Advertisement

'A Doll's House' explores universal themes

March 18, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Henrik Ibsen's classic play, "A Doll's House," will open at the Old Opera House in Charles Town this weekend.

Written in 1879, the groundbreaking realist drama tells the story of Norwegian Nora Helmer's awakening from her unexamined life of domestic comfort as dictated by the rules of Victorian society. The work explores the relationship between Nora and her husband, Torvald, and the marriage's demise in the wake of one lie.

"A Doll House's" feminist message rocked the stages of Europe when the play premiered more then a century ago, said director Laura Richards Bakin. But her interpretation of the play - which stars Wendy Couchman as Nora and Richard "Rick" Anthony as Torvald - is more universal than the traditional take on Ibsen's masterpiece.

Advertisement

"I feel that 'A Doll's House' does not just refer to the situation Nora is in, nor even just the characters in that play, but it's the idea that we all have our own doll houses, whether created by us or for us by someone else, in which we live and the parameters of which define our lives. The house typically defines each of us. When that house is threatened, it can be life-shattering, and most people will do anything to keep that from happening," said Richards Bakin, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.

"I don't see it as a black-and-white issue," she added. "Nora is not purely a victim. She manipulates, also." And like his wife before her revolt, Torvald's actions and attitudes are products of his society. "He's played like a marionette. Victorian society pulls the strings and he jumps," said Richards Bakin, who has been involved with theater for about 20 years.

Anthony, who portrayed the Rev. John Hale in a production of "The Crucible" at the Old Opera House last October, hopes the audience will leave the theater with a better understanding of the forces that shaped Torvald's complex character - a man who is at times charming, nurturing, condescending and selfish, he said.

Viewers might then be motivated to think about their own relationships, said Anthony, who lives in Summit Point, W.Va.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|