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Redwood Curtain's 'Tne further Adventures of Hedda GaD er ... · PDF file Adventures of Hedda Gabler; now playing at Redwood Curtain. Whltty's witty, ironic and bizarre premise begins

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  • Redwood Curtain's

    'Tne further Adventures of

    Hedda GaD er' is wacky fun

    BY am W188 TRAUTH For the Times·Standord:

    Although the wi Idly i nvenove playwright JeffWhitty is best known for his award-win­ ni ng, outrageous musical, "Avenue Q" an­ other of hiscreations is equalfy inventive, surprising and entertaining: "The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler; now playing at Redwood Curtain.

    Whltty's witty, ironic and bizarre premise begins right after the final scene of Henrik Ibsen's 18\Kl playwhen HeddahasshothtJ­ se� with one of hef favorite pistols (rather than waiting to die of boredom in her mar­ riage to George Tesman).

    But, before the tights come up to •start• the show, the audience hears Ibsen� char ac · ters "delivering the actual dialogue· of that famous scene; completewith off-stage gun­ shot. And� then Whitty's own show begins.

    lt seems that thefictional,suiddal Mrs.Tes­ man, aka Hedda Gabler, that the audience sees elegantly sp rawted out on the onstage sofa after doing herse!fin, "awakes"from her demise \/llithout remembering what she d1d

    FtOTO BY EVm WISi FHOTCGRA.fn'Y Kinmerly Haie 111d J1111es Hitchiodi i,pem- ill "The !Further Advenhres of Hedda GnYet" now pl,ynJ m Rehood Cwtnil.

    before she got there.Soi she's now trapped sonmcaijon as �ave-stereotype Mammy. tef" Jesus, and others; and Glee returns as in an endlesscyde of repeating her"without However, there are lots more. unexpected soothsayer Cassandra, L�tleOr�han Annie, change, as-written behavior'for as long as ·tamous· cameos played by many of the "God spell" Jesus and others. Saucy Monique her character is remembered by the public ensemble cast members who appear non- Smith shows up as the Woman in Pink, - unlike the multitudes of badly written stop. Before they do, thechronicallysuiddal1 Cleopatra, efertiti, Josephine Baker-like characters who never survive. Hedda deddes to"change• and be a "happy singer, a "feminist" television detective and

    Unfortunately, her f ro2en-i n-time scer,a r- person'to escape fom her eternal, �Ground- others. And her cameo African-American io (still stuck with George) will continue to hog Day" existence. But to do so, she's in· characters"shame"Mammy's stereotypical, take place in th is literary purgatory. It's The formed by her neighbor, Medea (a quite slave-to-white-masters character in such a Cul deSacforTrag:icWomen that �he shares unsettling Madison Glee), that she must way that she starts to question rf she (Dke with other notorious lao ies like her neigh- venture out and go to 'The Furnac� "where Hedda) should try and change, no matter bor, the murderous, Greek mother, Medea. allcreativitybegins and seek out Ibsen fora what the consequences.

    But;everytimethatHedda wakes up after re-write. Because, ifshe does it herse�. that Two key characters (called Patrick and killing herself, she's "waited on"by another means thataU of the other characters in the Steve), are the most over-the-top and bra­ undying, fictional chara cter- a novel and original scene, will disappearforever- and zenly endearing. Echoing the 1960's flam­ film character who is now her household so will she. boyant gay men from the play "The Boys servant Always there to clean up the mess In any case, Whitty has interwoven a wide in the Band� James Hitchcock and Steven and"takE' care'ofwhatever hernew,endless range of defiantly offensive (but subversive- J. Carter are fabulously funny. They exu­ "mistress"wants done is the instantly recog· fy funny) stereotypes of various, well-known berandy swish and lisp their way into the Mammyfrom"Gonewith the Wind' characters from stage, screen, science fie· audience's hearts with their omnipresent

    OK, now let's backtrack a bit Redwood tion, legends, plays, books, music and televi- martinis. But, underneath their characters' Curtain's Hedda is marvelously portrayed sion shows that come and go as suddenfy broadly played comedic facade lies a poi­ with sly arrogance by Kimber�Haile. T�er as those found in Wonderland. They are all gnantfeeling thattheywereaplaywright's Egerer matches her perfectly with his ironi· performed with tongue-in-cheek style by representation of "outsiders• in that par­ cally funny take on Tesman and Michelle MontelVanderHord Ill as Hedda's doomed ticulartime andplaceijust like Mammy)­ Pumell is spot-on in her bittersweet per· lover61ert Lovborg,lcarus, Hamlet "Carpen- stereotypes who eventually"led the way*

    July 12, 2016

  • to inspire changes for other characters that followed

    However, .in this scrlp� di rector Catherine L Brown makes sure that the serious satire is always balanced by the fast and furious laughs that keep on coming throughout th is zany production - made even more enjoyable by the wonderful, whimsical scenic (and lighting designs) so brilliantly conceived by Ray Gutierrez.

    Assisted by Tom Roscoe and Gary Som· mers, the set features soaring columns, crooked pictures on tne wall, an "Alice in Wonderland/Picasso" backdrop; a I ovely set of pefiod furnishings; and an intimidaUng gate into the fiery Furnace. There are also clever mobile pieces that include Medea's wingedchariotanda"cocktail party rarrying rowboat• (where oneofthe funniest scenes in the show takes place).

    Further contributing to the production's success are Laura Rhlnehart's challenging array of costume designs for the wide range of specific, famous characters. Hedda's gor­ geous, one-and-only period gown is worn from start to finish, while everyone else's different outfits roost makethem"instant� i&ognizable"(ifthey're characters like Doro· thyfromO�. Thanks to Rhinehart's sense-of­ st�e and humor, they a re.

    The sound design is by Kai Lassen (and

    although the show is not a "musical;there are a few, interesting songs performed by Pumell).The light and sound boards are run by Dominic Christenson and stage manage­ ment is handled by Juli Abshire.

    "The Further Adventures of Hedda Ga· bier• is loaded with wit and woooerful, sa· tiriral moments. B ut none better than when Hedda realizes that her inescapable, fiction­ al "life' has always been a play watched by an audience and portrayed by many other leading ladies. Just like this delightfully quirky production at Redwood Curtain!

    The run continues on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through July 28. There will also be Sunday matinees at2 p.m, July 1 Sand 22

    Tickets for the Friday, Saturday and Sun­ day performances are S 17, and on Cheap Night Thuf5days the price is two for $20. Fri­ day Focus night on July 13 features a post· show disrussion with the cast

    Tickets ran be reserved or purchased se­ curely on line at, orre�rvethem bycalling 707-443-7688or emailing [email protected],com.

    The intimate (BO seats) venue is located at220 First St. in Old Town Eureka,withthe main entrance through Snug Alley. Advance reservations are highly recommended and there is absolutely no seating after curtain.

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