Context


Henrik Ibsen wrote Hedda Gabler in Munich in 1890, by which point he was firmly established as one of Europe’s leading contemporary playwrights. However the play‘s tragi-comedic depiction of the complex psychological state of a woman trapped in a dull, middle-class marriage baffled audiences and was universally condemned when it was first produced in Germany and Scandinavia. The play was produced in London for the first time in April 1891, with American actress Elizabeth Robins in the lead role, and was much more positively received. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the play has been subject to many different interpretations and/or directorial approaches thanks to the complex subtleties and hidden subtext woven in to the play. Many actresses have performed the title role, with Mary Louise Parker starring the 2009 revival on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre and Sheridan Smith in the 2012 production at The Old Vic Theatre in London. In 1975 a film version of the play was produced, Hedda, for which Glenda Jackson was nominated for an Oscar for her performance as Hedda Gabler.

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