I read Ibsen’s play in high school, but I find it much more striking now after having had the opportunity to study feminist art in college. It’s clearer to me now why Victorian Era audiences got their knickers in such a knot over the portrayal of marriage. What drew me to this production was the initial novelty of using a cast where all the actress were over 6 ft. tall and all the actors were under 4 ft. As a 6 ft. tall woman myself, I wanted to see how the dynamics on the stage played out as marriage and gender roles were explored.
Mark Povinelli as Torvald, and Maude Mitchell as Nora.
I loved the way the piano was built into the stage and the accompanist was incorporated into the script. I loved the way Nora (in a performance that has etched the name of actress “Maude Mitchell” on my brain forever) used her voice so effectively to illustrate her transition from a coy, caged songbird wife to a woman stripped of her marriage illusions and horrified at the years she has spent with a “stranger.” I loved the literal doll house set and the way the furniture and props were built to the scale of the actors, leaving the women to crawl around and crouch, always to accomodate the stature of the men and be looked down upon. I loved the way the raw sexuality in the original Ibsen was brought out between the characters.
I won’t give away all its secrets, though. The show is on tour now. Catch it if you can.