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School of Music, Dance and Theatre presents classic production 'Hedda Gabler' virtually

November 20, 2020

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre continues its season this weekend with a virtual production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler.”

Just back from an extended honeymoon, Hedda Gabler is confronted with the reality of her new life. She struggles to come to terms with her surroundings, social standing, a possible pregnancy and the mind-numbing boredom that define her existence. Past lovers and rivals unexpectedly resurface, setting in motion a riveting string of events that spiral to a tragic end.  

Ibsen wrote the play at a time when Norway was developing its own cultural identity, according to student Dave Osmundsen, who gathered dramaturgical assets for the production.

According to Osmundsen’s notes, Ibsen’s early playwriting attempts aimed to idealize the mythology of Norway’s history. 

“When these failed to capture the public imagination, he exiled himself from his home country, living for many years all over continental Europe,” Osmundsen wrote. “He became a firm believer in aristocratic individualism – the idea that the individual can only achieve control and self-actualization outside the confines of societal conformity. This included women; while not a feminist in the modern sense, Ibsen believed women could only achieve self-realization outside of their expected gender norms.”

“Hedda Gabler” is a foundational piece of the theater cannon and widely regarded as one of the first major feminist works. This production focuses on how digital technology and media can speak to live performance, exploring themes of control and constraint, the beauty in our lives against the inertia of the world, and the resiliency and hope of the human spirit.

This translation/modern adaptation of the play is by Paul Walsh, a premier translator of Ibsen’s work and an ASU alumnus. This translation premiered professionally at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. A professor at Yale University, Walsh taught courses in dramaturgy, theater history and dramatic literature at the University of Massachusetts and at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Walsh joined the production for a virtual talkback Friday after the student matinee.

'Hedda Gabler'

When: Friday, Nov. 20, and Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m.

Where: Online via Vimeo 

Tickets: $10, purchase here

Warning: Please be advised that this play contains discussion of suicide and includes a simulated suicide. A loud (recorded) gunshot will be heard.

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