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Theatre Dept. press release    Date: 12/1/11 Bookmark and Share

Smith Theatre Presents Hedda Gabler

December 2-3, 8-10, 8 p.m., Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre, Mendenhall Center

A classic work for theatre, Hedda Gabler, by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, tells the story of Hedda, who, returned from her honeymoon, finds that her new life may not offer all she had hoped. Løvborg, a recovering alcoholic with whom she used to share intimate secrets, has returned, and threatens her husband’s academic career. Her best friend, Judge Brack, seems to want more from her than she is prepared to offer. As her world threatens to fall apart, Hedda tries to take control of her own future, no matter what it takes.

Smith theatre will open its production of Hedda Gabler, directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer, on Friday, Dec. 2, with performances December 3 and 8 through 10 at 8 p.m. in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre. The play was adapted by Jon Robin Baitz. For tickets ($8 adults, $5 students, and $3 Smith students) calling 413-585-2787 or email

Published in 1890, Hedda Gabler premiered in 1891 in Germany to initially negative reviews. Since its premier, the play has gained recognition as a classic of realism, 19th century theatre, and world drama.

The character of Hedda is considered by some one of the great dramatic roles in theatre—a “female Hamlet.” She has been seen in turns as an idealistic heroine fighting society, a victim of circumstance, a prototypical feminist, or a manipulative villain. “A more repellent personality would be hard to imagine, and yet Hedda Gabler is one of the eternal fascinators of the world stage," noted the New York Times. "Since she sprang from the imagination of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1890, this coldhearted anti-heroine has maintained a tight grip on the attention of audiences across the globe.”

Of his presentation of the play, Kramer says, “It's exciting to come at this play fresh. It can get a little buried under the mothballs of being a 'classic.' Critics used to like to debate whether Hedda is a victim, a villain, or a heroine. It's so much more interesting to see that she's human. We're staging the play with an intimacy that I hope brings audiences into Hedda's world."

Daniel Elihu Kramer teaches directing, acting and film studies at Smith. His play Pride@Prejudice was produced in 2011 by Chester Theatre Company, and was originally commissioned and produced by Available Light Theatre, where it won multiple awards as best new play in 2010. His first feature film, Kitchen Hamlet, a contemporary setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet, won multiple awards as an official selection at film festivals throughout the U.S. He received a 2007 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production for A Midsummer Night's Dream at Boston Theatre Works. In 2008, his production of The Pillowman at the Contemporary American Theatre Company received awards for Best Production and Best Direction.

Kramer is an Artistic Associate at Chester Theatre Company, where his directing credits include The Turn of the Screw (2011) and Gulf View Drive (2010). At Smith, he has directed Henry V and Polaroid Stories.

Kramer holds an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama and a BA from Haverford College, and is a member of the Society for Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) and the Dramatists Guild. He has been Artistic Director of Salt Lake Shakespeare, Associate Artistic Director of Spiral Stage, and Assistant to the Artistic Director of Circle Repertory Theatre.

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