Hedda Gabler and Our Country’s Good

I’m now half way through updating Hedda Gabler to comply with the edition specified by Edexcel – the translation by Richard Eyre, published Nick Hern Books. Since I’d already written a full resource on it using two other editions [Methuen and Penguin] this simply means adding page references from this latest edition and, where necessary – since it’s a translated play – new wording to the quotations I use. It does not mean that if you are using the script for AQA or another exam board you will have any difficulty; I have simply added the NHB version to what I already have. This and Our Country’s Good will be ready very soon as downloads or hard copy with these revisions. Keep an eye on the blog page. Our Country’s Good, though the new specification quotes the ISBN number for the Methuen Student edition, is using the same imprint text-wise. The page numbers of the play text are identical.

As soon as I’ve finished Hedda, it’ll be the turn of Antigone, again adding the wording and Page numbers from the Don Taylor translation specified by Edexcel to the resource I’ve already written. And as for Hedda, if you’re working from another edition for another board [e.g. OCR or AQA both of whom have the play on their lists] you will still be able to find your way around using the edition you have before. Yerma will be the last I have to trawl through in this way before starting on entirely new text resources. I shall be a very busy bunny for the foreseeable future!!

Working on Hedda again I am struck anew by Ibsen’s amazing craftmanship. How concise he is at preparing the way for a new character through just a few comments made by other characters. How he can hint at a wealth of subtext with so few words, or by a character floundering, or through punctuation. How the funeral parlour feel of the house, filled to the brim with too many flowers, acts as a symbol for Hedda’s feelings of being stifled, her death-in-life, her boredom. How potent a symbol the gun that Hedda plays with so dangerously is for her character, which is destructive to others and ultimately to herself. He is wonderful, lending himself to the Naturalism of Stanislavski, but equally to more symbolic interpretations. It’s a pleasure to be revisiting it.

New A level specs

I’ve been reading all the new specs with interest, and of course with a view to plugging some holes in my list of playtexts through practice. I’m pleased to see that some texts are the same [and in the right editions.] For Edexcel, Dr Faustus, Lysistrata and Woyzeck are already done using the proscribed editions and for AQA, Antigone, Hedda Gabler and A Servant to Two Masters are already in place. I have written resources for Yerma and Our Country’s Good already, but the editions differ. I have already ordered the right ones and will alter the page references etc accordingly. For Edexcel My Hedda will also be altered to match the edition required – [I suspect that’ll be the edition many AQA teachers will also be using.] All these changes will be in place very soon; I have bought the new editions and am working on them as we speak. For OCR there are also a number of playtexts through practice in place already: Oh What a Lovely War!, Antigone and The Crucible are available already.

I will try to get three more resources done before September [and of course more still after that, but I’m only human. Three is realistic!]  I shall start with Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Cloud Nine and Glass Menagerie. Next on the list [i.e. all being well by Christmas] will be Metamorphosis, followed by Equus and the Caucasian Chalk Circle in the following year. I’d like to be able to promise more by the end of the first year, but I suspect that would be superhuman. If you have any comments on these choices, please e-mail me: [email protected] or contact me through facebook or twitter under my name – Jeni Whittaker – rather than Dramaworks