Kecia Campbell on HEDDA GABLER | Quotidian Theatre Company

Kecia Campbell

Kecia Campbell

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of  Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen updates the action of the play to the socially relevant climate of D.C.’s Georgetown, 1963. The production opens tonight and runs October 24 – November 23. Kecia Campbell plays Berta and shares here about the production and her character:

Here we go!  

After roughly 2 months of rehearsals, we are in the final days of tech week. We are excited and ready to unwrap and present the wonderful gift of Hedda Gabler!

It has been an honor to be a part of a talented and terrific ensemble. It is a joy to watch everyone (cast and crew) bring 100 percent of their full hearts and souls to tell this story in a new way. This opportunity has been gratifying for me. I give special regards and thanks to Michael Avolio, Jack Sbarbori, Stephanie Mumford, and the rest of the Quotidian family for your creativity and fearlessness to try a new perspective and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the journey.

So what attracted me to this “joyful” production?

First of all, Hedda Gabler is a classic. Ibsen’s genius developed a story with a phenomenal, multidimensional female lead that is compelling. Some may agree that this is a rare find in theatre, unfortunately… even today. Not to mention the lack of produced work that share stories from an ethnically diverse viewpoint, which is another issue altogether, so I won’t digress further.

Second, mixing the dichotomy of Hedda characters’ “everyday life” choices in the story with our country’s complexities of the 1963 era (i.e., the tensions of the civil rights movement and the dawn of the modern women’s rights movement ) as a backdrop adds a terrific layer on how seemingly ordinary choices can lead to extraordinary consequences. As an actor, this dynamic added more wonderful opportunities to “play” that appealed to me.

So, how does Berta fit in with all this? I’m glad you asked.

During our table work and when reading research materials from our dramaturg, I came across one of Ibsen’s quotes about Hedda Gabler that really resonated with me.

“Jorgen Tesman, his old aunts, and the faithful servant, Berte, together form a picture of complete unity. They think alike, the share the same memories, and they have the same outlook on life. To Hedda they appear like a strange and hostile power aimed at her very being. In a performance of the play, the harmony that exists among them must be conveyed.”

I used this as the foundation for Berta Johnson. She supports that theme of family harmony and faithfulness.

I love Berta Johnson. I love her warmth, her sense of humor, her spunk, her courage, her sadness, her worries, her openness, her vulnerabilities, her and devotion commitment to family.

Michael’s adaptation, lovingly meticulous direction, and encouragement has truly helped me to develop Berta Johnson’s personal South Carolina (and subsequent migration to Washington, D.C.) family backstory, thoughts, opinions, and actions so that onstage Berta is a free and fully realized person. Berta doesn’t say much, but she is a powerful and loving presence in the family. Love is in the details — even the subtle ones! I am eager to do my best in every performance to share this aspect with the audience.

As a result, it is my hope and prayer that Hedda’s story will resonate with our audience, and they are edified in a positive way by the experience. I know I have been. Enjoy the ride!

~Kecia Campbell

Hedda Gabler w textQuotidian Theatre Company presents
Hedda Gabler
by Henrik Ibsen
Oct 24 – Nov 23, 2014


The magnetic and mysterious Hedda, stifled by society’s conventions, has captivated audiences since she sprang from Ibsen’s imagination in 1890. Her perplexing machinations find the perfect home in Washington, D.C.’s politically-charged Georgetown of 1963 in this new adaptation by Michael Avolio.

This production, directed by Michael Avolio, features Katie Culligan as Hedda, Brian McDermott as George, Sarah Ferris as Thea, Francisco Reinoso as Judge Brack, Christian Sullivan as Elliott Lovborg, Laura Russell as Aunt Julia, and Kecia Campbell as Berta.

 Show times are 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, November 22.

Tickets are $30 regular price, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students, and can be purchased by cash or check at the door, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by phone at 1-800-838-3006 ext 1 (ask for Quotidian Theatre Company). $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more (email for reservations). Subscribers, email QTC or call 301-816-1023 for reservations.

