Hedda Gabler

by Henrik Ibsen - translated by Michael Meyer

directed by Ron Stannard

Performed at the

Gantry Theatre

on 19th and 20th April 1994

then at the
Medieval Hall, Salisbury

on 22nd and 23rd April 1994

Ibsen & Hedda Gabler

The Norwegian dramatist, Henrik Ibsen, was born in 1828 and the plays he wrote in the second half of the century established his reputation as the ‘father’ of modern European drama. He is perhaps best known for his naturalistic studies of contemporary life, all of which (including Hedda Gabler) reveal a fascinating tension between the lifelike surface and the surging ronmantic symbolism beneath it. The inherent theatricality of his work has been the source of its continuing vitality, along with his recurring themes - evident in Hedda Gabler - of the individual’s need for sustaining illusions, the battle between heredity and environment and the conflict between self-fulfilment and society. The play also touches on issues of male and female sexuality and how society determines sexual roles - issues as relevant in the 1990s as they were in the 1890s.

Hedda Gabler had its world premiere in Munich in 1891 and appeared in London later that year with Elizabeth Robins in the title role. Like GhostsA Doll’s House and The Wild Duck it reflects Ibsen’s concern with problems of personal and social morality and its central character is one of the most enigmatic and intriguing women in dramatic literature. Part black comedy, part tragedy, Hedda Gabler sardonically explores the frustrations of women in a Victorian bourgeois society and in particular Hedda’s struggle to escape the constraints of her own inhibitions and moral cowardice. Her corrosive qualities springing from her need to put some meaning into defiance ironically destroy everything, including her reputation which she has sought so fiercely to guard.

The staging of this touring production by The Maskers Theatre Company reflects the constraints of performing in more than one venue. At the same time the need for simplicity of presentation has helped us to avoid the heavy Victorian picturalism of so many Ibsen productions and to concentrate on the characters and the play’s emotional texture.

George Tesman David Pike
Hedda Tesman, his wife Karen Upfield
Juliana Tesman, his aunt Mollie Manns
Mrs. Elivsted Belinda Drew
Judge Brack Ken Spencer
Eillert Loevberg Brian Stansbridge
Bertha, a maid Christine Baker

“Men are passionate but they are afraid of scandal”.

“They perceive that the times are full of missions worth devoting one”s life to, but they cannot discover them”.

“My intention has been to depict human beings, human emotions and human destinies against a background of certain prevailing social conditions and views”.

“Life is not tragic - Life is ridiculous - and that cannot be borne”.

(From Ibsen’s working notes on Hedda Gabler)


For the Maskers
Director Ron Stannard
Set Designer Ken Spencer
Lighting Designer Ron Tillyer
Stage Manager David Jupp
Set Construction Douglas Shiell, Geoff Cook, Chris Finbow
Sound Recordist Lawrie Gee
Sound Operator Meri Mackney
Properties Jacky Pearce
Wadrobe Mistress Serena Brown
Wardrobe Hire Bristol Costume Services
Wig Hire Showbiz (Southampton)
Marketing & Publicity Roger Mallock, Jan Ward, Michael Patterson


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Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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