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Friday, July 7, 2017

On Broadway- A Doll's House Part 2

Lucas Hnath's brilliant play, A Doll's House Part 2, is a sequel of sorts. It had the same characters as Henrik Ibsen's classic A Doll's House, and it picks up the action fifteen years after the end of Ibsen's play. But you need not have read or seen Ibsen's play to enjoy Hnath's work.

The action begins with insistent knocking on a door. Anne Marie, a servant, opens the door to find Nora standing on the other side. Nora, who left her husband and three young children fifteen years ago. We find out that Nora has not communicated with her family in the intervening years. They did not know if she was dead or alive.

Nora, played by Laurie Metcalf who won the Tony Award this year for her role, is a ball of fire. She is well dressed, and the intervening years have apparently been good to her. She asks Ann Marie, the women who was left to raise Nora's children to guess how she made her money.

Anne Marie, played by the fantastic Jayne Houdyshell, is curious but after guessing actress and model and maybe prostitute, Nora is miffed that Ann Marie only guesses stereotypical female-centered careers that rely on women's beauty. Nora proudly tells her that she is a writer, a successful writer, whose first book was a bestseller about a woman who leaves her family.

Anne Marie tells Nora she should leave before Torvald, Nora's husband returns home, but soon Torvald appears. Chris Cooper is hypnotic as Torvald, you cannot take your eyes off him when he is on stage, although at times he was difficult to hear.

The scene between Nora and Torvald is nothing short of astonishing. These are two actors at the height of the talents, and the stage crackles with tension and residual feelings between them. You could hear a pin drop during their big scene. I could have watched them talk for hours.

Condola Rashad (Showtime's Billions) plays Nora and Torvald's daughter Emmy. Emmy is curious to see her mother, who left her when she was three years old. Emmy is about to be married and she doesn't want her returning mother to ruin her life.

A Doll's House Part 2 has much to say about marriage and the role of women, which for some hasn't changed much in the years since the setting of the late 19th century. You could hear many in the audience audibly reacting to some of the more intriguing ideas.

All four of the actors, the entire cast, were nominated for Tony's this year, with Metcalf winning for Best Actress in a Play. They were all amazing, and the extended standing ovation at the end of the show reflected that. The show is funny and though-provoking and a must-see.

There are discount tickets available but A Doll's House is a show worth paying full price for. Note- Metcalf just announced she is leaving the show on July 23, and the equally talented Julie White will be replacing her.

A Doll's House Part 2's website is here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm jealous of all the great shows you get to see. This sounds fabulous.