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Ibsen's 'Hedda Gabler' to Be Presented March 31 at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: March 25, 2009

image from Hedda Gabler
"Hedda Gabler"

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Artists Series will welcome the Commonweal Theatre Company for a performance of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" March 31. The masterwork of modern theater will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

Based in the historic downtown of Lanesboro, Minn., the Commonweal Theatre is a collective of artists that brings years of training and a lifelong commitment to telling soulful stories with honesty and creativity. For more than a decade the company has celebrated the work of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), the father of modern drama, with its annual Ibsen Festival. The only theatre in North America with such a commitment, Commonweal has included UW-Eau Claire as one of only eight stops on a rare tour that will culminate in "Hedda Gabler" opening the 12th Annual Ibsen Festival.

"Hedda Gabler" (1890) is a dark psychological drama that explores the character of an idealistic, destructive woman who struggles with an existence that she finds devoid of excitement. Hedda has been held up as a powerful voice for women's rights and social hypocrisy, yet also seen as manipulative, dangerous and cruel. As a dramatic character, she has been called "the female Hamlet" for her psychological complexity. Audiences, artists and critics alike have made themselves dizzy debating the merits of Hedda as villain or victim.

"The best theatre, for me, mixes the comedy of human existence with the deep questions that keep us awake at night," said artistic director Harold Cropp. "In working on this play, we have been investigating the balance between that ironic sense of humor and the reality that the story demands. I'm also struck by the way in which our own personal myths hinder our ability to function in the reality that the world presents to us. ... What then to make of this story of an incredibly talented, gifted individual who, because of the status of her sex in society, is unable to realize personal fulfillment? Is Hedda a villain? A victim? You decide."

Tickets, available at the University Service Center in Davies Center, are $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Tickets for students are half-price until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student-ticket price.

Tickets for all campus events also are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The Haas Center ticket outlet is open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is closed during holidays and academic breaks.

Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of the UW-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

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JS/NW

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