Hedda GaD er' is
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
niz.able 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
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 www.redwoodwrtain.com,
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.