All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.
The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Sarah Ferris on HEDDA GABLER | Quotidian Theatre Company

Sarah Ferris

Sarah Ferris

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of  Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen updates the action of the play to the socially relevant climate of D.C.’s Georgetown, 1963. The production opens Friday and runs October 24 – November 23. Sarah Ferris plays Thea Elvsted and has this to share about the complexity of her character and the play’s universal themes:

Being a preschool teacher, I’m always trying to find ways for my kiddos to connect; I want to encourage a connection with their friends, with their teachers, with their activities at school, with their own feelings and the feelings of those around them. And every day we sit in a circle, criss-cross-applesauce, and connect. So when they’re asked a question (it’s nice when they raise their hands to answer it, but when they don’t, that’s okay too) it usually goes something like, “Oh! I went to my grandma’s this weekend!” “Oh, me! Me! Me too! I went to my grandma’s, and saw my grandma and grandpa and played Pokemon!” “Oh! I like to play Pokemon! I love Pikachu!” “Hey! Pikachu starts with P like my name!” These associations would probably go on all morning long if the kids had it their way. Because just like us adults, they couldn’t help themselves! All my kids sit around and relate to one another through their stories and the shared experiences they’ve had so far in their little lifetimes. And when they find common ground, they are always so excited to continue to talk about it. They can’t get enough of it. And those moments, to me, feel like magic.

So in one of our very first read-throughs of Hedda Gabler, our director Michael Avolio asked all of us if we had experienced a time in our lives where we felt oppressed, trapped, stuck in a situation that we couldn’t get out of. What I remember about that moment was something like Michael essentially asking everyone to raise their hand (or maybe just head-nod) if they could relate to those feelings. I don’t know if that’s exactly how it happened, or if I only remember it that way because that’s what I do with my kiddos, but regardless of how we were asked the question, every single one of us could in fact relate. This experience is universal. And how incredible it is to dive head first into a character like Thea, whose seemingly naïve persona causes those around her to doubt her strength and resilience. Even at times her intelligence and will. But what I have found is that she is truly a remarkably strong, brave, and inspirational young woman that I have fallen in love with. Continue reading

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Stephanie Mumford on HEDDA GABLER | Quotidian Theatre Company

Stephanie Mumford

Stephanie Mumford

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of  Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen updates the action of the play to the socially relevant climate of D.C.’s Georgetown, 1963. The production runs October 24 – November 23. Quotidian co-founder, frequent actor, and resident costume designer Stephanie Mumford suggested the new setting, and writes here about how it suits Ibsen’s play. (This piece can also be read at DC Metro Theater Arts.)

Quotidian Theatre Company’s new season takes off with an updated version of Ibsen’s classic Hedda Gabler. “Onstage for almost every moment of the play — fruitlessly directing the action around her in an attempt to garner some control over her own constrained life — Ibsen’s Hedda is the archetypal trapped woman, a general’s daughter consigned by her own upper-middle-class domestic ambitions to marriage with a dull academic who cannot match her intensity, depth, and intelligence,” according to New York Magazine’s Matt Dobkin. Continue reading

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Don Slater on HEDDA GABLER | Quotidian Theatre Company

Don Slater

Don Slater

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of  Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen updates the action of the play to the socially relevant climate of D.C.’s Georgetown, 1963. The production runs October 24 – November 23. Quotidian’s resident lighting designer Don Slater reflects on the project:

As we enter October, I find myself in the familiar position of planning the lighting for Quotidian Theatre Company’s fall show. Continue reading

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Quotidian Wishes Theater Lobby Actress, Champion of Small Theaters Jean Scott a Speedy Recovery | Quotidian Theatre Company

The Veil ensemble panorama

Jean Scott, who several years ago was presenting Theater Lobby awards at The Writer’s Center, severely injured herself there during Quotidian Theatre Company’s July 27th performance of Conor McPherson’s The Veil. We all wish her the best and a speedy recovery!

