Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler hasn't lacked for recent productions, but back when the play was written, the subject matter of such an uncompromising, "unwifely" woman was controversial stuff. It was two American actresses based in London, Elizabeth Robins and Marion Lea, who helped launch the first Gabler production in the UK.
An actress and suffragette, Robins had been performing in A Doll House when she read Hedda Gabler. She later achieved much acclaim for the role.
Experimental playwright Maria Irene Fornes (Mud, Fefu And Her Friends, Abingdon Square) examines Robins and Lea's lives and passion for Ibsen's work in a new biographical drama, The Summer In Gossensass. The play world-premieres at Off-Broadway's Judith Anderson Theatre in a mounting by Women's Project & Productions. Fornes also directs the piece, which begins previews Mar. 31, opens Apr. 7 and runs to Apr. 26.
Starring in Gossensass are Valda Setterfield (The Mysteries and What's So Funny?), Molly Powell, Daniel Blinkoff, Joseph Goodrich, and Clea Rivera. Designing the show are Donald Eastman (set), Philip Widmer (lighting) and Gabriel Berry (costumes).
Founded by Julia Miles in 1978, WP&P is dedicated to staging works by women, including such recent stagings as The Water Children and Phaedra in Delirium. -- By David Lefkowitz