she loves me

hedda gabler two


blog for February 5, 2017

I wrote something about Hedda Gabler while I was still in London last month (how time flies).  That was before I had read the new script, the adaptation by Patrick Marber that the Belgian director Ivo van Hove used for his knock-out production of the original play by Henrik Ibsen (1890).  Working from a literal translation by Karin and Ann Bamborough, and then from detailed (4 pages) of notes from the director, some of which Marber said he disagreed with, he sent a second draft,  the one apparently, that was used for the production I saw.   Interestingly, van Hove had directed the play twice before he met Marber; the playwright’s version had to “acccord” with van Hove’s vision.  I guess it did.  The last scene of  the play has very little to do with what’s on the page.  I mean it does, but the words are mere counterpoint to what is going on.  You can’t read the direction for this action; it’s not there.

I won't tell you about it as that would be a spoiler.  I think van Hove extrapolated his interpretation from something Judge Brack said, the trigger, I am sure, to Hedda’s subsequent action.   Hedda’s husband, Tesman, and Mrs. Elvsted are going to be very busy reconstructing their friend’s destroyed manuscript. manuscript.  Hedda says,

Husband, what do you propose for me on these evenings?

Brack will visit you, Tesman says.

Of course I will! responds Brack. Every evening. Trust me, I will occupy her.  Fully.

It’s not a promise, it’s a threat.   Van Hove took the action from that. 

It’s a good thing I don’t write reviews, isn’t it?