☰ In This Section

Bethel Professor Debuts Original Play

Bethel Professor Debuts Original Play

Associate Professor Brent Adams’ original work is the theatre department’s spring play.

The Department of Theatre Arts recently premiered Hedda!, written and directed by Associate Professor Brent Adams.

In his presentation for PrimeTime in the BU LIbrary, Adams explained that the theatre department faculty rotates as director, and last year Adams started to think about what he’d like to do when it was his turn to direct this spring. A lot of work goes into preparing each season, and the department relies on external contingencies, such as  book availability and casting requirements.

With an itch to write, Adams chose to create something new. A fan of Henrik Ibsen’s classic play Hedda Gabler, Adams joined the story with a few other favorite elements: film noir and murder mystery. After months of character development and writing, Adams held draft readings with theatre alumni and friends. He revealed that these readings resulted in significant changes in the book, including the “who” of the whodunnit. And now at the production stage, he says, “The book is so much better because it’s coming to life.”

To add to his own creative twist, Adams’ story picks up where Ibsen’s ends, but moves the setting from 1890s Norway to 1930s Hollywood. The play begins with a crime and through a series of flashbacks, unravels an intriguing web of secrets among the characters, keeping the audience guessing. Quick wit, a few comical characters, and the glamor of the Hollywood era lighten the darkness of the theme. Adams incorporates some delightfully familiar Minnesota humor through the character of Aunt Julie.

“I was really inspired by the character of Hedda,” explains Adams. “She’s a strong woman with capacity, stuck in a man’s world.” While Ibsen’s play leaves no room for Hedda to fully express her strength, Adams’ use of a different era offers better opportunities for her. “There are still strong gender and scandal themes during the 1930s, but I felt the time shift would provide greater creative possibilities.”

“In terms of gender equity, we're still not there yet even today. With the play, I hope we will open hearts and minds to how we can best treat our sisters in Christ.” said Adams.

Hedda! runs for four more performances from April 29 through May 2. Find out more and order tickets.