CHELSEA STREBE | firstname.lastname@example.org
The UW Parkside theater program had its third opening weekend of the season on Friday, March 4th. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen was the heightened language piece for the 2015-2016 school year.
Hedda Gabler is a play set in the 1890’s about a woman who belonged in a different era. She is a highly intelligent female who wants nothing more than to have something to occupy her mind.
The play shows the oppression of women during the time period in a very interesting way. Some could read or watch this show and believe that Hedda is just a terrible person. She fools with people’s lives in detrimental ways only out of her own boredom.
Some would kill for the life that Hedda has achieved, but she is trapped in a world that was never meant for her. She has married an academic scholar by the name of George Tesman. He is a very sweet man, but he bores Hedda to death.
Hedda has another man who has fallen in love with her as well. Lovborg, who Tesman competes with academically, has written the most amazing book most of these characters have ever seen. With Mrs. Elvsted’s help he has created something remarkable that Tesman even becomes jealous of.
When Hedda hears of this interesting development with Lovborg, she sees it as an opprotunity to take control of something. Little does she know that as soon as she seems to get exactly what she wanted it will all be ripped away in the worst way possible.
Outstanding cast members
It was clear that there was another side to Hedda. The director of this production, Brian Gill, and the lead actress, Olivia Kraus, made Hedda’s personality come to life as someone who the audience could believe in.
Olivia Kraus did a wonderful job of bringing this character to life and making the audience feel for her. The character that Kraus created was full of this rage at the things she could not do. You could see her struggle with keeping control throughout the show, which kept the audience engaged and thoughtful of when the character might break and what she would do next.
The way that this Hedda was presented was not as a woman who treated people badly for the fun of it. The Hedda that the UW Parkside audience saw was a woman who wanted to be happy and was motivated by pure desperation.
One student of Parkside, Kayla Nielson, who attended the show said that her favorite parts of the performance were when Hedda would “lose it.” These parts of the show were where you saw Hedda’s real emotions as captivating and absolutely breathtaking to the audience.
Robin Feltman also brought life to an amazing female character from this time period. Throughout the show Feltman never lost sight of her character’s priorities as well as her fears. The contrast between Hedda and Feltman’s character, Mrs. Elvsted, was exceedingly important to the show.
While Mrs. Elvsted definitely did not see the world in the same light as Hedda, she ends up getting exactly what Hedda wants most. They are both women who feel trapped in this world that they don’t belong in, but they deal with this struggle in very different ways.
Elvsted falls in love and finds a project to occupy her time, Hedda loses everything while trying to control it.
Hard work by entire cast and crew
It was very clear how much work was put into this production not only in the acting, but in the technical aspects as well.
The set, is the “dream home” with see-through walls, but it represents much more. The house represents the cage that Hedda has put herself into. It was apparent to the audience how much work was put into the detail and symbolism of the set.
The lighting, which was designed by Parkside student Anna Janicek, added a wonderful somber mood to the show. The beginning was very light with a beautiful window of daylight shining on the stage floor. This window stays the whole time, but in the second act the lighting created a much more dark feeling which added to the encapsulating feeling of the production.
It was an amazing performance by many brilliant people in the UW Parkside theater department. Carena Richter, a student who saw the show on Friday night said that she has seen many shows from UW Parkside and she cannot wait to see more.
Hedda Gabler will run again from March 10-12th with the last show being Saturday at 7:30pm. This is a show that you do not want to miss.
The Parkside theater program will also be performing The Government Inspector starting April 29th and ending May 6th. Come enjoy these tremendous theatrical performances and support our students.