Saturday, March 25, 2023
Show TE Archives:
A Doll's House Part 2 - A quartet of top notch actors in one of the best plays of the season

Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for Talk

There are usually two sides to every story. In Lucas Hnath’s brittle and fascinating new play A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2 based on what happened to Nora after she infamously left her husband and children in Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE when she walked out the infamous door there are four: Nora’s (Laurie Metcalf) Anne Marie’s the housekeeper (Jayne Houdyshell) Torvald’s the husband (Chris Cooper) and last but not least her daughter Emmy (Condola Rashad).

Fifteen years have passed. The infamous door is omnipresent on the stark and bare set (Miriam Buether). Four chairs. A plant. A small table with a box of tissues. The stage is thrust out at an odd angle reminiscent of a boxing ring. Someone knocks at the infamous door. Anne Marie answers and is stunned to discover that it is the infamous Nora.

She has returned. As a wealthy and famous writer, using a pseudonym. Writing feminist novels. The first of which was based on her marriage in which she rails against the institution in a mighty monologue before seeking an ally to help her out of a predicament that she never quite expected.

Laurie Metcalf is magnificent. Her arguments strong. Jayne Houdyshell is deadpan funny. Nora seeks her help. Never mind the fact that Anne Marie took care of the kids and Torvald all these years.

He has not remarried. He has a dog. And he never went through with his divorce from Nora. That is her reason for returning. The Norwegian laws favor men. And Nora is in jeopardy of losing all she has independently achieved if Torvald does not get a legal divorce. Will he oblige her? Or back Nora into the corner once again?

Sam Gold directs this sparring match to perfection.

With her reunited daughter Emmy she goes over her sometimes hilarious options. Emmy you see wants what her mother didn’t. To be happily married and cared for by someone which drives Nora to distraction. Calm and collected as if she is on a witness stand she and Nora discuss/confront the past.

The actors are equal opponents. Good arguments all around. Nora and Torvald pace like caged animals ready to attack for the kill. A defiant look. A defiant silence. They are sometimes stronger than the great dialogue by Mr. Hnath.

Who is the victor? To find out you should immediately see one of the best plays of the season. At the Golden Theatre. A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT. And quite cleverly Mr. Hnath leaves that infamous door open for a possible Part 3. John Golden Theatre

Photo: Brigitte Lacombe