5 questions with Damian Humbley


DHWe asked actor Damian Humbley a few questions about rehearsing for Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler

Can you tell us a bit about the character you will be playing, Eilert Loevborg?

Eilert Loevborg is a man from Hedda and George’s past who returns to town, ‘reformed’ from his old days of drinking and brawling. He’s a writer, who upon gaining acclaim for   his new book, appears to have his life back on track… He’s a man before his time, a futurist, who can see the role of culture and art, and its evolution. He feels very deeply and struggles with conformity and, because he exists in a time and place of conformity, doesn’t deal with it very well.

What attracted you to this role?

Many things. I’m always attracted to internal struggles, as it’s something we all share, yet we think we’re alone in it. I think this translation of Hedda Gabler by Brian Friel is very accessible… It’s also one of the great roles Ibsen wrote for a man, so there’s that too.

You’ve worked a lot in musical theatre – how does the rehearsal process for Hedda Gabler differ to rehearsing a musical?

It differs from project to project, in the same that no play is the same, no musical is. But, in generalised terms, mostly? Time. There’s a lot more time. Rehearsing a musical is often in about four weeks. Four weeks to put a production with musical numbers, choreography and scenes (not necessarily in that order) on its feet… For Hedda Gabler we have about the same. However, you need that time. That’s not saying anything less of musicals, it’s just that Hedda Gabler (Ibsen) has a lot of layers to unpack.

Kemi-Bo Jacobs, Kirsty Bushell and Damian Humbley in rehearsals for Hedda Gabler at Salisbury Playhouse (Photo by Adrian Harris)

Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Thea Elvsted), Kirsty Bushell (Hedda Gabler) and Damian Humbley (Eilert Loevborg) in rehearsals for Hedda Gabler. Photo by Adrian Harris.

Why do you think Ibsen’s plays remain so popular?

Because the themes are all still so relevant. It’s amazing these plays were written so long ago, yet we are still struggling with the thoughts contained in its pages: our individual roles in society, our place in the world, our purpose, our contribution, and legacy. His plays (especially Hedda Gabler) deal with these ideas in abundance.

What do you think audiences will take away from this production?

I wouldn’t dare think to know what audiences take away from this production, but I would hope they leave with a lot to think about.

Hedda Gabler runs in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 17 March to Saturday 2 April 2016. For more information or to book tickets please contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit the Salisbury Playhouse website


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