Religion, she said, is one of those issues that even the irreligious confront. “There are times when I think we all struggle with faith and the role of faith in our lives.”
“This play is about the things we put aside when we’re in relationships,” said Joseph Thornhill, who plays multiple roles in the show. “You want to have a life with somebody, so . . . you put off making decisions on things that don’t seem relevant at the time. In this case, it’s religion. But it could be about anything.”
Theater J suggests the show is suitable for viewers 17 or older because of sexual content and language. “I have a few favorite lines,” Stezin said, “most of which are unprintable.”
Wednesday to Jan. 29, 1529 16th St. NW, www.dcjcc.org/center-for-arts/theater-j, 800-494-8497.
Just like a woman
Hedda Gabler, said Robert McNamara, artistic director of SCENA Theatre, “is like a female Hamlet.”
This is not just because SCENA’s production of “Hedda Gabler,” opening Jan. 12, sets the story in 1938 Norway. Scandinavian similarities aside, Hedda Gabler is “an individual in a society held down.”
“She can be a cold [and] evil woman,” McNamara said. “To others, she’s someone who is trapped in a dead society and is trying to make a breakthrough, to find a life of her own. [The play is] looking at someone in a two-day period of time and all the chances and opportunities to grow are taken away from her. . . . All is not well in the state of Norway.”
McNamara also cites Gabler’s world’s eerie resemblance to D.C. “She’s in there talking about ‘If I could just get out of here, but I don’t have the courage.’ She’s afraid of scandal. And that’s what Washington thrives on today. She’s way ahead of her time.”
“She’s trapped in a very bourgeoisie environment that is not suited for her big personality,” said Kerry Waters, who plays the title role. Waters is a D.C. theater veteran who has directed as well as performed in Washington, and her husband, Eric Lucas, is also in the “Hedda Gabler” cast.
Gabler “is like a child in some respects,” Waters said. “As smart as she is, she’s unsocialized. She’s isolated. So she’s like a trapped animal that’s just ready to leap out of the cage and do something very dangerous, and she does.
“I’m trying to find sympathy for her in my interpretation. I’m focusing on, underneath it, her vulnerability and self-doubt. Her frustration with the people around her because she has a very keen intelligence. She’s sort of a thwarted artistic genius. . . . She’s looking for inspiration and she can’t find it. And she’s pregnant, and she doesn’t want to be.
“It’s a great leading lady role in the tradition of great theater. And I get to shoot a gun!” she added. “I get to shoot a pistol on stage. That’s fun, too.”
Jan. 12-29, H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE, www.scenatheater.org, 703-683-2824.