A Doll's House, Part 2

A Dramatic Comedy by Lucas Hnath

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Directed by Gillian Eichenberger

May 19-June 12, 2022

George Bernard Shaw described it as “the slam heard round the world.” Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 masterpiece A Doll’s House ends with a revolutionary idea, a positively shocking one in it’s time: Nora, a housewife, leaves her husband and children behind in order to gain her independence.

 

Lucas Hnath’s sequel A Doll’s House Pt. II asks: What happens when Nora returns, 15 years later?

 

The New York Times called it a “smart, funny, and utterly engrossing new play.” 

A Doll’s House Pt. II was nominated for eight Tony Awards including: Best Play, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Chris Cooper), Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play (Laurie Metcalf)*, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play. *Won

Haven’t seen the original? Never fear, NTC has you covered with exciting special events that will get you acquainted with the original. Stay tuned!

CAST

Nora – Alison Peltz
Torvald – Mark Clark
Emmy – Jannely Calmell
Anne Marie – Shirley Nilsen Hall

 

CREW

Director – Gillian Eichenberger
Producer – Electric Bill Weinberg

Stage Manager - Diane Pickell-Gore

Scenic Designer/Builder - Michael Walraven
Costume Design - Gillian Eichenberger & Mark Clark
Sound Design - Gillian Eichenberger & Simon Eves

Lighting Designer - Frank Sarubbi

Lighting/Sound/Video Operator - Halina

BACKGROUND ON THE PLAY

Opening Night, 1879


Imagine it is 1879 and you are attending the premiere of Henrik Ibsen’s new play, A Doll’s House, at the
Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the play, a seemingly happily married couple, Torvald and
Nora Helmer, experience serious challenges to their union, in the guise of a well-meaning but ill-advised
loan that leads to blackmail and betrayal. Finally, in a predictably melodramatic plot twist — just when all
seems lost — the villain of the play has a change of heart and peace is restored once more to the Helmer
household.


Had Ibsen capped his play there it might have been quickly forgotten, but he takes his plot just a few
pages further, assuring controversy and outrage that resonates to this day. Because, at the moment of
forgiveness, Nora walks out the door — leaving her husband and her three young children behind — in
what has become known as “the slam heard ‘round the world.”


There are plays that define shifts in culture and art in unprecedented ways. The original A Doll’s House is
certainly one of those. In a deft swipe of the pen, Ibsen challenges the institution of marriage, society’s
prescribed gender roles, and the whole concept of romantic love. He also fans the flames of the
burgeoning Women’s Movement: the Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights will be formed in 1884,
women will soon be permitted to attend university, and married women will be given full legal capacity
to manage their own finances in 1888.


Nora’s Back!


Now it is 1894, the setting for modern playwright Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House: Part 2. Nora has returned
15 years later to resolve an important legal matter. She states her case and then tries to enlist the help of
her former nanny and housekeeper, Anne Marie, and even her own daughter, Emmy, to convince Torvald
to set things right and fully liberate her. But she must ultimately face Torvald, who has stored up 15 years
of pain and resentment, which must be voiced — and challenged — before they can both move on with
their lives.


In this new play, Hnath re-explores what it means to be married and how society’s views of a woman’s
role in the world have largely remained unchanged. In fact, while writing Part 2, he consulted with a
group of feminist scholars and asked them what the contemporary equivalent of the shock ending of
Nora’s departure might be today. He was stunned to hear that they largely considered the original
ending to still be unthinkable by modern standards. He wrote, “Ibsen is trying to define what freedom is
and is identifying the ways in which we are not as free as we think we are. Fears about reputation and
how we’re viewed in the world, and anxieties about money and social standing — I think those are all
shackles that remain today.”


-Mark Clark (Torvald / Dramaturg)