If you haven’t been to see “A Doll’s House” at The Studio Theatre at Tierra Del Sol in The Villages, stop now and order your tickets. It plays until April 28, so you have time.
Written in 1879 by Henrik Ibsen in Norway, it could be a modern play if you changed the clothes and furniture. In many American homes, you’d find the dialogue fits quite nicely.
Whitney Morse carries the play with her intricate portrayal of Nora Helmer, beloved wife of Torvald, mother to three adorable children, and a picture-perfect woman of her times. Her marriage is happy—her husband calls her his “little skylark” with great affection. She is content and pleased with herself and how she pleases her husband.
Alex Jorth gives Torvold a sneaky condescending air that fits the character like a well-made suit. He’s sure his wife hides nothing from him and his home is truly his castle. He knows she enjoys spending money but is confident he can reign her in when necessary.
But we all know what goes on behind the closed doors of a family home is not always what the rest of the world sees. Torvald is a thrifty husband, please to have recently received a job as a bank manager. Nora is careful with her household money and her “allowance”…or is she?
Enter Nils Krogstad, played quite well by Peter Eli Johnson. It turns out Nora has dealt with the infamous man who is struggling to gain back his “good name” after a number of unseemly actions. However, he seeks Nora’s help in his plan.
As in all good family dramas, there are secrets and lies crawling like little worms along the edges of the truth.
The play is riveting, and this cast that also includes the noble Lon Ward Abrams as Dr. Rank, Alyson Johnson as the conscience of the group, Kristine Linde, and Patti McGuire as the trustworthy maid Anne-Marie, provides exactly what’s needed to strengthen its message.
And the great Ibsen himself sums it up, “A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.”