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  Hedda Gabler: A Play With Music at Strawdog Theatre

Hedda Gabler: A Play With Music

Strawdog Theatre
1802 W. Berenice Chicago

In TUTA Theatre's HEDDA GABLER, the past and present collide, modern music and classical text intersect, in ways that reinvent the tale we think we know. In a time of rapidly shifting social and sexual paradigms, no work rings with more unflinching insight than that of the great Norwegian writer. Ibsen rose to prominence in large part through his refusal to follow the rules; writing plays for thinkers, for citizens, for people willing to question the moral compass of the universe.

Presented by TUTA Theatre

Thru - Mar 17, 2020

Show Times TBA

Price: $25 - $40

Show Type: Drama

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  Hedda Gabler: A Play With Music Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...Kevin V. Smith nearly matches Demerath's intensity as one of Hedda's old suitors, but this is Demerath's show. Her best allies are the versatile trio of musicians, led by the production's composer, Wain Parham. They play in eerie white death masks for much of the running time, but emerge to the forefront once the inevitable tragic end nears. Ibsen's original intent might have been to explore mental illness, but in this evocative reframing, it is the story of a woman fighting just to have her voice heard. It is a story which is sadly all too familiar in 2020."
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Dmitry Samarov

WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Demerath's performance is a stunner, ideally capturing the arrogance, pain, desperation, snobbery, self-loathing, lust for power and hunger for passion that drive Hedda. She also sings Parham's songs, which serve as Hedda's soliloquies, with a warped, feverish rage, and an aching realization that she will never have the life she most desires. And those musical interludes work brilliantly."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...This production is nothing, if not ambitious. TUTAís presentation somewhat succeeds in its mission to present a contemporary, new look at Henrik Ibsenís well-known drama. However, the staging feels clunky and mechanical; the characters come off as unrealistic; and the music feels like it was added as a novelty. What was once revered as a nineteenth century classic of theatrical realism is presented here as a lengthy, sometimes confusing, expressionistic drama with music thatís more Bertolt Brecht than Henrik Ibsen."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...But a play like Hedda Gabler hinges on its titular role Ė sure enough, one of the main reasons this adaptation works is because itís anchored by its brilliant lead Lauren Demerath. In a unique approach that could be called ďNorwegian PsychoĒ, her scintillatingly sinister Hedda is driven to seize whatever power she can: her malevolent machinations in a manís world reflect a singular desire to shape a manís destiny instead. The delightful and death-defying Demerath quickly makes the audience her accomplice as she crafts a complex character who is sociopathic but sincere, detached but visceral, petulant but mature, alien but adept, funny but fatal: and then she utterly nails the musical numbers that are worth the price of admission alone. Itís a bold, brave, and blistering performance that will leave audiences lacerated."
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Ian Rigg

Third Coast Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...The Tuta Theatre world premiere production of Hedda Gabler: A Play With Live Music is adapted and directed by Jacqueline Stone. The play is set in the early 1890s in Kristiania, now Oslo. The original modern and sometimes punklike music is composed by Wain Parham and played by a three-piece band, led by Parham on keys. The combination of the music, a stylized and somewhat stiff acting style, and some curious staging choices result in an expressionistic, not altogether successful, treatment of the 19th century classic story. Itís a production that will interest those who like to explore experimental theater. Donít attend expecting a traditional treatment of Ibsenís heroine."
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage - Not Recommended

"...There is always something to be said for a theatre company trying something new or making an effort to freshen an older play with some unique concept. Sometimes the result is something sparkling and truly original. Broadway's recent spate of revivals that re-imagine shows like Oklahoma, Once On This Island, West Side Story, etc. comes to mind. There are times, though, that the idea that seemed brilliant when it was conceived just doesn't pan out as well as its creators had hoped. That, unfortunately, is the case with TUTA's new version of Ibsen's classic Hedda Gabler, now referred to as Hedda Gabler: A Play With Live Music."
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Karen Topham

The Broadway Blog - Recommended

"...Featuring one of modern drama's most notorious anti-heroines, portrayed in this production by force-of-nature Lauren Demerath, the source material takes a look at several eventful days in the life of bored, entitled and privileged beauty Hedda Tesman. Born Hedda Gabler, the subversively willful beauty of a powerful and deceased local General, the character enters into a marriage of convenience with promising scholar George Tesman (Huy Nguyen), believing her window to youthful freedom entirely shut for good."
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Becky Sarwate

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