Nora walks out and shuts the door behind her; shuts the door on her children, her husband, her life to that point. Thus ends The Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, premiered in 1879 and influential to this day. Audiences have been left to wonder what happens to Nora. An American playwright, Lucas Hnath has speculated to the extent of writing The Doll’s House, Part 2. His play premiered out of New York in 2016, then made its way to Broadway in April 2017, attracting 8 Tony nominations and winning one for best actress.
Hnath’s play begins with the same door being opened 15 years later to readmit Nora, clearly prosperous and confident. Her family have heard nothing of her in that time, perhaps assuming her to be dead. She has, in fact, become a successful novelist, writing under a pseudonym. There are only three other characters: her husband Torvald, her daughter Emmy, and former nanny Anne-Marie. She is not returning to her family; she is bringing divorce papers which need her husband’s signature.
The Melbourne Theatre Company smartly snapped up the rights to the new play and is presenting it as part of the 2018 season (August 11 to September 16) in the Sumner Theatre. The MTC production will be directed by Sarah Goodes; Nora will be played by Marta Dusseldorp who is enjoying a wonderfully successful middle career both in television and on stage. This is a great ‘original’ idea for a play, although someone may argue that it’s cultural appropriation for a man to write about a woman!
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