Next Best Thing productions

Hedda Gabler
Directing Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler in performance by Next Best Thing productions

Hedda Gabler is an intense play. It doesn’t let up for a moment. From the domestic comedy of the first act to the compelling denoument in the fourth this is a drama which means business. The late nineteenth-century middle class here seem concerned with some very contemporary issues: from unmanageable household debt to alcoholism and an unwanted pregnancy. It’s a challenge for the small cast but as we have found a very rewarding one. Ibsen has the knack of creating truly three-dimensional characters, proud, funny and flawed, but placed in a tightly written, almost claustrophobic, and elegantly structured four acts of thrilling drama. As the director of a “realist” play such as this you are constantly striving for “truth” – never forget that an audience has to believe in what they are seeing, even if they feel confused or shocked. Hedda is a confusing and shocking character, she feels the need to challenge everything, yet can never escape the life she feels has been imposed on her. Ibsen I think puts a lot of himself in the character and although she is at times a monster at no point do you fee he has completely lost his sympathy for her. One aspect of the play that has surprised us is the comedy – following Ibsen’s own stage directions some wonderful comic business has emerged – and has assisted our actors in getting to grips with some pretty bleak material. All my thanks go to a superb cast who have brought this play to life and a fantastic co-director in Julie Fancher who has helped guide us all with humour and patience.

Hedda Gabler:
About the play        About Henrik Ibsen

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