Danielle Davy (left) portrays an anxious, young Thea, who is a rival to Hedda Gabler.
“Under different circumstances surrounded by beauty and wealth, the center of a brilliant, stimulating people, Hedda might have been quite a different person.” Waters agrees. “Under different circumstances … if she had been given that encouragement, she would have found her own creativity.”
It is precisely this “fallen angel” quality that makes the audience feel sympathy for what should be an entirely unsympathetic character.
Waters is aided on stage by a strong cast, the oily Judge Brack, played charmingly by Jim Jorgensen, has his creepiness heightened when the audience realizes the pin on his lapel is a swastika. Eric Lucas’ Eilert Loevborg masterfully plays Gabler’s brilliant and troubled love. He is magnetic and disturbing.
The settings and costumes, however, did not capture the specific time in history the play was set. It may have been a stronger choice to err on the side of minimalism in color and design rather than reach for something more elaborate.
In the end, it is a testament to the play’s remarkable freshness and modernity that the imperfections of this production are utterly forgotten as the power of the story takes over.
The production opened Thursday and runs through Jan. 29.