For the past few weeks, the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre has played host to a small Norwegian manor.
Here, actors and actresses have been rehearsing for their rendition of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” which premieres Wednesday at the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.
The 1890 drama follows Hedda Gabler, a wealthy and beautiful woman that is bored with her aristocratic lifestyle.
“I view Hedda as a woman that was trapped in a different time. She very well could be a modern day woman,” said director Bruce Lecure, a professor in the theatre arts department.
At the outset of the play, Gabler has just married George Tesman, a fumbling academic. It becomes increasingly clear, however, that she does not truly love him, and her ennui leads her to play games with those around her.
“She’s sort of cruel and manipulative, but she does it out of this total sense of boredom and entrapment,” said senior Brian Detlefs, a musical theater major who plays Tesman.
According to Detlefs, the actors have been able to relate to the play’s modern themes.
“It was written so long ago, but it still feels very relevant,” Detlefs said. “It deals with some very accessible stuff. It asks ‘why do we live?’ and ‘what is it that we’re here for?’”
Following the play’s serious themes, rehearsals came complete with lessons on gun safety. Although a fake gun is used in the play, it shoots out realistic jets of steam.
Fire safety also played its own role in rehearsals. The cigarettes that Hedda Gabler, played by senior Leah Costello, smokes were monitored by crew member Scott Swartz, a senior majoring in film and theater.
“If anything were to go wrong, I’m sitting here with a fire extinguisher and there’s a fire curtain that closes between the set and the audience,” Swartz said.
The play will present heavier material than the season’s opener “Urinetown,” but the cast is taking advantage of its lighter aspects.
“It’s heavy material but we really don’t indulge that. We really try to mind the comedy to have something to offset that,” Detlefs said.
The play will run until Nov. 20, and both cast and crew hope to see students fill the seats.
“I hope students aren’t scared off by a classically-oriented play,” Lecure said. “This play has lasted for a hundred years and will continue to last over a hundred years because it’s got issues in it that will probably never be solved or fully dealt with and will hopefully shake people up a little bit.”
Alexandra Leon may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO BOX:
What: “Hedda Gabler”
When: Nov. 10 – Nov. 20
Where: Jerry Herman Ring Theatre
Price: $8 for students; $16 for non-students
Totally Tuesday: Nov. 16; students get in free