Last Weekend to See Farmers Alley’s A Doll’s House Part 2
Sequels always seem to have a catchy tagline attached to them. The Reckoning. This Time It's Personal. Both of these sentiments could be applied to Lucas Hnath's 2017 sequel to the extremely controversial 1879 Ibsen play A Doll's House, wherein the final scene sees Nora, wife and mother of three, make the shocking decision to leave her family and start a life of her own. 138 years later, her scandalous decision left playwright Hnath wondering what ever happened to her. Did Nora find what she was looking for, or were her dreams dashed when the realities of treatment of single women in the 19th century became all too real?
A Doll's House Part 2 picks up 15 years after Nora's infamous departure. She's now an accomplished author, writing women-focused fiction under a pseudonym. When a local judge's wife leaves her marriage (thanks to inspiration she found in one of Nora's books), the judge threatens to expose Nora's real identity. She is compelled to visit her former estate to ask her estranged husband, Torvald, for a divorce; a divorce she assumed was filed all those years ago. You see, she's been living as a single woman; generally carousing, taking lovers, etc. Looked down upon, for sure, but it's a crime if one is married. The judge has her between the proverbial rock and the hard place; confront her husband or be exposed as sham and lose everything.
Farmers Alley's "A Doll's House Part 2", running through Sunday, November 18th, is a study in raw nerves, bared souls, and atonement. Elizabeth Terrel heads up the four-person cast as Nora. She is uncompromising and unapologetic in her role of the pre-suffrage era heroine, even when confronted with the pain she caused to her former housekeeper, Anne Marie (Zoe Vonder Haar), her now grown daughter, Emmy (Arizsia Staton), and husband Torvald (Paul Stroili). Each scene plays out like a two-person show, Nora confronting each broken heart one-on-one, capturing the whole of the 15-year rift. Will Anne Marie welcome Nora? Will Torvald grant the divorce? What will Emmy have to say to a woman she's never known? The answers will punch you in the gut.
Surprisingly funny (no really), the expertly delivered script sheds light on the absurdity of some of our actions, how we react, and how others perceive them. The dialogue is certainly less Gothic and more modern than it's predecessor, though I did find that it was too quick at times, with the delivery living in anticipation and not expectation. But that was the only argument I could make with D. Terry Williams direction. Otherwise Williams used the space and sparse set well in creating the tense intimacy that is the life-blood of this piece. Cheers to the wonderful cast of A Doll's House Part 2, and break a leg on closing weekend.
Get ready for long conversations about the various topics shaken to the surface in this new work. Don't miss it.
- Friday, November 16th at 8:00pm ($32)
- Saturday, November 17th, 8:00pm ($32)
- Sunday, November 18th, 2pm ($27)
Use promo code "THANKS" at checkout and unlock 50% OFF tickets for these performances this weekend!
Call the Farmers Alley box office at 269-343-2727, or get more information here.