Working once again on Hedda Gabler to update page references and quotes so that they fit with the newest requirements, I’ve been enchanted once again by what a master Ibsen is. How in a few words from a character he’ll prepare you for the entry of another and give us a good idea of what makes that character tick too – he’s so succinct and subtle. Even just reading you don’t feel that there’s anything ham-fisted about what he’s doing. You are unaware of it – as unaware as a member of the audience would be. He never labours symbolism either [except maybe in The Wild Duck, which is a play I love, but where the symbol of the wild duck itself can be somewhat hammered home!] The symbol of Hedda and Loevborg both as loose cannons [no pun intended – well perhaps the smallest of intentions!] who might explode into violence at any time is wonderful, and her playing with the gun creates a physical tension as we realise how dangerously bored Hedda is. Oh I wish I could write like him!
As for Sophocles, well! I’ve nearly finished updating Antigone for the same reason and have been struck anew by the modernity of its themes now, in an age where religions and dictators impose their will on people, just as they did in Sophocles’ time. Antigone can be likened to so many courageous individuals who stand up for what they think is right without counting the cost to themselves and their own safety. Wow! It just goes to show that plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose. Sorry about lack of accents in the French – I haven’t mastered how to do that yet!
I’ll have finished Antigone in a couple of days and then Hedda and Antigone will be up on the website as updated downloads.