Elden Street Players Hedda GablerBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 26th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Elden Street Players’ production of Hedda Gabler [MP3 7:26 3.4MB].
Elden Street Players
Industrial Strength Theatre, Herndon, VA
$19/$16 Seniors and Students
Through February 16th
Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio.net review of Hedda Gabler, performed by the Elden Street Players in Herndon, Virginia. Mike and I saw the opening night performance on Friday evening, January 25, 2008.
Mike: This was a superbly acted show. All seven performers did a great job in their roles. The main character Hedda Gabler was just such a witch. I didn’t understand what the attraction was there for her. Other than her seeming to be supremely evil, it was an interesting show.
Laura: This show was very well acted. I could feel the tension. Every time Hedda walked into the room the hair on the back of my neck would stand up. She was nuts and needed some professional counseling. I think the way the story ended was the only way it could happen in her case.
Mike: Hedda Gabler is a play written by Henrik Ibsen, published in 1890. It follows the life of Hedda Gabler who has just gotten married and returning from her honeymoon to discover that her new husband’s position as a professor is at risk because of a former academic rival. Hedda is disappointed and frustrated that her life will not be a life of ease, but a very middle class existence. She plots and schemes, twisting everybody that she comes into contact with. She ends up destroying many lives including her own.
Laura: Hedda Gabler was played by Karen Jadlos Shotts. She did an incredible job. She totally became her character. When she walked out on stage the first time there was just something about her and you realized that the woman was not all there.
Mike: Hedda Gabler was such a bizarre person. There was nothing redeeming about her character at all. I don’t know what they could have done, but she was just so inwardly focused on herself and was so willing and able to destroy the people around her through their relationships and her taunting. I noted was that she was a bully. She bullied her friend Thea and her husband George.
Laura: Hedda’s husband George Tessman was played by Ted Culler. He was a big old lovable doormat. He had no idea what was going on. He was focused on his research and his professorship. He was not into a relationship with his wife. He was very kind and not too bright.
Mike: I don’t know if I would say he wasn’t bright. He was smart enough to become an author and maybe a professor or a Doctor, which was a big deal. He didn’t seem to have much people sense. I was wondering how he and Hedda got together. Was it an arranged marriage? What was that relationship? There was obviously no love from her. He just couldn’t see that at all. She couldn’t identify with him and his relationship with his aunt. It was just really bizarre seeing the two of them together. He was walked all over by her.
Laura: Thea Elvsted, a classmate of Hedda’s, was played by Laura Russell. She was so sweet and innocent. I really like her character. I felt sorry for her. When it became apparent to me that Hedda was off her rocker, I wanted Thea to run out of the house screaming. Unfortunately she didn’t.
Mike: Thea was an interesting contrast, she was strong enough to leave her husband for Lovborg, but she wasn’t strong enough to stand up to Hedda. I think there was some intimidation there dating back to their school days together. It was also interesting that Thea at the end of the show after Lovborg’s death, that she so quickly turned her attention to recreating his manuscript. It was almost like an on/off switch that she and George both said, “We can get focused on this.” You could also see some foreshadowing that maybe a relationship would form between the two of them.
Laura: Eilert Lovborg was played by Nader Tavangar. He did an outstanding job! He was so believable. I really felt for him and his anguish. His emotions when he thought he had lost his manuscript were very real and heart felt. I really enjoyed his performance.
Mike: Definitely. He is someone we need to keep our eye on because he was great in Intimate Apparel a few months ago at LTA. He did a great job in this show. It will be great to see hat he does next.
Judge Brack was played by Al Fetske. The Judge helped Tessman get the house and arranged the financing. He also helped Aunt Julie with the financing of the furniture for the Tessmans. He started out being very much the good guy and very helpful, but as the show progressed you could see the plans in his head. In the final scene he had pretty much gone around the other way of doing what he could so he could own Hedda and use her for his own purposes. By the end of the show I was thinking that he was very similar to Hedda in that he was using people for what he could get out of them. It would be interesting to see what would have happened later with the financial problems of the Tessmans and Aunt Julie. He came across not as menacing, but very diabolical. I think his portrayal was very good.
Laura: Two other people who had smaller roles, but were still very well acted and I enjoyed their performance were Miss Juliana Tessman, George’s Aunt, played by Carla Scopeletis, and Berte the housekeeper played by Rosemary Hartman. They both did a very good job. It was obvious that Juliana and Hedda did not get along. Julian wanted Hedda to just stay home and have children. That wasn’t in Hedda’s plans. Therefore there was a lot of tension. Berte the housekeeper was jut nervous and wanted to please the mistress of the house. She was always afraid she was going to do something wrong.
Mike: I liked the set. The play took place in the living room of the Tessman’s house. It was designed by Al Fetske. There were lots of small touches, like the bars around the doors. I liked the lighting that came in through the french doors when the curtains were opened. It showed more of the criss-cross patterns of the panes which made into another set of bars. Then there were some lighting coming in from above. The lighting was designed by Ken and Patti Crowley. There was a set of shadows on the back wall that was a complex criss-cross pattern. So everything about the house screamed out that it was a jail and that Hedda was in jail. There was a special effect done near the end of the show that I was not expecting and was very nicely done as well.
Laura: Hedda Gabler lasted about two hours and forty five minutes with one intermission. There is gunfire during the performance. It is playing through Saturday, February 16, Friday and Saturdays at 8 PM and select Thursdays and Sundays at the Industrial Strength Theatre in Herndon, Virginia.
Mike: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with community theatre happenings in the DC region. Simply go to ShowBizRadio.net/Subscribe.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
- Hedda Gabler: Kren Jadlos Shotts
- George Tessman: Ted Culler
- Miss Juliana Tessman: Carla Scopeletis
- Thea Elvsted: Laura Russell
- Eilert Lovborg: Nader Tavanger
- Judge Brack: Al Fetske
- Berte, the Housekeper: Rosemary Hartman
- Producers: Jeff Boatright & Rich Klare
- Director: David Fallen
- Assistant Director: Emme Fallen
- Stage Manager: Sue Klein
- Assistant Stage Manager: Meg Miller
- Set Design: Al Fetske
- Technical Director: Jason Kohles
- Master Carpenter: Marty Sullivan
- Set Construction: Jason Kohles, Marty Sullivan, Jill Tunick, Theresa Bender, Bll Behan, Mike Schlabach, Julia Downer, Michael Smith, Mike, Lougnane, John Shea, Jeff Boatright, Richard Durkin, Doug Downer, Zack Tilley
- Set Painting: Jill Tunick & Theresa Bender
- Set Dressing/Properties Design: Michael Smith
- Special Effects: Beth Adkins, Rich Klare
- Light Design: Ken & Patti Crowley
- Sound Design: Beth Adkins
- Costume Design: Mary Schmidt
- Hair: Kat Brais, Emme Fallen
- Publicity: Rich Klare, Ginger Kohles
- Cover Design/Playbill/Headshot Photos: Ginger Kohles
- Box Office: Rich Klare
- House Manager: Dave Sinclair
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2151.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.