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Desperate Housewives of the 19th Century

She’s beautiful, she’s tormented … she’s Hedda Gabler. Julia Ubrankovics, who shined in her cameo in Hawaii Pacific University’s last production, the highly relishable The Good Doctor, plays the prized title role in HPU’s current production. Under the direction of Joyce Maltby, Ubrankovics has fashioned a character from Henrik Ibsen’s 1891 script that both fascinates and repels.

Ennui pulses through her veins, simmering to the surface in her movements and facial expressions. The scenes are long and the characters never quite seem to connect, but perhaps that’s the point. Gabler is an attractive woman fettered by the mores of society and entrenched in a hopelessly dull marriage.


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Julia Ubrankovics and Catherine Leskovec. Photos from HPU's Paul and Vi Loo Theatre

Just the sight of her well-meaning but simplistic husband (Tony Nickelsen as George Tesman) nettles her like nails on a chalkboard. She’s more drawn to a previous flame, handsome and creative Eilert Lovborg (Nick Barnum). Jealous of the success Lovborg, a newly avowed teetotaler, has found with his current muse and mistress (Catherine Leskovec as Thea), who happens to be married, Gabler manipulates the situation to tragic ends.

The role of Hedda Gabler has been compared to a female Hamlet, though it seems to bear more of a shade of Othello’s cause-lessly evil Iago. It’s hard to feel for Gabler and her lowly status as a household object – meant to simply look pretty, welcome guests, attend parties and bear children – when she’s out to make others miserable. She wants a taste of the power that only bold men have access to. However, she’s neither bold nor industrious enough to further herself or flout convention and leave her husband, so she sets about weaving a destructive web around those with whom she comes in contact.

the TICKET stub
Hedda Gabler

When: Thursday-Sunday, through May 5. Q&A with director and cast following the April 27 performance.
Where: Paul and Vi Loo Theatre
Cost: $5-$20
More Info: 375-1282, hpu.edu/theatre

Hawaii Styled iPhone Cases

You may not know her name, but you’re definitely familiar with the Hawaii surf and stained glass motif of Heather Brown’s ar twork (heatherbrownart.com). The North Shore surfer-artist’s foaming blue waves and palm trees have brought her fame, accolades, exhibits and commissioned work not only in Hawaii, but in Brazil, Australia, California and, particularly, in Japan, as well. One of her latest ventures is with smartphone accessory company True Protection. Fifteen percent of sales from each iPhone cover bearing her designs ($39.95, TruProtection.com) is benefitting environmental organizations including Kokua Hawaii Foundation, Waves for Water and SeaThos Foundation. To all around be kind to the earth, the cases are made in the USA of post-consumer recycled plastic. “We are super stoked to collaborate with Heather on this project,” notes Tru Protection CEO Keiko Napier. “It’s a perfect opportunity to blend our company’s passion for social causes in the Pacific region with sustainable entrepreneurship.”