Mary-Louise Parker cuts a handsome figrue as the trapped herione, Hedda Gabler, in the Roundabout Theater Company’s odd production of Ibsen’s classic character study. Christopher Shinn’s new adaptation is more direct and the evening helmed by Ian Rickson has an aggressive contemporary tone that is uneven and obvious.
The Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe award winning star hasn’t been seen on Broadway since her 2004 Tony nominated performance in Craig Lucas’ Reckless. She looks great in the elegant costumes by Ann Roth, but her portrayal displays annoyance with everyone, not a woman feeling increasingly restricted by her situation and the social limitation of her times. She is her father, the General’s daughter, ensnared by the restraints of being a woman in a man’s world. But Rickson’s revival paints our bored heroine as a petulant housewife instead.
One thing is for certain, whether you like this Hedda or not, the evening is bizarrely entertaining. And the opening with Parker lying on the drawing sofa mooning us with her dressed pulled up above her waist and the mirror above her reflecting the image out to the audience again speaks volumes about the director’s obtuse choices. The men, Michael Cerveris as her husband Tesman and Paul Sparks as Lovborg, come off better than the women displaying more depth and nuance in Rickson’s misfire.
By: Gordin & Christiano
Hedda Gabbler opened on Broadway January 25, 2009 at the American Airline Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street for a limited engagement through March 24. Tickets are available online at HYPERLINK "http://www.roundabouttheatre.org" www.roundabouttheatre.org or by calling 212-719-1300 or at the box office.