Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

Short note: Birthday planning for children, especially when it’s your own child(ren) is stressful. /end whine.

Short note: Terry Pratchett died today. Earlier in the year, I had the pleasure to read his book Long Earth and the sequel to it. They were amazing. I also count Good Omens Bad Omens in my favorites column. My heart is sad at the loss of Sir Pratchett. If you have never read a Pratchett book, please make an entry of one of his books on your to be read list. Personally, I recommend Good Omens, Bad Omens, even though it is a co-authored book.

Today, I’m talking about Hedda Gabler. It’s a play by Henrik Ibsen. Most likely, you’ve heard of A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen. Most people have. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you probably remember it from here, and if you’re a newer reader, check out what Dave has to say about A Doll House. Hedda Gabler, I’ve heard mentioned, but it’s not as known as A Doll House.

Pearl Cleage and Vendela Vida list it in their top tens.

Background: I have a degree in secondary education with speech, drama and English. So, in the course of my college career I worked on plays. I was only -in- one of them, but did a lot of backstage work through some others. This play really excited my “drama” side.

It’s a story of a young woman (Hedda, if you couldn’t guess) who has just returned from her 4 or 5 month long honeymoon that was also a dig around in old manuscripts and be scholarly and ramble on about medieval artifacts trip for her husband. They’ve moved into a house that her husband is sure to mention to both his aunt and the family friend who is a judge that Hedda absolutely had always, always wanted to live in. Hedda, from the very beginning is a little nasty, making her husband’s aunt feel like she thought her hat was the maid’s, and other acts like that. They talk quite a bit about how much “plumper” she got while they were gone and Aunt Julie keeps hinting at pregnancy. Later in the play, Hedda herself hints at it and tells her husband to get the news from his aunt. She also remarks that she wants nothing to do with having children (in veiled comments during a discussion with the judge).

Hedda is a fascinating character. You think she is one thing, then she does something that completely realigns your opinion of her. You find out what things led her to be living in the flimsy house of cards that she constructed for herself. She wanted, wants, control in her life. But, everything seems to conspire against that. The actions that she takes, they all lead to less control in her life. She’s a very flawed main character, which at that time in literature and drama, a married woman that refused to cheat on her husband would not be flawed. Flawed female characters were “fallen women”. Hedda is a flawed, unhappy, mean character who just happens to believe in not being unfaithful in her marriage. Which, might increase her trapped feeling that you feel more and more as the play progresses.

This is a play I would absolutely love to see acted on the stage, and not just read it. But, even reading it was a great experience. Some plays don’t work that great until you have actors bringing it to life. Hedda Gabler had a life on the page, with just stage directions and characters’ lines. To see it brought to life on the stage, would be an amazing thing, in my opinion.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Please think of me on Saturday as I stand and supervise at least 10 excited children ranging from 4 to 8 years of age, bouncing around and then eating cupcakes.

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