The first reactions I heard from others around campus on the subject of Hedda Gabler was that it wasn’t very good. People were saying they couldn’t relate to it and that it was too old-fashioned. A guy in my English class reiterated this fact when he told the class that on opening night it was packed, sold out, but that the audience didn’t react the way the cast or director expected. “They laughed when Hedda was displaying emotion. I mean, this is a melodrama not a comedy,” he said. The night I decided to see the play, there wasn’t as much laughter as I had anticipated which was a very good thing. Don’t get me wrong, there were some funny parts, but it was clearly as aforementioned a dramatic production.
I thought the lighting was pretty neat. As soon as Hedda broke out General Gabler’s two pistols for the first time, the backdrop turned red. Colors in theatre always represent something, so I figured at least one character was going to die somewhere along the way. The fact that the backdrop stayed a reddish color throughout a great deal of the play continued to reinforce my opinion, and the entire time I wondered who would be the victim.
I didn’t really understand how you could kill yourself gloriously, but Hedda kept saying that it was how a person contemplating suicide, especially her ex-flame, Lovborg, should go out. I share the same view as my boyfriend on that matter: I don’t have much respect for someone who commits suicide. It just seems like they couldn’t handle life, didn’t want to deal with it, and took the easy way out. Well guess what? Life isn’t always easy. I understand that she tangled herself into that unwanted predicament, but she shouldn’t have just shot herself in the head (or anywhere for that matter). She could have run away like Thea did. Obviously Hedda was smarter than Thea. I think anything is better than suicide because hey, “when life gives you lemons- make lemonade.”
Hedda was a very controlling lady. I don’t understand why she married Tesman if she didn’t love him. Then again I never had the chance to experience a woman’s life in the 1950s. But for such a control freak, it seems like she would have gotten her way a long time ago. It seems as though she would have the man of her dreams, the prime house, and loveable children of her own. Perhaps she’s just immature and can’t decide things on her own. She takes numerous drastic measures which in the end hurt more than help her situations (i.e. marrying Tesman, putting specific thoughts in Thea’s head, giving Lovborg a pistol, burning his book, shooting herself in the head). It all just adds up to disaster.
The props were all suitable for the time period. The tables and chairs had an older elegance to them. The set was very airy, but who needs walls? I’ve always wanted beautiful glass doors opening to a luscious backyard garden, so those were pretty cool. The lighting and costumes were very appropriate. I especially liked all of Hedda’s clothes. People in the ‘50s didn’t dress to bad in my opinion.
Overall I really enjoyed watching the play despite what I’d heard prior. Having read A Doll’s House also by Henrik Ibsen, it is apparent that he’s a decent playwright. Hedda Gabler was far more entertaining than anything I’ve seen at Malco lately.