AUDIO: Mason student finds the human story in Ibsen classic

Mason Players tackles a more complicated yet human portrayal of "Hedda Gabler" (photo by Amy Rose).
Mason Players tackles a more complicated yet human portrayal of "Hedda Gabler" (photo by Amy Rose).

On Feb. 26, the free student preview for the Mason Player's first studio drama, “Hedda Gabler,” will be held in TheatreSpace.

The play is directed by Halah Zenhom, a senior theater major at Mason. In an interview with the director, provided in its entirety in the audio clip below, Zenhom explains the overarching message of “Hedda Gabler” and how she wanted to share the story with Mason audiences.

“Ibsen said in a letter to his French translator that he was not writing a play to deal with so called ‘problems’ but to deal with humans and human destinies, so I think this play is about people,” Zenhom said.

Henrik Ibsen's “Hedda Gabler” is indeed a story about humanity. Written in the late nineteenth century, the story is of a couple—Hedda Gabler and George Tesman—and how they deal with threats to their status, their financial security and their reputation. Taut with betrayals and disappointments, the play performs a violent dance as its characters are cast aside and twisted by themselves and by each other.

“For me it's been an exploration of understanding how different people deal with different problems,” Zenhom said, “and how you can legitimize that [ and how to] find ways of making all of that manipulative energy that so many of these different characters have not come across as [just] being vindictive.”

The play has been met with criticism since its first production in the late 1800s, which helps to keep the story relevant today over 100 years later.

Zenhom said that the play's continued popularity with theater audiences comes from the many twisted ways this play can and has been produced.

“Ibsen was the father of modern drama, and I think he still remains so today. His plays are not dated,” Zenhom said.

To see the Mason Players' production of the long-loved and ever-criticized Ibsen classic, “Hedda Gabler,” visit the Center for the Arts box office for free student tickets with your Mason ID. Showtimes are Feb. 27, 28, 29 and March 1 at 8 p.m. with additional shows on March 1 and 2 at 2 p.m.

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