Old, devilishly hot Henrik Ibsen wrote "Hedda Gabler" in 1890.
This early-modern play still shocks audiences. Anyone who loves theatre should catch this rare revival in the Rio Grande Valley on March 4-8.
Alexandra Garza stars in the title role as a rich woman who combines beauty, malice and danger with a will of steel. Her performance is exceptionally good. A UTPA student, she plays a much older woman full of problems and ego.
It starts with a lot of humor — but hold onto your cellphone for the final scenes.
One amusing moment comes when Hedda just sniffs when asked whether she liked her recent honeymoon, which lasted a full six months, due to her riches. Then her husband, a wimpish history professor, neatly played by Rick Rosales, arrives and tells everyone what a lovely time they had on that same honeymoon. Eyebrows agitate.
Rosales proved an excellent foil to face a dominant wife with her riches.
Jonathan Dimas pulls out all the stops, as in a role like Marlon Brando’s in a later century. He plays a wild-eyed writer, another type still active on college campuses.
Edgar Ituarte nails a weird role as Judge Brack, an apparently nice guy, who proves ready to take advantage of (to put it mildly) the title character, Hedda.
Katherine Schroeder, who has appeared on New York stages in the past, makes a triumphant return to the Valley stage playing the oldest role, Juliana Tesman, in this classic. A McAllen resident, she radiated her professional stage experience as the most real of these unusual characters that ring so true in this show.
Billie Padilla also proves herself a real actress as a muddled woman, treated badly. Ibsen, much like Shakespeare, gave every actor an identity and some good lines.
Patty Moreno starts the action well as Berta, the maid, and shows how badly they were treated in that era.
Much credit goes to Director Eric Wiley, Costume Designer Stephanie Hawks and Set and Lighting Designer Tom Grabowski, plus the English adaptation by Doug Hughes.
The Norwegian Ibsen has been called the father of modern drama, and the best playwright since Shakespeare. This complex tragedy (with humor and wit) proves he is one of the world’s greatest playwrights. Born in 1828, he died in 1906.