Silent House Takes on Hedda Gabler

Silent House Theatre is back with another thought-provoking addition to its rapidly expanding catalog of successful productions. This time, audiences will fall prey to the puppeteering mind of 1890s Hedda Gabler as she schemes her way through a man’s world, playing by a man’s rules, while simultaneously exploiting and manipulating a man’s game from a woman’s perspective. This Victorian-era cautionary tale invites you to a game of chess where there are no winners, just a mastermind inching her way toward checkmate. 

Silent House’s production of Hedda Gabler premiered last weekend and concludes this weekend with performances from Friday, October 21, through Sunday, October 23, at Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theatre. 

A Renown Classical Drama 

Written by nineteenth-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen at the height of his career as one of his last realist plays, the acclaimed Hedda Gabler was widely performed across Europe following its world premiere in 1891 at the Königliches Residenz-Theater in Munich. This tragedy has proved to be a timeless tale, reenacted over and over in various places and cultures. Adding itself to the list of innovators who’ve brought this play to life, Silent House has big plans for its vision of Hedda Gabler

The entirety of the play takes place in the living room of the newlywed main characters, Hedda and George Tesman. Hedda, the daughter of General Gabler, married her husband out of desperation and quickly finds her life with him dull and tedious. All the characters are faced with a series of decisions, some maneuvering tactically and others emotionally, through the pressures of a societal hierarchy.

“It is undoubtedly a man’s society in the 1890s, and Hedda is from the confines of her home trying to control the man’s destiny,” explained director and Silent House cofounder Collin Selman. 

Commonly referenced as the “female Hamlet” or as a “feminist tale,” Silent House cast members agree that Hedda Gabler was the first play of its type.

Hedda Gabler is a cautionary tale,” said Jeannette Faye, who’s playing Hedda’s frenemy Thea Elvsted. “I think there are repercussions for your actions, how you go about your relationships, and how you treat others.”


Playing with Masterminds

To coincide with playwright Ibsen’s three-dimensional character Hedda Gabler, Silent House carefully considered how they could produce a personalized setting for the play that was representative of her. To that end, a chess board is painted on the center stage floor at Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theatre.

“This whole play is a game that Hedda’s playing,” explained Bradyn Braziel, Silent House’s other cofounder. “Everybody is playing different moves and trying things and different maneuvers in order to win. You’ll see who wins in the end.”

With a focus on characters rather than plot, Ibsen wields the power of “action behind the scenes” storytelling for audiences to understand the play solely through dialogue. Featuring an open-set concept of just one room, all the scenes take place in an increasingly claustrophobic setting that accentuates the subtleties of each character’s depth. The result? Instead of being overwhelmed by histrionic production values, audiences must embrace the actors’ nuances in bringing the story to life. 

The Silent House company collectively realized that setting the play in the Victorian era created its own challenges. Using these constraints to their advantage, they utilized dull-dark colors and a scrim that emits shadows to reinforce the theme of entrapment Hedda Gabler faces. Not only will the cast sense the increasingly foreboding feeling, but so will the audience, along with awe and shock as the story unfolds.

“If you have not seen an Ibsen play before,” said Ethan Trueman, who’s playing Eilert Lovborg, “you are in for a real treat.”

Coming Soon from Silent House

Silent House’s next show is the musical comedy Company, with a book by George Furth and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, that runs from November 11–13 through 18–20 at the Waco Civic Theatre. For its final show of the 2022 season, Silent House will present the classic holiday story A Christmas Carol for one weekend, December 9–11, that replaces the previously scheduled production of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Silent House also hosts “Silent House Stars,” a creative arts program on Saturdays from 10 am to 11 am for the special needs community. 


Come see Victorian tea—and blood!—get spilled at Silent House Theatre Company’s final performances of Hedda Gabler on Friday, October 21, through Sunday, October 23, at Mission Waco’s Jubilee Theatre.

Check out Waco Insider‘s cultural arts calendar so you don’t miss any upcoming theater productions.

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Runako Gee is a Waco, Texas, native who studied at the University of North Texas and obtained her bachelor’s degree in communication studies. She is a multimedia journalist with FOX 44 News and plans to utilize her journalism career to acquire a comprehensive literacy of the world and its people. She is also open to new experiences and is pursuing opportunities that will allow her to further her career goals.

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