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Hedd Butt

March 1, 2007

Been catching quite a bit of flack for my review of A.C.T.'s Hedda Gabler. I don't normally come down on actors with quite such venom, but it's got to the point where I feel San Francisco's flagship theatre can no longer get away with giving its audiences such unbridled mediocrity. There's no excuse for staging Hedda Gabler without a charismatic leading lady. Not all Heddas are great Heddas, but the "female Hamlet" should at least have some stage presence. Rene Augesen, bless her, was constantly upstaged in the production -- by the set, by her fellow actors, and even by the pleats in her culottes.

One of the most overly-flamboyant performances was by Jack Willis. As the drama's Alpha male Commissioner Brack, Willis' character is supposed to ooze the charm and power of a sexual predator. But he plays the role like someone who's be more interested in bedding Hedda's bookworm husband Tesman than the lady of the house.

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