Thursday, October 26, 2017

Some of the Characters in The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler  -  Newly married to George Tesman, she has less money and freedom that she's used to, and is bored with both marriage and life. A bright woman who is constrained by societal conventions, she is the daughter of the famous General Gabler.

Mammie - The devoted slave to Scarlett O'Hara and the O'Hara family in Gone With the Wind. Actress Hattie McDaniels portrayed in in the film and scored the first Oscar nomination and win for an actor of color.

George Tesman  -  Raised by his Aunt Julie, is an amiable, intelligent young scholar. He tries very hard to please his young wife, Hedda, and often does not realize that she is manipulating him. Tesman is hoping for a professorship in history and spent much of his recent honeymoon in the library doing research. His academic competition is Eilert Lovborg.

Medea - The title character of the Euripides. Based on the myth of Jason (of the argonaut and the golden fleece fame) and Medea, and particularly Medea’s revenge against Jason for betraying her with another woman, Medea is often considered Euripides’ best and most popular work and one of the great plays of the Western canon. It only won third prize when it was presented at the Dionysia festival in 431 BCE, along with the lost plays “Philoctetes”, “Dictys” and “Theristai."

Ejlert Lövborg -  A genius, and an alcoholic, Ejlert Lövoborg is Tesman's biggest competitor in the academic world. After a series of scandals related to his drinking, he was once a public outcast but has now returned to the city and has published a book to rave reviews. He also has another manuscript that is even more promising. Mrs. Elvsted helped him with both manuscripts. He once shared a close relationship with Hedda.

Other Characters:

From Hedda Gabler:

Juliane Tesman  -  Juliane Tesman, or Aunt Julie, is the aunt of George Tesman. After Tesman's parents died, Aunt Julie raised him. She is well-meaning, and she is constantly hinting that Tesman and Hedda should have a baby. Aunt Julie tries to get along with Hedda, but the difference in their class backgrounds is painfully apparent.

Judge Brack  -  He is a friend of both Tesman and Hedda, and he visits their house regularly. He has connections around the city, and is often the first to give Tesman information about alterations in the possibility of his professorship. He seems to enjoy meddling in other people's affairs. He is a worldly and cynical man and seems to be somewhat enamored of Hedda.

Mrs. Elvsted -  Mrs. Elvsted is a meek but passionate woman. As a girl she went to school with Hedda Gabler and was bullied by Hedda. She and her husband hired Ejlert Lövborg to tutor their children, and Mrs. Elvsted grew attached to Ejlert, acting as his personal secretary and aiding him in his research and writing. When Ejlert leaves her estate to return to the city, Mrs. Elvsted comes to town and goes to Tesman for help, fearing Ejlert will revert to his alcoholism.

Miscellaneous Other Characters in The Further Adventures: 

Cassandra - In Greek mythology, the daughter of Priam, the last king of Troy, and his wife Hecuba. According to Aeschylus’s tragic play, Agamemnon, Cassandra was loved by the god Apollo, who promised her the power of prophecy if she would comply with his desires. Cassandra accepted the proposal, received the gift, and then refused the god her favours. Apollo revenged himself by ordaining that her prophecies should never be believed. She accurately predicted such events as the fall of Troy and the death of Agamemnon, but her warnings went unheeded. During the sack of Troy, Ajax the Lesser dragged Cassandra from the altar of Athena and raped her. For this impiety, Athena sent a storm that sank most of the Greek fleet as it returned home. The rape of Cassandra by Ajax was a popular scene in Greek art. In the distribution of the spoils after the capture of Troy, Cassandra fell to Agamemnon and was later murdered with him.

Tosca - Floria Tosca, the title character from the Puccini opera. A tragic and political love story, Tosca explores how love overcomes all. In the end Tosca's lover is murdered and Tosca kills herself to avoid arrest for murdering the man who killed her lover.

Little Orphan Annie - The comic strip turned Broadway musical. A relentlessly optimistic orphan girl who is adopted by a wealthy single man and goes on adventures. In the musical, her signature song is "Tomorrow."

Jar Jar Binks - A reviled comical character from George Lucas's Star Wars prequel film The Phantom Menace. Known for his clownish movement and verbal ticks. 

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler: About the Playwright

Jeff Whitty is an American playwright and actor. Born in 1971 in Coos Bay, Oregon, Mr. Whitty got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon, and received a master’s degree in acting from NYU. Best known for his award winning musicals, Mr. Whitty wrote the book for Avenue Q, which won him the 2004 Tony Award for best book of a musical and best overall musical. He also wrote the libretto for Bring It On, the Musical which features music by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Locally, you might recognize his work because he wrote the libretto for the musical version of Armistad Maupin’s Tales of the City for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. The Futher Adventures of Hedda Gabler was commissioned by and world premiered at South Coast Repertory in January of 2006 and then played at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2008.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler: From The Director

You may be wondering: Do I have to know Hedda Gabler to follow this play?
If you can identify with wanting to make a change than the answer is no. It’s fascinating to think about the possibility of a place of nothing but stereotypes…and then tease them with the thought that they might actually be able to change. That’s the world of The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler and really all you need to know in advance.

Aside from the possibility of a fantastic drinking game (take a swig every time you see a new famous character. what can I say… this is how my mind works), the world created by The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler is way more important to us right now in the world than it might seem at first pass. Arguments around if we should place a modern sensibility to representations of history have never been more heated... or tragic. I think it’s in the absurd tone of this play that we are allowed a relatively easy access point to what might be described, at least in part, as the theatrical equivalent of Civil War era statues. It seems cringe worthy to say so. There’s no doubt its tough (as if often the case, who would have known when this particular play was selected that it would be so well timed?) but I think the pay off and insights that this work offers makes it worth it.

