Next up at Philadelphia's Arden Theatre, Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler tells of a high-bred daughter married to a dull man and pining for Lovborg, a volatile author. When Hedda's ideals get squashed due to blackmail and Lovborg's weakness, she escapes the only way she knows how.
Hedda Gabler begins Jan. 22, opens Jan. 27 and runs to March 8. Arden producing artistic director Terrence J. Nolen directs the drama, which features Grace Gonglewski, a Philadelphia theatre veteran (The Real Thing, Major Barbara) who has played more than a dozen roles at the Arden alone. Also in the cast are Greg Wood (Tesman), Tom Teti (Judge Brack), Ceal Phalen, Joan Stanley, Susan McKey (Thea) and Eric Hissom (Lovborg). Designing the show are James Pyne (set), Curt Senie (lighting), Bob Perdick (sound) and Marla Jurganis (costumes). Duncan Busser serves as dramaturg.
Says director Nolen about the protagonist, "Hedda is the most complex, contradictory person you can imagine. She has an enormous sexuality coupled with a fear of intimacy; a capacity for brilliance combined with a dread of being different; a keen curiosity hindered by caution; and a vitality that struggles against societal repression."
The last Broadway mounting of Hedda Gabler featured Kelly McGillis as the unhappy wife and Laura Linney as Thea. Most recently, NYC's Jean Cocteau Repertory staged the work, starring company member Elise Stone.
After Hedda, William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream arrives, April 2-May 3. Ending the season will be Stephen Sondheim & George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along, May 28-June 28. For tickets ($18-$28) and information on Hedda Gabler at Arden Theatre on North 2nd St. in Philadelphia, call (215) 922-8900.
-- By David Lefkowitz