From the 1950s to 1972, Jean acted with D.C.’s Theater Lobby, which after its close became the champion of other small, non-profit theater companies from 1987 to 2006 by bestowing awards upon local actors, directors, designers, and other small non-profit theaters at an annual ceremony. In 1993, the Theater Lobby honored me, Stephanie Mumford, with its Mary Goldwater Award. It was one of the most meaningful recognitions of my theater career. I will never forget it. Continue reading

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The Veil closes Aug 17! | Quotidian Theatre Company

Veil 1 Post

Veil 2 MDTG

Veil 3 DCTS

Veil 4 BWW

Veil 5 DCMTA

The Veil w textQuotidian Theatre Company presents the U.S. premiere production of
THE VEIL
by Conor McPherson
July 18 – August 17, 2014

The New York Times calls Conor McPherson “the finest playwright of his generation”. Set in a haunted mansion in rural Ireland in 1822, surrounded by a restive, starving populace, The Veil weaves Ireland’s troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental, and the circularity of time.

Featuring Christine Alexander, Michael Avolio, Jane Squier Bruns, John Decker, Steve LaRocque, Chelsea Mayo, Stephanie Mumford, and Michele Osherow. Directed by Jack Sbarbori.

All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD. The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, August 16.

Subscribers, please contact quotidiantheatre@comcast.net or 301-816-1023 for reservations.

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The Veil’s soundtrack | Quotidian Theatre Company

 

Sarah Foard at Glen Echos Creek

Sarah Foard at Glen Echo’s Creek

Quotidian Theatre Company presents the US premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Veil, now through August 17. 

***

Violinist and Fiddler Sarah Foard Creates Her Own Sound for The Veil 

My violin instructor at the Levine School of Music, Sarah Foard, is not only the best violin teacher I have ever had, but an accomplished fiddle player who plays professionally with the Sligo Creek Stompers and other groups. Since beginning work with her a few years ago, she has been very kind to find the time in her busy schedule to perform with QTC, first in James Joyce’s The Dead as “the red-wigged fiddler,” the nickname she aptly came up with for her character, and most recently, at QTC’s May fundraiser with the other members of the Sligo Creek Stompers.

Sarah Foard (L) in James Joyce's The Dead

Sarah Foard (L) in James Joyce’s The Dead

So, when QTC wanted original renditions of standard Irish tunes for The Veil, I once again turned to Sarah, who worked her magic to create the haunting melodies we were seeking. I asked Sarah to write a couple of paragraphs about her process…

The music chosen for The Veil is an array of haunting and powerful Irish ballads. I was quite excited to learn this new repertoire on the violin and have the opportunity take the pieces to new places through the recordings used in Quotidian Theatre Company’s production.

For several of the pieces, I recorded multiple tracks, layering drones* and original harmonies under the melody. This gives the music an orchestral sound, yet because of the drones it maintains its roots in the Irish tradition. In the song “Fanny Power,” I used a theme-and-variation approach, and in “Lament for O’Donnell” and “The Coulin”, I decided to play them a cappella with only the melody voice and no harmonies, giving the songs a lonely and sparse feel.

*In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of a piece.

You can hear and purchase the soundtrack to The Veil here.

Sarah’s stunning rendition of “Trip to Sligo/Sligo Creek/Sligo Maid” is here.

Sign up to take lessons with Sarah at either the Levine School or her Arlington-based studio, L’Adore.

~Stephanie Mumford

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The Veil w textQuotidian Theatre Company presents the U.S. premiere production of
THE VEIL
by Conor McPherson
July 18 – August 17, 2014

The New York Times calls Conor McPherson “the finest playwright of his generation”. Set in a haunted mansion in rural Ireland in 1822, surrounded by a restive, starving populace, The Veil weaves Ireland’s troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental, and the circularity of time.

Featuring Christine Alexander, Michael Avolio, Jane Squier Bruns, John Decker, Steve LaRocque, Chelsea Mayo, Stephanie Mumford, and Michele Osherow. Directed by Jack Sbarbori.

All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD. The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, August 16.

Subscribers, please contact quotidiantheatre@comcast.net or 301-816-1023 for reservations.

xxxxxxxxxxxx in The Veil

From left: Michele Osherow, Jane Squier Bruns, Stephanie Mumford, John Decker, and Steve LaRocque in The Veil. Photograph by St. Johnn Blondell.

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