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Book Title: Hedda Gabler|
The author of the book: Henrik Ibsen
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9780822217848
The size of the: 531 KB
Edition: Dramatist's Play Service
Date of issue: September 1st 2001
Read full description of the books Hedda Gabler:
What is in a text, what was written, what we read, or, in the case of plays, what is acted out?
Continuing my theatre season, I attended a performance of Hedda Gabler, but read the text before hand, and listened in parallel to an excellent dramatized version .
I had watched another performance during my university days, and my memories of the work seem to be centered on the rights of women. To find their own place in their society and to find and exert their own volition in their lives aI recalled as the core idea in the play.
Hedda (yes, she is such a famous character that the first name itself is enough to know one refers to Ibsen’s creation), has been compared toMedea of Euripides, figure on which I also had recently a multi-media run. Although married, the play bears her maiden name as title. That in itself is enough of a sign of what is to follow.
But reading/listening this about 125 years after it was written, I could not react to the supposed plight of women. Instead I saw nastiness, envy, misdirected frustration, presumptuousness, insolence and a manipulative woman. Generally I do not like to judge characters in my reviews, neither for their morals, nor for the empathy I may feel or not feel for them. What I am trying to say is that the supposed investigation of the core of nature, will, volition, determination of woman, was simply not there for me.
Ibsen admired classical drama and followed the three rules of expounded by Aristotle in his Poetics: unity of time, place and plot. But for me the tragedy was not there. Hedda, a fascinating character, did not reach the stature of a Medea. They share the destructive instincts but one did have a sense of justice, while the other seemed driven by envy and unwarranted frustration.
But then I saw the Madrid staging and interpretation and a different play came to the foreground. Hedda came across as a more ambiguous character than I first interpreted. She had toned down her anger and frustration and appeared to live in her own world. She seemed out of place – out of her husband, out of her lover, out of friendship, out of entertainment, out of her suitors, out of beauty and material wellbeing, out of intellectual interests. And may be the costume designs helped in this and in bridging the period gap from the 1890s to today. They were the models by a top Spanish designer who often dresses the royals. And he had the characters begin the play in late 19C clothes but wearing contemporary clothes by the end.
Hedda’s gowns were different. They made her stand out, again, of her world. And as her timeless wardrobe went from the nuptial white at the beginning to pitch black at the end – in grey dégradés – and accompanied her in her estrangement towards the only things that gave her comfort: her guns. Her only possible exit.
Interpretation through declamation, interpretation through movement and gesture, interpretation through stage setting, interpretation through costume dressing..
So, what is in a text?
Read information about the authorHenrik Johan Ibsen was a major Norwegian playwright largely responsible for the rise of modern realistic drama. He is often referred to as the "father of modern drama." Ibsen is held to be the greatest of Norwegian authors and one of the most important playwrights of all time, celebrated as a national symbol by Norwegians.
His plays were considered scandalous to many of his era, when Victorian values of family life and propriety largely held sway in Europe and any challenge to them was considered immoral and outrageous. Ibsen's work examined the realities that lay behind many facades, possessing a revelatory nature that was disquieting to many contemporaries.
Ibsen largely founded the modern stage by introducing a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality. Victorian-era plays were expected to be moral dramas with noble protagonists pitted against darker forces; every drama was expected to result in a morally appropriate conclusion, meaning that goodness was to bring happiness, and immorality pain. Ibsen challenged this notion and the beliefs of his times and shattered the illusions of his audiences.
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