Hedda Tessman, nee Gabler, is a headstrong woman. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it. The Ibsen classic is regarded for an assortment of reasons, one of which being the great character of Hedda. It’s no wonder why someone would want to adapt it. Written by Matt Minnicino’s Hedda (Gabler), Wandering Bark Theatre’ Company’s production is a biting drama that brings modern sensibility to the piece.
|photo by Jeff Farkash|
Hedda is a woman fond of illicit affairs. She’s a woman wound up in desires. Yet she’s a fascination to watch. Valerie Redd was a dynamic Hedda. There seemed to be a tinge of Iago in her Hedda. It helped to make her downfall so much more glorious. Quinn Franzen had a Gatsby-esque charm as Eilert Lovborg. Franzen married the slightly heightened text with the modern cadence best. While his recovery was a bit understated, he was someone to cheer for. As George Tesman, Kyle Schaefer allowed his George to constantly be dominated by Redd’s Hedda. He was a spineless character. It helped to define the loveless marriage. Susanna Stahlmann as Thea seemed to be in a different version of Hedda Gabler. Stahlmann had a flair for the classic but that was not this production. She consistently played the hysterics, causing a bit of a one-note performance.
If you’re a fan of Henrik Ibsen or Hedda Gabler, Wandering Bark did a strong job paying homage to the play while still putting their own twist on the classic. And for those who hate sitting through the standard piece, this ninety-minute version is fast and gritty.