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HERE

November 3-12,  2023

The Theatre at the Fort

 8920 Otis Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46216

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Hedda Gabler
by 

 Henrik Ibsen

Adapted by Jon Robin Baitz

"I want for once in my life to have power to mold a human destiny." 

Ibsen's most notable drama takes centerstage as the coda to our festival. This intense, psychological thriller explores the means by which a woman must take control of her own life. Filled with bureaucratic roadblocks, personal manipulation, and a string of damning secrets, this incredible play paints a stunning portrait of womanhood as relevant now as in 1891. 

The show is directed by
Mr Chris Saunders

Mr Saunders has exploded  on the local theatre scene in the last few years as the founder and artistic director of American Lives Theatre.  

ALT has become the preeminent theatre company performing modern cutting edge theatre here in the city.  His shows have received considerable acclaim and  many of the best actors in the city long to be a part of his vibrant company. 

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Cast

Hedda Gabler .......................... Morgan Morton

George Tesman ....................... Joe Wagner

Thea Elvsted ............................ Anna Himes

Judge Brack ............................. Clay Mabbitt

Eilert Lovborg ........................... Matt Kraft

Julia Tesman ............................ Susan Hill

Berta ........................................ Carrie Reiberg

 

Production Crew

Director .................................... Chris Saunders

Assistant Director .................... Sara Castillo Dandurand

Costume Coordination ............. Anthony Sirk

Dramaturg ............................... Susannah Quinn

Set Dressing ............................ Kristin Voss

Special thanks to Indiana Repertory Theatre, American Lives Theatre, and Stage Door Irvington.

 

Place

The home of George and Hedda Tesman, Christiana, Norway. Near the turn of the twentieth century.

 

Time

Act One - Morning

Act Two - Afternoon

Act Three - Early the next day

Act Four - Evening

 

There will be one 15-minute intermission between Acts Two and Three.

 

Program Notes

In a review of the 1898 premiere Broadway production, a critic for The New York Times described Hedda as a “degenerate,” “selfish, morbid, cruel, bitter, jealous, something of a visionary, something of a wanton, something of a lunatic.” Since then, there have been hundreds of productions around the world. The opinions surrounding the character of Hedda Gabler have ranged wildly over the years according to each production and the social mores of the time. 

 

About 130 years ago, in Norway, people sat in an audience just like you, and watched a play about a woman named Hedda. You may not have realized it walking into Theater at the Fort today, but your participation is part of a worldwide tradition over 100 years in the making. You're going to sit, listen, laugh, cringe, consider, and, yes - judge - this woman known as Hedda Gabler. What will you say about her when you leave? Does she deserve sympathy? Is she entitled? Misunderstood? Vindictive? Oppressed? Crazy?

 

There are few works of literature titled after a woman - particularly prior to 1900. Phaedra, Medea, and Madame Bovary are a few examples. So it is very telling that Ibsen chose to name his play Hedda Gabler, and furthermore interesting that although the play begins after Hedda has married, Gabler is her maiden name. His other most famous play - the one with the "door slam heard around the world" - isn't named after Nora Helmer, the wife who, spoiler alert: leaves her husband. It's called 'A Doll's House,' not named after anyone. So why this title? Naming it after Hedda shows no editorial viewpoint. It  leaves us to determine who Hedda is. It just presents the woman behind the name in all her complexity. 

 

The last century has produced so many real-life women who inspire every range of opinion imaginable. Zelda Fitzgerald. Carrie Nation. Edie Bouvier Beale. Dorothy Dandridge. Martha Mitchell. Madonna. Sinead O'Connor. Rose McGowan. Britney Spears. They've been called crazy and visionary, sometimes in the same sentence. Before them, there was Hedda.

- Chris Saunders 

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In the late 19th century, the playwright Henrik Ibsen completely rewrote the rules of drama with a realism that we still see in theatres today. He turned the European stage away from what it had become – a plaything and distraction for the bored – and introduced a new order of moral analysis.

His plays Pillars of Society, A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Ghosts and An Enemy of the People are considered classic works of Realism that changed the way the western world viewed drama. In each of these plays, Ibsen addressed a contemporary social problem and wrote his play as a forum for debate or criticism of the issue.

In 2018 we visited Oslo, 
Norway where Ibsen is venerated for his outstanding contributions to the artistic world.  Below are photos of The National Theatre in Oslo where many of his great works first premiered. 

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