Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Despite glitches, Art Theater pulls off ‘Hedda Gabler’ well

By
From page A9 | May 27, 2014 |

Check it out
What: “Hedda Gabler”
Where: The Art Theater of Davis, 946 Olive Dr.
When: Through June 1; 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: $15 general
Info: http://arttheater.brownpapertickets.com/

I have to confess that despite my 71 years of living and 15 years as a theater critic, I had never seen Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” until we caught a performance at the Art Theater of Davis last weekend. It took a bit of research, both before and after seeing the play, to answer some questions I had.

While I like the new theater built in the Third Space building, there are a few complaints. First, there are approximately 30 folding metal chairs and four chair pads. The lucky first four to arrive spend a more comfortable couple of hours than the unlucky bunch who follow them. Patrons might like to think of bringing their own chair pads.

The second complaint is that on Thursday, the temperatures had gone up to 90 in the afternoon and the theater was beastly hot. This is only going to get worse as summer arrives, so people may want to plan accordingly with fans or whatever they have that will make things more comfortable for them.

This is a new translation of the Ibsen classic, translated by Adam Siegel and adapted by Timothy Nutter (who also plays Eilert Loevborg)

The play first opened in Munich in 1891 and was not well received. Germans liked their heroines to be docile and Hedda is anything but. This bride of only six months is already bored with married life, barely tolerates her bookish husband, and manipulates everything and everyone around her.

Art Theater’s Hedda (Tatiana Ray, an Acme alum) gives a beautiful, subdued performance, shrinking from her husband’s touch, yet sparkling in conversations with Judge Brack (John McLean), a family friend who is not so secretly in love with Hedda. Hedda has some of the most gorgeous costumes of the production, particularly her red velvet Act 3 number (costume design is by Nutter, who also designed the set and directed the show, in addition to adapting the script).

Husband Joergen Tesman (Tyler Shaffo) is a man who is head over heels in love with his wife, and lives in a fantasy world where she loves him, too. He is willing to put himself in debt to provide her with everything she wants. Shaffo’s Tesman is an affable guy. Sometimes you roll your eyes at his inability (or unwillingness) to see situations right under his own nose, but you still root for him.

The Tesman of this production tosses “ya” into his speech at odd times. He’s the only one who does and it makes one wonder why? Is this the nod to the Norwegian origins of the play? It sticks out like a sore thumb every time.

Judge Brack, though revealed to be unscrupulous, is a likeable rapscallion and McClean gives a strong performance as the third party in the marriage of Hedda and Tesman.

Tess Chism plays Hedda’s old school chum, Thea Elvsted, herself also in a loveless marriage, who has been working with Loevborg on his new book. Chism gives a fine performance despite being sabotaged by the most awful looking wig I have ever seen. Apparently someone decided that since the character is Norwegian, she should have a blond wig. This one shimmers unnaturally, comes undone, and shows her real dark hair in many places.

Lisa Halko gives a very strong performance as Aunt Julle, Tesman’s loving aunt, who has raised him from early childhood. Julle is thrilled that Tesman has found a wife, who is both beautiful and high-born, and anxiously awaits the news of an expected baby, though Tesman is too dense to understand her not-so-subtle hints.

Nutter is a powerful Loevborg, who was once Hedda’s lover and Tesman’s former colleague, now in competition with him for a teaching position. Loevborg is a recovering alcoholic and when he falls off the wagon at a party and confesses to Hedda that he has lost his priceless manuscript, instead of letting him know that, in fact, she is the one who lost the manuscript, she gives him a gun and encourages him to commit suicide.

The final character in this play is the butler/family retainer Berte (Dylan Wright). I liked his performance very much but there was just something “wrong” about it. His character seemed out of place in this drama and it was not until I did some research after the play that I realized the role was written to be a housekeeper, Bertha. Everything he did was wrong for a butler, but right for a housekeeper. I’m surprised that the role was given to a man.

This production sometimes lacks energy and on the night I attended it seemed like there were some difficulties remembering lines, though that may have been my imagination, as the cast covered well, if there were. But it is an ambitious project for the fledgling company and on the whole they carried it off well.

Comments

comments

.

News

Red Cross honors community heroes

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Winter produce available at Sutter market

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Share your love (story) with us

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Donations to be distributed during homeless count

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Speaker will share computer security tips

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

 
Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Words and Music Festival events

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

 
Davis, Woodland are saving water

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

.

Forum

Family isn’t keen on relationship

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

 
 
Caring for the aging mouth

By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

 
We have the right to choose

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

We don’t have to suffer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
City helped immensely

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

 
From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

 
UCD men take two tennis matches

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

Thomas George Byrne

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8