Director Carrie Cracknell and actress Cara Horgan in conversation with Helen Taylor Robinson

Helen Talyor-Robinson, Carrie Cracknell and Cara Horgan on the set of Hedda

Photo: James Royall

Listen to the conversation

Listen to the Q&A session

Venue: Gate Theatre

Date: Saturday 20 September 2008

Director Carrie Cracknell and actress Cara Horgan talked to psychoanalyst Helen Taylor Robinson about Hedda, an adaptation of Ibsen\\'s Hedda Gabler by Lucy Kirkwood. The discussion focused on the process of reimagining Ibsen\\'s poignant masterpiece to reflect contemporary life.

Carrie Cracknell is Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre and of the theatre collective Hush. Her directing work includes The Sexual Neuroses of our Parents, I Am Falling, Armageddon, Stacy, A Mobile Thriller, Broken Road, Death and the City, The Hush, and Macbeth.

Cara Horgan has played a range of theatre, television and film roles. Her stage work includes The Lesson and Death and the Devil. Television roles include Jane Eyre, Fallen Angel, Green Wing and Peep Show. She has also appeared in several films including The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Photo: (L-R) Helena Taylor Robinson, Carrie Cracknell and Cara Horgon on the set of Hedda.




A thoroughly modern Hedda

Monday 29th September, 2008 | Posted by Caroline Graty

When director Carrie Cracknell and writer Lucy Kirkwood embarked on their reinterpretation of Ibsen\\'s Hedda Gabler, they faced an interesting challenge. Ibsen\\'s Hedda was trapped by the conventions of 19th century society, in which women had few options in life other than getting suitably married. Bringing Hedda to 21st century Notting Hill, where women are, arguably, free to make their own life choices, meant that the play’s premise had to shift.

Cracknell says, \\'What was interesting for me was the idea that Hedda had opportunity, she had freedom, she could do what she wanted... but that she couldn\\'t grasp that herself. So it becomes a play about a more internal set of limits, and about a woman who is in contrast to the men around her, who all seem to be able to find very strong journeys through life and a sense of purpose.\\'

This premise put the discussion, the first in Connecting Conversation’s partnership with the Gate theatre, firmly into the realm of psychoanalytic thinking. The speakers - and audience - discussed the development of the characters, their motivations, the thorny issue of Hedda’s sexual appeal and her inability to determine her own destiny.

Helen Taylor Robinson quotes Shakespeare, who, she says, prefigured the psychoanalytic notion of ‘psychic integration’, or the concept of the true and the false self, when he wrote, \\'This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow like the night the day, thou cans’t not then be false to any man.\\'

‘Our whole life is spent trying to work this one out creatively’, she says.