Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen updates the action of the play to the socially relevant climate of D.C.’s Georgetown, 1963. The production opens tonight and runs October 24 – November 23. Kecia Campbell plays Berta and shares here about the production and her character:
Here we go!
After roughly 2 months of rehearsals, we are in the final days of tech week. We are excited and ready to unwrap and present the wonderful gift of Hedda Gabler!
It has been an honor to be a part of a talented and terrific ensemble. It is a joy to watch everyone (cast and crew) bring 100 percent of their full hearts and souls to tell this story in a new way. This opportunity has been gratifying for me. I give special regards and thanks to Michael Avolio, Jack Sbarbori, Stephanie Mumford, and the rest of the Quotidian family for your creativity and fearlessness to try a new perspective and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the journey.
So what attracted me to this “joyful” production?
First of all, Hedda Gabler is a classic. Ibsen’s genius developed a story with a phenomenal, multidimensional female lead that is compelling. Some may agree that this is a rare find in theatre, unfortunately… even today. Not to mention the lack of produced work that share stories from an ethnically diverse viewpoint, which is another issue altogether, so I won’t digress further.
Second, mixing the dichotomy of Hedda characters’ “everyday life” choices in the story with our country’s complexities of the 1963 era (i.e., the tensions of the civil rights movement and the dawn of the modern women’s rights movement ) as a backdrop adds a terrific layer on how seemingly ordinary choices can lead to extraordinary consequences. As an actor, this dynamic added more wonderful opportunities to “play” that appealed to me.
So, how does Berta fit in with all this? I’m glad you asked.
During our table work and when reading research materials from our dramaturg, I came across one of Ibsen’s quotes about Hedda Gabler that really resonated with me.
“Jorgen Tesman, his old aunts, and the faithful servant, Berte, together form a picture of complete unity. They think alike, the share the same memories, and they have the same outlook on life. To Hedda they appear like a strange and hostile power aimed at her very being. In a performance of the play, the harmony that exists among them must be conveyed.”
I used this as the foundation for Berta Johnson. She supports that theme of family harmony and faithfulness.
I love Berta Johnson. I love her warmth, her sense of humor, her spunk, her courage, her sadness, her worries, her openness, her vulnerabilities, her and devotion commitment to family.
Michael’s adaptation, lovingly meticulous direction, and encouragement has truly helped me to develop Berta Johnson’s personal South Carolina (and subsequent migration to Washington, D.C.) family backstory, thoughts, opinions, and actions so that onstage Berta is a free and fully realized person. Berta doesn’t say much, but she is a powerful and loving presence in the family. Love is in the details — even the subtle ones! I am eager to do my best in every performance to share this aspect with the audience.
As a result, it is my hope and prayer that Hedda’s story will resonate with our audience, and they are edified in a positive way by the experience. I know I have been. Enjoy the ride!
Quotidian Theatre Company presents
by Henrik Ibsen
Oct 24 – Nov 23, 2014
The magnetic and mysterious Hedda, stifled by society’s conventions, has captivated audiences since she sprang from Ibsen’s imagination in 1890. Her perplexing machinations find the perfect home in Washington, D.C.’s politically-charged Georgetown of 1963 in this new adaptation by Michael Avolio.
This production, directed by Michael Avolio, features Katie Culligan as Hedda, Brian McDermott as George, Sarah Ferris as Thea, Francisco Reinoso as Judge Brack, Christian Sullivan as Elliott Lovborg, Laura Russell as Aunt Julia, and Kecia Campbell as Berta.
Show times are 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, November 22.
Tickets are $30 regular price, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students, and can be purchased by cash or check at the door, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by phone at 1-800-838-3006 ext 1 (ask for Quotidian Theatre Company). $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more (email for reservations). Subscribers, email QTC or call 301-816-1023 for reservations.
All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.
The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.