A Hedda Gabler | Pride Arts Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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Sarah Grant and Johnard Washington

Sarah Grant and Johnard Washington

Austin Oie

When: Mondays, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 17 2016
Price: $20
An empty wicker birdcage hangs portentously from the rafters in A Hedda Gabler, a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1891 drama from Red Tape Theatre and local playwright Nigel O'Hearn. The cage is meant to be symbolic of Hedda’s entrapment, her "caged" subservience to men, the "imprisoning" role society demands she play as a woman. More than once, men stare into the cage, lit from above by a hot spotlight, and deliver lines as if Hedda were inside. There’s even a fluttering-wings sound cue for Hedda’s "liberation," which consists of her shooting herself in the head at center stage. (In Ibsen’s play, she kills herself with a muffled shot, in a rear room, behind a drawn curtain). It's all too much, a travesty of the original Hedda Gabler, whose protagonist's lust for life, powers of manipulation, and indomitable will to charm drive the play in any version worth its salt. —Max Maller

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