Directed by Richard Higgs for Muizenberg Dramatic Society. Bookings: 021 788 1898
Lieske Bester reviews.
Henrik Ibsen merged potential, realism and idealism in his many memorable plays and is generally acknowledged as the inspiration of realism in Western theatre.
If you take the stance that there is much that is absurd in his plays (as in life!) you will appreciate the wall paper hangers who constantly redecorate the back wall of the Tesman apartment (a psychological metaphor?) CJ Opperman and Gareth Stewart could have come straight out of an Ionesco or Becket play…
The theme of a discontented wife in an incongruous marriage is not new but Ibsen gives it width and depth through the other characters. The path to the disastrous (?) ending depends on tight interaction, superior performances and consistency of style. This is not entirely achieved. The range of costume is a little erratic and movement and positioning need more motivation.
The imaginative and evocative musical linking pieces deserve special praise.
Richard Higgs is excellent as Jørgen Tesman – a naïve and endearing (to most) academic – but as John Gielgud emphasized: taking a leading role in your own production can make you lose the plot and the play.
At the centre of the story line Tamara Richards delivers a strong performance as Hedda, moody and languid. Luke Brown gained strength in his portrait of the talented but ill fated historian Ejlert Løvborg, but their relationship lacked electricity.
Kelly Kowalsky impresses as the delicate Mrs Elvsted – her near-terror and insecurity are beautifully interpreted and as the no-age servant Berte, Jana Botha shows her versatility and stage presence to great effect.
Pilar Pringiers as Jørgen’s kindly aunt was sincere, uncomplicated and most likeable.
The role of the insidious Judge Brack is well taken by Philippe Pringiers but the final dialogue between him and Hedda is too slow and too thin on innuendo.
This intriguing production is bound to stimulate much discussion and division of opinion. See it.
Lieske Bester reviews "Hedda Gabler" by Richard Higgs for Muizenberg Dramatic Society. At the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg until 23 March 2013.