Lean in, engage and enjoy The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler: The Cast

DAMARIS DIVITO (Woman in Pink and Others) This native New Yorker is delighted to make her debut at the Dragon Theatre. Recent credits include In the Next Room (Elizabeth-Pear Theatre), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Cassandra-Palo Alto Players), Clybourne Park (Francine/Lena-Palo Alto Players), Boeing Boeing (Gloria-Palo Alto Players), The Color Purple (Squeak-Hillbarn), Lend Me A Tenor (Diane-Hillbarn) and Chicago (Murderess-Hillbarn). By day, she is a speech-language pathologist for students pre-k through High School. She deeply appreciates the support and love given to her by friends and family; Shawn, Jordan, Chloe & Madeline. 

JANINE EVANS (Their Neighbor and Others) Most recently seen here as Jenny in last winter's Dead Accounts and Meena in Rx in 2014, Janine proudly returns for her 9th show at Dragon. She has been eager to work with director Dale Albright and feels very fortunate to get to mix it up with this dedicated and daring group of actors. A Bay Area native with a BA in theater from Santa Clara University, she has worked at several local companies for the last 20 years including the Santa Clara Players, Palo Alto Players, Silicon Valley Shakespeare and Renegade Theatre Experiment. One of her favorite roles to date was Ivy in August Osage County at Pear Theater. Janine lives in Mountain View with her husband and two daughters. She thanks you for supporting the arts - specifically live theater. Enjoy!

JOSIAH FRAMPTON (Eilert Loverborg and Others) Josiah is excited to return to Dragon Theatre. He was just seen at San Francisco Playhouse where he went on for five different roles throughout the run of their production of La Cage Aux Folles. Before that Josiah worked at Palo Alto Players as Sir Robin in Spamalot, and he previously worked with Cabrillo stage in multiple productions including playing Manny/Freddy in Escaping Queens, Ensemble in The Full Monty, and Ernst in Cabaret. Josiah received most of his training on the job in addition to working with touring children’s theatre groups and coaching youth theatre games.

JUANITA HARRIS (Mammy) Juanita Harris is a musician/vocalist/actor who has been actively entertaining audiences around the Bay Area and internationally. A native of Sunnyvale, she is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and excels in myriad genres such as Jazz, R&B, Musical Theater, Gospel, Rock and Roll and Opera. She travels internationally to Austria and Germany to perform for UNICEF in many of the concerts and fundraisers they host around Europe. Onstage she has played in the musicals NunsenseNunsense II and Nunsense: With A TwistRagtimeCrownsThe CrucibleHairsprayAll Shook UpChicagoVioletGoing To St. Ives, and made her Directorial debut last year with the Tabard Theater Company directing and starring in the musical Crowns. 

TROY JOHNSON (George Tesman) Troy is thrilled to be back onstage at Dragon Productions and working with this amazing group of theatre artists.  Troy has been seen previously at Dragon Productions as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire. He also directed Dragon’s production of David Mamet’s November.  Other recent acting credits include Mr. Daldry in Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, Sean Kineen in Birds of a Feather by Paul Braverman, Colonel Pickering in Shaw’s Pygmalion, Johann Fasch in Itamar Moses’ Bach at Leipzig, and the Yankee in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, adapted by Diane Tasca, all at Pear Theatre, as well as Christy in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at Palo Alto Players.  Thank you for continuing to support live theatre.

CAITLIN PAPP (Hedda Gabler) Caitlin Lawrence Papp- Caitlin is delighted to be working with the Dragon Theatre for the first time. Past favorite roles include Anna in Truce: A Christmas Wish From The Great War (City Lights Theater Company), Milady in The Three Musketeers (Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Anne Hathaway in Beard Of Avon (Pear Theater), Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (Festival Theatre Ensemble) and Lana Sherwood in Its A Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Broadway By The Bay). Caitlin would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support, especially her two sons Nicholas and Andrew.

TYLER PARDINI (Steven and OthersTyler is thrilled to be a part of this production. Tyler has a BA in Theatre from Hofstra University. Acting credits Include: Pontius Pilate in The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot (Spectrum Players), Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing (Hofstra University Department of Drama and Dance) and Jeff in The Bridges of Madison County the Musical (South Bay Musical Theatre). Directing Credits Include: When The Rain Stops Falling (Cupertino Actors' Theatre) and Cabaret (Cupertino Actors' Theatre). Tyler would like to thank his very supportive family and his friends, Arcadia Conrad, Paola Zavala, Jona Nicklin, John Ramirez, and Victor Velasquez.

DANIEL ZAFER-JOYCE (Patrick and Others) This will be Daniel’s first return performance at The Dragon Theatre, having appeared last spring as Pirithous last Spring in Bridgette Dutta Portman’s Caeneus and Poseidon. Originally from Tennessee, Daniel has been a native of California for the last six and half years and has directed dozens of children’s theatre shows, taught workshops, film courses, and private coaching through the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre. Daniel’s background as an actor began in college. He gravitated towards roles and material that had something profound to say about the human condition. Some of his favorite roles included Orestes in The Oresteia, Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Bobby Strong in Urinetown. He received his BA in Theatre Arts from Middle Tennessee State and has been working professionally as an actor and director for the last decade. His work has taken him across the US and has included regional theatres and film everywhere from North Carolina to California. His work here has included children’s theatre state tours and a number of main stage roles with the Palo Alto Children’s TheatreHe’d like to thank his wife, Dia, for always inspiring him with her enthusiasm and own special brand of creativity.