How would you want your audience to respond to Thea Elvsted in her first and final appearances? Explain how you would perform the role, in selected moments from these scenes, in order to achieve your aims.
Throughout the play, Thea Elvsted is a foil to Hedda. She acts as a contrast to the main character in both personality and looks; Hedda being tall, thin with sharp features whilst Thea is smaller, with soft features and a more womanly body. Thus Thea is often used, during the script, to differentiate from Hedda and therefore achieve completely opposite responses from the audience. During the performance, Ibsen wanted his audiences to react in many different ways to each of the characters. Whilst the controversial character of Hedda demanded respect, she was more often than not disliked for her malicious and troublesome attributes. On the other hand, Ibsen created Thea in order to contrast and emphasise Hedda’s negative qualities. Thea is more likely to draw pity from the audience, but is still often disliked for the pathetic desperation she often displays. Through the first scene, I would like the audience to regard Thea as weak and inferior to the other characters. However, it becomes apparent that she has been underestimated, as she slowly gains strength during the play and finally becomes antagonistic to Hedda during the last scene. I do not want the audience to warm to Thea though, but regard her as a shadow which is used to cast Hedda in a brighter light.
Thea’s physical appearance is described by Ibsen as ‘a slight woman with soft, attractive features. Her eyes are light blue, large, round and somewhat protruding, with a scared, questioning expression. Her hair is strikingly fair, almost whitish-yellow, and unusually rich and wavy. She is a couple of years younger than Hedda.’