Hedda Gabler plays 19th century struggles out on the modern stage

Contemporary themes resonate as Ibsen's classic play returns to the Lyceum

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Hedda Gabler plays 19th century struggles out on the modern stage

Nicola Daley as Hedda Gabler

As with most classic playwrights, Henrik Ibsen's works endure because their motifs are rooted in reality – of human aspirations, longing and failings. Hedda Gabler is a fine example, as the titular character struggles with the constraints of being a woman in the 19th century.

As the Lyceum's award-winning Associate Director Amanda Gaughan explains, 'Richard Eyre has written a remarkable adaptation with the language both contemporary and viscerally bold, yet still set in the 1890s. We have real people who exist within a domestic situation and over the course of the 36 hours struggle to deal with life and death situations of addiction, loneliness and how to conform to the societal constructs of being a successful man or woman.'

Taking the title role is Nicola Daley, an actress who Gaughan has collaborated with before and whom she describes as 'a fierce and versatile actress. She has the ability to find a truthful response to a character that is constantly in an emotional flux and brings real strength and vulnerability to the role. As do all the cast.'

Gaughan adds: 'These characters are in conflict with maintaining these perceived societal ideals. I think it is highly interesting to look at how far we have moved forward in equality and what aspects we still have to address.'

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 20 Mar–Sat Apr 11

Hedda Gabler

A new version of Henrik Ibsen's famous play Hedda Gabler from Richard Eyre, which has been directed by Amanda Gaughan. Hedda's life looks respectable enough – she has a distinguished father, a reputable husband and a good home. In order to inject some excitement into her life, she finds that she must look to the lives of…

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