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A “Timeless” Classic, Updated

The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre presents an updated version of Ibsen’s classic Hedda Gabler, a play that continues to engage directors, audiences and actors alike. The play runs from September 29 to October 8 at the Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street), NYC.

Director/translator Robert Greer sets Ibsen’s masterpiece in 1981 Norway, re-imagining the academic rivalry between George Tesman and Eilert Lovborg and re-conceiving the character of Hedda as a 1980s socialite. In Greer’s approach, the play is less a demonstration of the 19th century notion of the “new woman” and more a lesson on the destructiveness of professional competition. Essential elements are preserved while the dialogue is updated to modern parlance to support the modernity of Ibsen’s themes.

In Ibsen’s 1891 play, George Tesman is pitching himself for a professorship in the field of History of Science & Technology on the merits of his massive volume, “Brabant: Medieval Technologies and their Socio-economic Implications.” In Greer’s adaptation, Tesman’s work retains this dusty focus. However, his perennial academic rival, Eilert Lovborg, is about to come out with a much snazzier tome, predicting from contemporary scientific developments that personal computers will soon be found beside each fireplace and a network will imminently span the globe. Tesman and Lovborg are competing for the same professorial chair.

Tesman is living above his means: his young wife, Hedda, daughter of a general, is dangerously bored. She wants luxury but has no funds of her own. Meddlesome by nature, she has found herself with an odd psychic power over both Lovborg and his platonic helpmate, Thea. So Hedda is primed to eliminate her husband’s rival and ensure Tesman’s professorship, thus securing her own financial security. She manipulates Lovborg into a relapse of his alcoholism, during which he loses his paper’s typescript. It falls into her clutches and she burns it in her fireplace. These follies draw her inevitably to her end, as she lands in the power of the cynical and libidinous Judge Brack.

Shows are Thursday thru Saturday at 8:00 PM, matinees on Saturday 2:00 PM and Sunday 3:00 PM. General admission is $18, $15 seniors & students. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.