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A Doll’s House Part 2

a Drama
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Lucas Hnath

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5421

SHOWING : January 10, 2019 - February 10, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This 2017 Broadway smash-hit is a fresh comedy based on the characters of the Henrik Ibsen classic, considered to be a cornerstone of modern theatre. In the original story, Nora Helmer leaves her husband and family with the slam of a door. Fifteen years later, now a successful author, Nora finds herself knocking at the same door. Then comes that awkward moment when she needs a favor from her estranged husband Torvald -- a divorce.

"huge rolling laughs, one after the other” (W Magazine)
“This is great comedy. A hilarious and thrilling evening.” (New York Times)
“an arsenal of fastballs, curveballs and spitballs…” (Deadline.com)


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Freddie Ashley
Torvald Helmer Rob Cleveland
Emmy Helmer Shelli Delgado
Nora Helmer Tess Malis Kincaid
Anne Marie Deadra Moore
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Artificiality
by playgoer
Monday, January 14, 2019
3.0
Lucas Hnath’s "A Doll’s House Part 2" is a modern gloss on Henrik Ibsen’s 19th-century original about a dissatisfied housewife leaving her husband and children. The action of this sequel takes place 15 years later, as Nora (Tess Malis Kincaid) comes seeking the finalization of a divorce from her husband Torvald (Rob Cleveland). The cast is fleshed out by their daughter Emmy (Shelli Delgado) and by the family’s long-term nanny (Deadra Moore). The divorce will free Nora from legal troubles, since she has entered into book contracts without the consent of her husband, but will cause legal and societal complications for her husband, which in turn will affect her daughter’s engagement. The plot of the play consists of the discussion of options to resolve the dilemmas of all the characters.

We’re told that Nora has become a successful author in the time she’s been away, with her first book becoming a bit of a sensation for its anti-marriage message. We’re not told that she’s a one-hit wonder, though, which makes her problematic situation a trifle puzzling. If her first book came out several years ago, why have its ramifications suddenly become a crisis?

Aurora’s production emphasizes again and again that this gloss on a 19th-century work is of modern origin. The set, by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay, is of an austere neoclassical room with immense double doors up center. Rather timeless. But the stage floor seems to be floating, and the whole set is surrounded by neon ribbons of purple-pink light. The furniture (two chairs and a console) is Danish modern. Costumes, by Elizabeth Rasmusson, are 19th century. When characters sit on the furniture, it’s often in modern poses (sitting on an arm, for instance), that underline the disconnect between the design elements. For me, this makes it very difficult to take the production seriously. When Ms. Kincaid walks upstage, opens the console, and pulls out a filled glass of water to drink from, it’s clear that naturalism has been thrown out the window (not that the set features any windows).

Ed Thrower’s sound design consists of raucous rock music played between the scenes, accompanied by projected supertitles ("Nora," "Torvald," "Anne Marie," "Emmy," and "Nora and Torvald"), and pulling the audience out of the world of the play to proclaim "modern! modern! modern!" in stentorian tones.

Freddie Ashley has directed the play to have actors move the furniture between scenes, in another successful attempt to produce cracks in the 19th century veneer. It all seems rather pointless in terms of blocking. Nevertheless, stage pictures overall are generally good.

Acting is another matter. Ms. Kincaid is wonderful, successfully marrying the 19th century and modern worlds of the expletive-ridden script. Ms. Moore looks ridiculous in a ratty wig. Mr. Cleveland seems to have given no thought to making Torvald a relatable character, instead relying on bluster and cant. Ms. Delgado is better, but her costume is borderline ridiculous, and she appears older than the script would have us believe. Ms. Kincaid is the only reason to go see this play.

The job of a play is to take us into the play’s particular world and keep us there from start to finish. Mr. Hnath and/or Mr. Ashley seem to have preferred a Brechtian approach of alienating the audience with jarring effects. It doesn’t work here. It just seems that the designers and director failed to communicate at all with one another, leaving it up to the actors to make sense of the muddle. Ms. Kincaid does, so props to her (although with props much more impressive than Kathy Manning’s unimaginative physical props). In this talk-filled show, Ms. Kincaid is the only bright spot. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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