Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Henrik Ibsen liked to close his plays with a bang: the slamming door in Doll's House; a pistol shot in Hedda Gabler. Nora in Doll's goes off to find herself. But what about suicidal Hedda? According to Jeff Whitty's screwball, puddle-deep, sometimes funny Further Adventures, Hedda's stuck in a literary limbo, where fictional characters must remain until forgotten.

And remain as they were. And repeat their past. "You must believe that you will make your peace someday," one says, "though you never will."

So Medea must re-murder her children. Or ascend to Mt. Olympus? Which? (here and elsewhere, the device breaks down; the playwright prefers the superficial to a clean and sturdy case).

Hedda's been in the Cul-de-Sac for Tragic Women over a century. She's waited on my Mammy, the stereotyped slave-servant from Gone With the Wind ("dreamed up by a white lady"). Hedda wants to change her fate so people will remember as a happy person.

But according to the play - and to Denis de Rougement, who said "happy love has no history" - she'd be soon forgotten.

Hedda decides to convince Ibsen to change the ending. To do that, she must take the dark and rocky path to the Furnace of Creativity (or some such) and have it out with Ibsen.

She and Mammy run into "forgettable" people, some of whom die before our eyes, and immortals: cursed Cassandra of Troy, Medea, two pre-Stonewall, self-loathing gay men (a la Boys in the Band), Tosca (after leaping to her death), even different versions of Jesus.

Somehow in the cauldron of creativity things change, or don't, or shouldn't: stereotypes get justified, and the play ends by wanting to provoke thought. But the more you think about it, the flimsier it becomes.

Diversionary Theatre and director Matt McGrath are probably giving the script its best shot. Cast Jacque Wilke as Hedda, Yolanda Franklin at Mammy, and Shana Wride in several roles - three of San Diego's most versatile actors - and they'll score points even when the play's wide of the mark.

Add a capable supporting cast, wearing Shirley Pierson's excellent costumes and flashy, uncredited wigs, Michelle Caron's eerie lighting, and Matt Scott's mystical, minimalist set and the production gives a sense that there's more there than is there.

The play has funny lines. And the playwright's good at arch attitudes. But he cartoons his characters and makes jokes at their expense.

Now I'm as irreverent as the next person - maybe more so, I suspect - but Further Adventures plays fast and loose with agony. Cassandra, for example, really suffered (disbelieved, raped, enslaved, slaughtered and left with her eyelids unclosed, which condemned her to a brutal afterlife). Whitty's portrait belittles her suffering, and Medea's, and Tosca's so much its clear he'll do anything for a laugh.


Diversionary Theatre, 4545 Park Boulevard, University Heights, playing through April 28.

More like this:

Comments
1

six characters in search of.... still, I do like the premise -- has me curious about what Hedda might have to say to Strindberg -- although she seemed perfectly happy being unhappy in his version of such a story -- kudos to Diversionary for at least a new perspective --

April 20, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close