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A Delicious Way to Honor Premiere of 'Hedda Gabler'

January 18, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

About 250 theatergoers indulged in a smorgasbord of treats in honor of the South Coast Repertory's premiere of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler."

Following the opening-night performance of "Hedda" at SCR's Mainstage in Costa Mesa on Friday, cast members and theater supporters gathered for champagne and a Scandinavian buffet at Tourneau, a South Coast Plaza jeweler specializing in Swiss watches. The party was open to SCR's Premiere Night subscribers who donate at least $1,000 a year to the theater.

A Woman of Substance

The crowd of theater buffs mingled outside Tourneau, sampling specialties such as stuffed onion rolls, salmon marinated in dill, pastry cookies and apple cake.

At one table, chefs made Swedish pancakes with marinated berries, flipping the crepes over an open flame. At another table, guests plucked chocolate-dipped strawberries from the branches of a chocolate tree.

When they weren't eating, party-goers ogled the diamond-encrusted Rolexes, discussed the play or chatted with the actors.

Lynnda Ferguson, who played the strong-willed and frustrated Hedda, showed up in a long rose-colored dress looking like the blond Norwegian beauty she portrayed on stage: "Once I got over the notion that she's tragic, I found that Hedda's a real hero. She's fighting to win," Ferguson said. "I see her as a very strong woman. If she were alive today she'd be Hillary Clinton."

Everyone's a Critic

Guests had their own interpretations of "Hedda Gabler."

"I love in-depth plays, and Hedda has so many facets to her character," said Barbara Roberts, an SCR board member who, with her husband, William, donated $25,000 to the production. "Ibsen's women are always very strong-willed."

Many spoke favorably of director David Chambers' contemporary additions to the play, such as projecting stark photographs on the set that mirrored Hedda's interior state of mind.

"I've never seen 'Hedda Gabler' performed like this," said Jerry Dauderman, a SCR subscriber for 16 years. "I liked the way (Chambers) brought in a bit of contemporary with the classical. But I was relieved it wasn't completely contemporary, with the long hair and the modern clothes."

Norwegian Consul General Anfin Ullern, who attended with his wife, Emmeline, sang the praises of Norway's native son.

"Ibsen is our most famous playwright," Ullern said. "He died in 1907, yet what he wrote about the problems between men and women are still problems today. We think he has much to tell us."

Among the guests were David Emmes, SCR artistic director; board president Tom Sutton, who attended with his wife, Marilyn; Swedish Consul General Peter Hammarstrom and his wife, Gorel; Larry Boland, director of store operations for Tourneau; Jim and Barbara Glabman, chairwoman of the Premiere Night series; George and Mille Griffith, Frank and Marilyn Lynch, Leon and Molly Lyon, Tom and Marilyn Nielsen, Dennis and Tami Parrott, Tom and Barbara Peckenpaugh, William and Hillary Price, Henry and Renee Segerstrom, Ron and Gail Soderling, and Martin and Jene Witte.

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