Hedda Gabler

by Henrik Ibsen
Director: Thomas Ostermeier

Translation into German by Hinrich Schmidt-Henkel

Hedda Gabler, the daughter of a general, has just married. Her husband Jörgen Tesman, an upcoming historian, is about to be appointed a professor. He thus borrowed some money to offer his demanding wife a life of prosperity and bought a mansion. His opponent, the handsome and more gifted Lövborg, was ditched by Hedda. Lövborg, who used to enjoy spending his time dulling his brilliant intellect with drugs in notorious clubs, was neither a financial nor a social promising perspective for Hedda. Pretty disillusioned, Hedda returns from her honeymoon just to learn that Lövborg has given up his dissolute life. He took her absence as an opportunity to write an outstanding cultural-historical book, which is highly acclaimed by the academic world and therefore makes Tesman’s promotion to professorship rather unlikely. Suddenly, Hedda’s whole life plan goes up in smoke. Against her inclination, she decided to live a life of bourgeois principles. Now that these principles no longer keep what they promised − i.e. economic security − she starts hating herself and her environment and runs amok: she unscrupulously mocks her husband, betrays him with a friend of the family, Brack, and torpedoes the relationship between Lövborg and Miss Elvsted out of jealousy; she burns Lövborg’s promising work, drives him back into his addiction and later into committing a suicide »in beauty«. With merciless, raging shrewdness, she attacks the oppressive good-naturedness, behind which people around her are hiding mediocrity and cowardice of life. By brilliantly using manipulation and lie, it takes her just one day and one night to dismantle that world dominated by career ambitions and fear of relegation. In the end, being part of the system, she becomes the target of her own destruction: she cannot break free from the prison she has built without destroying herself.
In his play, first staged at the Hoftheater in Munich in 1891, Ibsen shows an attack on bourgeoisie from the inside. Although it is difficult today to define the bourgeoisie as one single class with shared values, all the bourgeois desires and fears, which have been controlling, regulating and deforming biographies since the 19th century, are established in all financial social classes today. Fear of social decline has become our collective leitmotif. Once more, we are ready for the challenge and cheek of a Hedda Gabler.

Katharina Schüttler received the award »Actress of the Year« by the German theatre magazine »Theater heute« for her role in »Hedda Gabler« in 2006. The »Theatergemeinde Berlin-Brandenburg« (theatre community of Berlin-Brandenburg) elected Thomas Ostermeier's production of »Hedda Gabler« production of the season 2005/2006.


Author: Henrik Ibsen
Director: Thomas Ostermeier
Stage Designer: Jan Pappelbaum
Costume Designer: Nina Wetzel
Composer: Malte Beckenbach
Dramaturg: Marius von Mayenburg
Video: Sébastien Dupouey
Lighting Designer: Erich Schneider

Jørgen Tesman, private lecturer for cultural history): Lars Eidinger
Frau Hedda Tesman, his wife: Katharina Schüttler
Fräulein Juliane Tesman, his aunt: Lore Stefanek
Frau Elvstedt: Annedore Bauer
Judge Brack: Jörg Hartmann
Eilert Løvborg: Kay Bartholomäus Schulze

Duration: ca. 135 minutes

(no interval)

Premiered on 26 October 2005

Tour Dates

Paris (January/February 2006 and November 2012)
Caracas (April 2006)
Wiesbaden (May 2006)
München (June 2006)
Oslo (September 2006)
Kopenhagen (October 2006)
New York (December 2006)
Bozen (March 2007)
Lyon (March 2007)
Barcelona (May 2007)
Duisburg (May 2007)
Tel Aviv (June 2007)
Marseille (September 2007)
Bordeaux (March 2008)
London (March 2008)
Rennes (April 2008)
Amiens (July 2009)
Ottawa (November 2009)
Melbourne (October 2011)
Brest (November 2011)
Rouen (November 2011)
Paris (November 2012)
Rome (October 2013)
Shanghai (August 2018)
Hamburg (October 2018)