The Theater Project Continues to Inspire

When I see a great play, I want to shout from the mountaintops for all to hear how wonderful it is, hoping that everyone goes to see it for themselves and has the chance to experience what I did. How do I talk about it, though, without revealing the marvelous moments sprinkled throughout the story, without giving away the delightful developments that unfold during the two acts of theatrical entertainment? Such discovery, after all, is part of the magic. I will put my caution aside and take a shot at letting you all know about the excellent production of The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, a comedy by Jeff Whitty, because everyone who loves live theater, everyone who has ever been emotionally connected to a fictional character on stage or screen, everyone who has appreciated how the creative arts have the power to unveil the many facets of human nature, should run to see this play presented by The Theater Project at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Audiences don't necessarily need to know anything about Henrik Ibsen's classic drama to appreciate this over-the-top look at fictional characters from theater, television, and film, seeking their purpose and eventually their creator, in an effort to alter the cards they've been dealt, to escape the rut of repetition that their literary lives have become. If theatergoers are familiar with Hedda Gabler, Medea, Cassandra, and a lineup of other characters, they will earn even more enjoyment from the metafictional storyline.

Directed by Mark Spina, the talented cast does an exceptional job of delivering the punchlines as well as the more serious scenes. Liz Zazzi and Gary Glor offer strong portrayals of Hedda and Tesman, and their supporting players are spectacular in a stream of multiple roles. Rick Delaney is impressive, making each of his diverse parts (Medea, Jesus, and Eilert Lovborg) distinctive and enthralling. Rasha Jay takes the stereotypical Mammy from Gone with the Wind and transforms her into one of the most intriguing characters I've seen on stage in a long while. Jason Gillis and Dennis DaPrile do the same with their energetic portrayals of Patrick and Steven from The Boys in the Band. Rachelle M. Dorce and Barbara Guidi show their wide range through a multitude of different characters from various time periods of storytelling history.

Beneath the laughs (and there are many), The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler delivers two very powerful messages -- that humans in the real world have the ability to change, but most importantly, to recognize and embrace those insurmountable aspects of their lives that are beyond their ability to change.

It's a thought-provoking play that everyone should make an effort to see. I'm sure that once they do, I will be joined on the mountaintop, shouting for others to come see it as well.  Remaining performances are Friday evenings, September 28 and October 5 at 8 p.m., Saturday matinees, September 29 and October 6 at 2 p.m., Saturday evenings, September 29 and October 6 at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees, September 30 and October 7 at 2 p.m.  Tickets are available at the box-office and online


Rasha Jay said…
Thank you so much Nick! My name is Rasha Jay but I'll take Rasha Ray...sounds better, actually! :)
Risa said…
I saw it Thursday evening and thoroughly agree! What a theatrical night. The story was engrossing; the cast was amazing. This was theater at its best.
Nick said…
Rasha, I'm so sorry I misspelled your name! I fixed it. Amazing performance.