“Resolving Hedda” is a play about the character of Hedda Gabbler from the Ibsen play of the same name.
The role of Hedda has long been seen as one of the most iconic female roles in the theatre. Hedda is a young woman just married, who, over the length of the play, seems to be unravelling, falling from boredom through irony, despair and finally into a deeply pragmatic sense of her probable and, for her, far too depressing future. All leading her to rather abruptly and dramatically kill herself. It’s all very Norwegian.
“Resolving Hedda” begins with the character of Hedda on stage explaining to a slightly confused audience that she intends to do everything she can, with the help of the actress whose body she occupies, to change the course of the play and in so doing save herself from her untimely, and after close to 130 years of performances, unbearably tedious death. It’s a brilliant beginning to a quite astounding play.
Of course, to take this version of “Hedda Gabbler” quite literally off the rails demands the skill and intelligence and the sheer nerve of someone pretty remarkable. Ibsen wrote Hedda with an outspoken energy and a reputation for a magical ability to manipulate and shock, which certainly comes in handy when, without warning to her fellow characters, she roadblocks the plot and twists the story as much as she can to prevent the inevitable. Her fellow characters have absolutely no idea at her motives and simply find a way comically through her tricks and ruses, mostly by chance, and continue to follow their storylines and complete their tasks furthering the plot, all while Hedda furiously finds ways to ensure her survival.
It’s all totally fascinating and the anticipation of whether this Hedda pulls it off is immense.
Imagine knowing what will happen and watching someone do everything they can to change their pre-destined future only to be stopped at every turn by the plot, the other characters, and ultimately herself as she finds herself unable to control what she longs to.
Everyone is absolutely excellent, which is to be expected from the wonderful Victory Theatre.
The writing is terrific and the playwright Jon Klein, who has premiered quite a few of his plays at this theatre, has taken what is familiar and classic and iconic and turned it completely on its head…in the most creative, transfixing and delightful way.
The role of Hedda is played by Kimberly Alexander and her performance can only be described as phenomenal.
Much of her performance is focused on the audience, letting us in on the ‘joke’ from the beginning and continuing to seek our support throughout they play as she loses control of her goal and maintaining a conspiratorial camaraderie that is vital to the success of the play. Ms Alexander excels, she pulls us into her world and holds us there with her humor, her pathos and her brilliant comic timing. Genius!!!
But without an equally brilliant supporting cast, this play would be a one-note wonder. No one and I mean this, no one is anything less than perfect in their roles. The set is magnificent, as usual at The Victory and the lovely director Maria Gobetti gives us a couple of hours in a universe full of laughter, dark Norwegian secrets and lies and the sweet sadness of the inevitability of our doomed souls fall, no matter how hard we struggle and resist.
I cannot recommend “Resolving Hedda” enough. If you have a soul, you should see this play.
Running from September 22 through November 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM. Sundays at 4PM at The Victory Theatre, 3326 W. Victory Blvd., Burbank, 91505
Written by Jon Klein
Directed by Maria Gobetti
Produced by Maria Gobetti, Tom Ormeny, Katie Witkowski
Hedda - Kimberly Alexander
Stagehand - Sean Spencer
Aunt Julia - Alyce Heath
George - Ben Atkinson
Thea - Marisa Van Den Borre
Brack - Tom Ormeny
Eilert - Chad Coe
Evan A. Bartlett - Set Designer
Jeffrey Schoenberg - Costume Designer
Noah Andrade - Sound Designer/Composer