Behind the Doors

In the end of Henrik Ibsens`s play “Hedda Gabler”, the selfish and manipulative protagonist Hedda, who exploits her good-natured husband  and in full consciousness becomes responsible for the suicide of Ejlert Lövborg, the man she can`t get, is faced with severe blackmail from Brack, a rejected admirer. He tells her that he knows that  one of her two pistols was found next to Ejlert.`s corpse.

When she understands that she will either be involved in a crime investigation or will have to bow to Brack`s demands, she walks out of the room. Then the audience hears a shot.

It is easy to be clear here: Everything that leads us to the (of course intended) conclusion that she shot herself happened in front of the door. The information that she had two pistols was given in front of the door, the whole development of the plot, the blackmail, maybe the way she walked into the other room and finally the sound of the shot.

For the audience it is of no relevance at all what really happens in the other room. The actress can have walked off, lit a cigarette, farted silently and kissed the fireman who was standing there picking his nose from boredom while technology took care of the last signal, the shot.

And what if a woman really killed herself behind that door? It would be of no relevance for the audience as well. As long as not even a shot penetrated the informational barrier one wouldn`t even have the idea that something was going on behind that door.

This whole consideration is of course equally valid for everything that goes on “inside” actors, behind the doors of their visual and auditive appearance. Everything that leads us to conclusions that something is going on behind that door has to happen in front of that door. And it is of no matter at all if it is really going on.

It only seems that in the second case this is much more difficult to grasp.