Jessica Temple stars in the world premiere of Harriet Madeley’s queer adaptation of the Ibsen classic Hedda Gabler, at Reading Rep Theatre.
A version steeped in queer rage and suburban monotony, Harriet Madeley’s new adaptation explores how the most famous female character of all time is trapped within a life that’s chosen for her.
Jessica Temple was recently seen in Patriots at The Almeida and will be transferring with the production to the Noel Coward Theatre this Spring.
Hedda Gabler, directed by Annie Kershaw is at Reading Rep 22 February – 11 March 2023. Ticket information can be found here.
You’re playing Isla in Hedda Gabler at Reading Rep, what can you tell us about the show?
The show is fresh, exciting, a bit sexy… need I say more?
What was it about Harriet Madeley’s queer adaptation of the classic that made you want to be part of the production?
Harriet’s adaptation just read so beautifully off the page – you know it’s great writing when the story is clear and doesn’t require much figuring out! Also changing Eilert to Isla has also added an element of that dichotomy of having two people who truly love one another – one whom is very much secure in their sexuality and wants to be open about the relationship, and the other who feels the pressures of the outside world to be a certain way/shame within themselves at having those feelings. It’s totally a love story.
You’ll be working at Reading Rep between the Almeida and West End runs of Patriots, what are you most excited about working at this venue?
Reading Rep is such a special building. Everyone is so welcoming – we all feel like a big family. I also love the intimacy of the space which works perfectly of this piece.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you with this role?
I feel the pressures for me come from playing someone who has a history of addiction and mental health problems – I want it to feel as authentic as possible without it being stereotypical/hammy. I’ve found a great way in to that headspace is through music. My playlist is pretty full of Max Richter and Nirvana at the moment!
What’s it been like working with director, Annie Kershaw?
Annie is a dream director – she has a wonderful balance between letting us ‘play’ and bring our own thoughts on the characters to the table, and having enough structure and vision to make it all cohesive and exciting. For an intense play, there has been a load of laughter in the rehearsal room which is all you can ask for!
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Hedda Gabler?
Don’t think, just book!