonder, and his plays are still produced around the world.

Hedda Gabler is the psychological study of a woman born before her time.  Mrs. Hedda Gabler Tesman is the most intelligent citizen of her provincial Norwegian town.  Beautiful, and blessed with a quick and incisive mind, she is limited in her life choices by her sex.  With marriage and motherhood the only opportunities available to her, Hedda chafes under the strictures and limitations of her Victorian world.  Her marriage to a promising university professor offers her only boredom and stupor.  Her struggle to assert herself, to find her place in the world, and to make a significant contribution to society results in an ending that shocked and scandalized audiences for many years.

Hedda Gabler has received 17 different film and television versions.  Actresses playing Hedda on stage or screen, include Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Annette Benning, Cate Blanchett, and Kelly McGillis.

This 2008 University Theatre production is the third presentation of the play in Ozarks history.  The first, in the late 1930’s, featured student Susie Maude Poyner Pittman in the title role.   Mrs. Pittman later taught theatre for many years as a member of the Ozarks faculty.  The second production, in the late 1960’s,  featured student Ardith Morris as Hedda.  Dr. Morris is now the Director of Theatre at Arkansas Tech University. 

For the 2008 production, the cast includes

  • Annie Mitchell as Hedda Gabler
  • Kristina Davenport as Thea Elvested
  • Phillip Perez as George Tesman
  • Danielle Stover as Aunt Julia Tesman
  • Andrew Charles Heim as Judge Brack
  • Josh Tarvin as Eilert Lovborg
  • Grace Harnish as Berthe

The crew includes Ozarks Theatre Professor Bruce B. Brown as set, lighting and graphic designer and technical director; Lacey Kennedy as costume designer and wardrobe crew supervisor; Leah Short as makeup designer and dresser; Erin Fuller as sound designer and light board operator; and Jena Moreau as stage manager.

When asked why he selected Hedda for University Theatre, Dr. Pat Farmer, Walton Professor of Theatre, commented, “I view University Theatre as a living library of dramatic works.  Educational theatres have a responsibility to present plays from all periods of dramatic literature, so that new generations may discover the vibrancy and immediacy of great theatrical literature from the past.  The characters in Hedda Gabler are not so different from modern individuals.  We all have desires, strive for our success, and are  frustrated by the limitations society places on us.  Hedda Gabler helps us put our lives and our world into perspective.”