by Jenny Enarsson
Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote Hedda Gabler in 1890, he
was already a man of international
previous plays had caused great controversy and heated debate about
the role of women in and outside of the home.
was fiercely attacked for suggesting in his work that some women
might want other things from life than being wives and mothers.
this latest production of Hedda Gabler - now finished at Oxford
- the story was transposed to London and the time is September 2001.
audience is invited to spend a weekend with a group of people coming
and going in the house that forms the physical backdrop to the plot.
the centre of things is Hedda, newly married to George.
back from their five-month honeymoon, they have barely had time
to move into the house when we first make their acquaintance.
not at ease with each other, they receive visitor after visitor
– all of whom eventually turn out to carry more baggage than meets
these two days, the relationships between the characters changes
as uncomfortable truths unfold.
deeply unhappy Hedda is aggressively manipulative and commits the
most vicious acts as she plays the others against each other.
finally becomes clear that all her behaviour stems from her blind
desire to be, if only just once, a determining influence in another
human being’s destiny.
she ultimately fails or succeeds at this is for the audience to