“Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen
22-30 December 2014 and 1-4 January 2015
Upper Stage, Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens
“At last, an act!” The line / outburst belongs to the most stonily rigid, self-destructively solitary, painfully inert heroine in world theatre: Hedda Gabler. It certainly isn’t by chance that Ibsen’s masterpiece’s should take its title from the maiden name of its protagonist. Even though she marries the immature and socially and economically inferior Jørgen Tesmann, the fallen daughter of general Gabler would never let herself become Hedda Tesmann. The past, in the form of her unfulfilled love for the inspired and self-destructive academic, Ejlert Løvborg, will not lie quiet. Repressed desires, love triangles, the endless battle of the sexes, social hypocrisy, financial exchanges and blackmail are figure in a tumultuous plot which focuses on a society in crisis—a society like ours today.
The talented Michalis Konstantatos brings considerable experience gleaned during a distinguished film career to this collaboration with the charismatic Yota Argyropoulou, who plays the titular role. Together, they rework the play into a film script and transport it into the present day. An installation delimits a non-realistic environment and boxes in the players. In the role of Løvborg, Maximos Moumouris ignites the action… the countdown has begun. Who will be the last (wo)man standing?
An original idea was tried out during rehearsals: creative audience participation. A blog serving as the characters’ diary and a specially designed educational programme were employed to initiative a public dialogue about the work which shed a new and creative light on aspects of the directorial approach.
Direction: Michalis Konstantatos
Adaptation, dramaturgy: Yota Argyropoulou and Michalis Konstantatos
Set concept: Michalis Konstantatos
Movement: Iris Karayan
Sets & Costumes: Kenny McLellan
Assistant to the Set Designer: Charalambos Ioannou
Music design: Giorgos Sakellariou
Lighting: Giannis Fotou
Chief Electrician: Kostas Patramanis
Casting: Athens Casting
Dialogues Recording: Giannis Fotiadis
Special Effects: Solon Giannoutsos – SFX TRIEDROS
Set construction: ART REBEL
Blog administration / Camera: Giorgos Mpisdikis
Production Manager: Vassilis Panagiotakopoulos
Line Production: blindspot theatre group
1st Production Assistant: Irilena Tsami
2nd Production Assisant: Thanassis Kafetzis
With: Yota Argyropoulou, Vasso Kavalieratou, Maximos Moumouris, Christos Sapountzis, Yiorgos Frintzilas
Production: Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens
Press – Critics
Reviews published for the show «Hedda Gabler»
«Their Hedda Gabler that we saw last year at the Onassis Cultural Centre was one of the most remarkable performances of the new-generation artists and we surely picked it out. In their original version of a desert environment that they created, but also with the mature interpretation of the performers, Hedda Gabler of blindspot theatre group presented a quite different proposal of the play, giving us a talented collective group that seems to have quite original and auteur performances up in its sleeves».
«The idea of existential ‘encapsulation’ converses directly with the narrative technique of the performance• the central plot is being interrupted by videos that give us a deconstructed, urban image of the heroes which Ibsen himself suggests in the play. That means that Michael Konstantatos’ s cinematic reading of the play is completely justified, conversing with his own cinematic origins and discharging in points the psychological agony of the play.
The pale, sick image that is being transmitted through the stage-design is well interwoven with the whole tempo of the play and the performance of the actors. There is a rhythmic stability even at the highest climaxes of the plot, apparently in order to stimulate the feeling of nonchalance and existential resignation governing in the entire play. These materials are all being used and came forward by the protagonists of the show, even when the actors just creep silently in the sand. Well-trained in the role of Hedda Gabler appears Yota Argyropoulou. Mature, in self-control and dispassionate transmits the cynicism and cruelty of the heroine. […] All those elements together, lead to a very dynamic artistic finale – one the most imaginative peaks in performances we’ ve seen recently and it is surely worth remembering».
«The choice of Michael Konstandatos is to leave a passage in the sand so as a kind of whirlwind to pass through and cover all the urban surroundings at the beginning of the play, echoing intensely the littoral or the coastal atmospheres we meet at the plays The Lady from the Sea or The Wild Duck. It establishes, thus, a quite distinct stage version of intertextuality, placing in an aesthetic “damaged dollhouse” all the liquid characters of Yota Argyropoulou. The use of the “interviews” in the video are very effective in demythologizing the process of the case, while viewing also some scenes from the Alps is very sarcastic. The final scene of the sandstorm is remarkably integrated into the cinematic reading of the play, combined with the gradual dimming of the lights, which increased the depressive insulation of the performers into their stage “cocoon”».
Α separation between the stage and the audience, actors’ voices in microphones, hills and dust that makes the actor’ s job equally harmful as that of a stonemason… I decided to silence all my reservations and went to see the show. Yes, I liked Hedda Gabler by Konstandatos at the Onassis Cultural Centre – it had artistic form, rhythm, concept and very good actors.