Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At St. Louis Shakespeare, Brains Combine with Laughter

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At St. Louis Shakespeare, Brains Combine with Laughter

Article excerpt

Long associated with St. Louis Shakespeare, Suki Peters has just begun her first season the troupe's 31st as its artistic director. She directs its opening production, too: "The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler."

Does that tell us a little something about her artistic viewpoint? Maybe. Peters directed the company's sidesplitting 2012 production of "The Compleat Wks of Willm Shksper (Abridged)." And last year, she directed its brilliant, bubbly production of "The Liar," David Ives' adaptation of a 1644 French classic.

If Peters wants to pursue this penchant for smart comedy rich in literary history, she could make plenty of St. Louis theater-goers very, very happy.

"Further Adventures" fits right into her wheelhouse. Writer Jeff Whitty (who won the Tony for "Avenue Q") makes Henrik Ibsen's cold, self-centered heroine into the centerpiece of a comedy fantasia. In Whitty's netherworld, fictional characters from various genres (theater, novels, TV, etc.) are obliged to remain until a forgetful audience releases them into oblivion.

There, Hedda (Emily Baker) and her husband, George (David Cooperstein), continue to live the life she sought to end with a gunshot, attended by the devoted Mammy (Jeanitta Perkins) from "Gone with the Wind."

Hedda can't bear it, even with the comfort of her good friend and new neighbor Medea (Lindsay Gingrich, reminding Hedda not to "talk about the children.") So, with Mammy at her side (and shlepping all the luggage), she sets off to find something new, a change that allows for a different, maybe even a happy, ending.

On their adventures, they encounter a genre-jumping cast of characters, from Little Red Riding Hood to the slithery, poetry- spouting Woman in Pink from "For Colored Girls . …

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