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Du 29 janvier au 16 février 2008

Hedda Gabler

Texte de Henrik Ibsen
Adaptation : Judith Thompson
Mise en scène de Jeremy Hechtman
Avec Patricia Summersett, Neil Napier, Patrick Goddard, Dan Jeannotte, Catherine Bérubé, Jane Gilchrist and Carolyn-Fe Trinidad

Following their hit shows Johnny Canuck & the Last Burlesque (2006) and Vampires Lesbians of Sodom (2007), MainLine Theatre brings you Judith Thompson's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's classic tale of stifled passions. With a twist of MainLine: set in the 1950s à la Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Tickets : 17$ or 12$ with Four Play card

Une création du MainLine Theatre

Mainline Theatre
3997, St-Laurent
Billetterie : 514-848-3378


review by Geneviève Germain

Hedda Gabler is a newlywed who is bored by the life that lies ahead. Why? Try being married to a man you don’t love, most seemingly for economic reasons, who works all the time and tells you there might be some financial difficulties for you to be able to entertain guests or have a horse, while he strives to get a position as a university profesor. What is there left? Nothing of her past life as the Governor’s daughter. She doesn’t want children, doesn’t have any friends. The only option she finds is to use the people surrounding her for her own entertainment, using both manipulation and seduction and therefore igniting quite a turmoil…

In the late 1800s it was rather rare and controversial to portray a woman being unremorsefully mean towards others, showing almost no emotion and presenting a seriously twisted way of thinking. Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen created a very unusual female character for his time. Up to this day, the role of Hedda Gabler still remains well sought-after by actresses, probably because it depicts a woman of strong and unique features with mysterious but deep inner life.

In Mainline Theatre’s version of the play, the action is set in the 1950s, where gender roles were still strongly defined. However, in this particular play, the woman presents more manly features that the man she has married. Although Patricia Summersett as Hedda is stunning in a bright red cocktail dress, her hair firmly pinned up, creating great contrast with her brown-suited and nerdy looking husband, we immediately understand that she’s the one with the temper. Mr. Tesman (Patrick Goddard) acts almost like a child: jumping around, hugging others, openly displaying his distress, whereas his spouse seems cold and snobbish, refusing physical contact as much as possible and keeping a calculated distance with others.

In addition to Mr. Tesman and his wife, Director Jeremy Hetchman managed to bring out strong features in all of the play’s other characters. The couple’s maid Berta (Carolyn-Fe Trinidad) is openly unmotivated by her new job after having served loveable Aunt Juliana Tesman (Jane Gilchrist). Their friend Judge Brack (Neil Napier) comes out as a sort of playboy who uses his charms to his advantage. Eilert Lovborg, Mr. Tesman’s enemy in the story, for he might endanger Mr. Tesman’s position at the University by publishing a striking new manuscript, is played by Dan Jeanotte as the typical troubled and passionate writer/philosopher. His muse, Mrs. Elvsted (Catherine Bérubé) is overly naive and good-hearted. It is surely the danger in encouraging such strong characteristics to be displayed: going a little overboard. However, as a group it all evens out.

I think it is safe to say that the play Hedda Gabler is more about the woman herself than the action that takes place around her. In that sense, Mainline Theatre’s production totally nailed it by choosing Patricia Summersett as lead actress. She truly inhabits Hedda’s character with all her contradictions and disturbing traits. With overall good performance from the crew, the play calls for an evening of enjoyable entertainment.