Theater: Private Masterpiece

Hedda Gabler has become for actresses what Hamlet has always been for actors. If Hamlet is the classic male neurotic—the man who cannot act—Hedda is the classic female neurotic—the woman who cannot feel. With both roles, the performer does not so much assume a part as submit an interpretation of a fascinating set of symptoms.

That is what Irene Worth is doing, superbly, at this year's Stratford Festival of Canada. At 54, she is as overage for Hedda (Ibsen envisaged her as 29) as a man in his 40s would be for Hamlet. Furthermore, she gives a middle-class Norwegian housewife the unmistakably...

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