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Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at the Helsinki City Theatre

Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at the Helsinki City Theatre
Santeri Kinnunen plays Torvald

A Doll's house, part 2 (Nukkekoti osa 2) at the Helsinki City Theatre is minimalistic statement, almost a rantlike play, emphasizing the chemistries of the characters, with usage of prop- and sound-details that phase the play and bring more drama.

I went to see this performance on 30th of November. I didn't know much about the play beforehand so it was good we got ourselves programmes. It was one spread. I enjoyed reading the team's favorite lines; nice, quite rare little detail. It was good that it offered us some backstory information, on Ibsen's original play and on the recent history of marriage and woman's rights in it.

The play starts with the ticking of clocks. On the stage there's a huge door, which we can recognize from the advertisement, too. Someone wants to come in. We hear an elderly woman's voice from behind the audience, which was cool and brought depth to the space. She appears on stage to open the door. The door has two sides and the other side of the door stays open but the other flungs back and the comer has to keep it open, and the effect loosens its power a little. "Nora! Oh, you've put on a little weight, haven't you?" our elderly character, Anne Marie (Ursula Salo) asks.

Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at the Helsinki City Theatre

Throughout the play I wasn't quite sure that was it suppsed to be a comedy or a drama. Later I found out from their page that it was meant to be a drama, even though many Broadway versions were directed into comedy and the audience laugh! At least when reading the words of the direcor Liisa Mustonen she at least had a serious take on it: "This performance handels resposnibility, freedom and love. The characters are either guilty party or victims." From reading this I was expecting some clear status acting, expressions of hurt rather than forcing a stare back to the one who scorns or shouts. And now I'm speaking about the Torvald's and Nora's chemistry, even though Nora has grown stronger during her years off. Some hurt expressions I was able to see from Anne Marie only, though there was good status-chemistry between Anne Marie and Nora in the beginning scene, where the colors of the backgrounds and clothes also told a story.

The play has some long speeches. It was a pity that our Nora, Susanna Mikkonen, seemed to have a bad day what it came to articulation and remembering lines, or more clearly, she made subltle stumbles in her speeches and talk. After the long monologue about marriage, which is due to the script of Lucas Hnath from last year, 2017, I thought and wrote down: "If Nora doesn't experience any kind of wavery with her strong opinion on marriage in this play, it's too much rant, a sermon", but luckily later it found its explanation: Nora is still legally married to Torvald, which prevents her from living her dream-life. The action background-musics that came up at good timings were the brisking of this performance!

"And it's not like I'm saying anything that anyone doesn't already somewhere in their minds already sort of think" - Nora

The chairs, the chairs, the chairs. There began to be a good use of them and they were finely symbolic, but certainly weren't brought to their full potential: I loved the way how Torvald moved his chair away from Nora's direciton as he faced her, but the way Anne Marie just sat sideways on it later didn't match in the logic in my opinion; there should have been moving of the chair too.

Santeri Kinnunen as Torvald was my favorite performer. He was excellent with his small expressions and changes in voice and tones that were sometimes scarily realistic. Susanna Mikkonen as Nora ended up being my least favorite: she had the intensity of an actor on a stage, but as I mentioned before, stumbled with her lines and to me was too cold and cynical, lacking variant, believable emotions. There was also a scene where she hit things with her rolled cloth that didn't have enough clear, emotinal building in my opinion.

Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at the Helsinki City Theatre

We also see Emmy, Elina Hietala, who does the role very well. Her tears brought me tears too. I was just wondering why they didn't cast anyone younger, as Helsinki is full of potential young actors. It was a little disturbing to look at the two actors on stage who looked almost the same age, even though the daughter wore more brighter colors and gestured and talked quicker, which tells about the quickness of her mind, of the associativiness, which she uses against her mother. The fiery dialogue gives relief after the many sermon Nora has said against the subject of marriage.

"No, see, I think you're very wrong, and that you've made a lot of assumptions and that you don't know what you're doing, you think you do" - Emmy

The end of the play with all the finely thought-out things happening with good timing is propably the best part of it. If the whole play would have been constructed with the same kind of focus and clear intentions that we saw in that scene this play would have been very good rather than medicore. But I have to admit that the script itself was rahter bad and dragging, not a personal favorite, so it's not all about the crew's work at all!

All in all The Doll's house, Part 2 at the Helsinki City theatre is very opinionated play about Ibsen's Nora who comes back to his ex-man Torvald to parley about matters, such as her freedom and what actually happened after she left the town and her husband. The play has turns and twists and well thought- and timed out scenes as well.

Get tickets to the Doll's House, part 2 at the Helsinki City theatre here

Article: Rosanna Liuski
Photos: Tapio Vanhatalo

Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at the Helsinki City Theatre

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