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A lot of the art coming out of frigid Scandinavia is new and hot. So it’d make sense that, save perhaps a Sibelius symphony and Saarinen-designed chair, a festival celebrating Scandinavian dance, design, and classical music would include nothing but cutting-edge work. Yet the most recognizable name in the Kennedy Center’s Nordic Cool festival is probably that of Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, and the most recognizable work his play Hedda Gabler. In 1889, the tragedy about a female protagonist who becomes increasingly unsatisfied with her intellectually inferior husband was deemed an unrealistic social drama. Today, Ibsen’s take on psychological tensions are recognized as genius and totally authentic. Norway’s National Theatre presents a Hedda set in the present day and performed in Norwegian with English supertitles. The postindustrial design may make the play look shiny and new, but it’s Ibsen’s 123-year-old text that keeps the story uncomfortably true.
The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre, 2700 F St. NW. $49–$80. (202) 467-4600. kennedy-center.org