Oppression, gossip and Hedda Gabler

A futuristic take on the classic play about Victorian marriage.

Margaret Legere as Hedda.
Margaret Legere as Hedda.

There's nothing warm and fuzzy about Hedda Gabler. In fact, the titular character in Ibsen's 1890 drama about a spirited young woman trapped in a boring marriage is sly, cruel and totally self-involved. But according to actor Margaret Legere, that doesn't mean the character is not relatable, and perhaps even a teensy bit likeable.

"She is a difficult character," admits Legere, who is portraying Gabler in the Head First production of the play on now at The Bus Stop Theatre. "It's not easy for people to like her. She's not motherly. She's not sweet. She's, well, she's complicated.

"But I've always kind of identified with her, to be honest. I admire how she pushes back against oppression."

This production sets the play 100 years from now in the year 2116. It combines the fashion of the 1890s with the latest technology, in order to create a world of "outward oppression and secret manipulation."

So, how does this futuristic setting actually give Gabler something to push back against? After all, there's no question women were confined by strict gender roles in the Victorian era when the play was written. But have things changed at all for women in this imagined future?

"In the high society that she lives in, people constantly gossip and talk about her," Legere explains. "When you add technology, it gives people the ability to follow each other 24 hours a day. It's omnipresent and repressive."

In this social-media-obsessed age, that alone should make it easy to relate to Hedda Gabler.

Hedda Gabler
Thursday-Friday, February 11-12, 8pm
Saturday-Sunday, February 13-14, 2pm and 8pm
The Bus Stop Theatre 2203 Gottingen Street

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