Sister Productions Of A DOLL'S HOUSE And A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 Announced In Kansas City
Kansas City Actors Theatre and Unicorn Theatre, two esteemed Kansas City performing arts organizations, are preparing to mount related productions of Henrik Ibsen's classic "A Doll's House," and the area premiere of the hit comedy "A Doll's House, Part 2," by Lucas Hnath, in August and October/November 2019, respectively. Kansas City Actors Theatre has selected "A Doll's House" as its second production of its 15th Season, with a new adaptation by the production's director, Darren Sextro. In turn, Unicorn Theatre has selected Lucas Hnath's "A Doll's House, Part 2" for its 2019-2020 season, which will also see Sextro serving as director of the dark comedy's Kansas City premiere. Taken together, these two productions will be a fascinating experience, as two companies with two distinct voices, yet unified under one director and shared designers, provide their own distinct productions of a ground-breaking classic of theatre and its hit contemporary follow-up.
Originally produced over 140 years ago, Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" was a ground-breaking scandal at the time. The story of a woman seeking to stand on her own in a society where such a thing was unheard of, the play flew in the face of much of European society. It was an almost instant hit, went on to see international success, and is now recognized as a masterpiece of theatre. Kansas City Actors Theatre has had its eye on producing "A Doll's House" for the past couple of years, always hoping that they'd have the fortune of staging near a production of the story's contemporary sequel.
Lucas Hnath's darkly comic follow-up, "A Doll's House, Part 2," was first produced and saw its Broadway debut in 2017. In many ways both an elaboration and deconstruction of the feminist ideas presented in the original, the story returns to the characters of "A Doll's House" fifteen years after the events of the original. In the light of retrospect, both the characters and the audience alike have a chance to reflect on how much things have changed, and how much they haven't, since the play was first produced. The original production of "A Doll's House, Part 2" went on to run for over 200 performances and, at eight nominations, it received more Tony nominations than any other play in the 2016-2017 season.
Sextro is excited at the prospect of seeing these two shows stand both together and alone. "This is such a unique storytelling gift to a regional audience," says Sextro. "First, to be able to experience Henrik Ibsen's classic drama, which was so modern it its time that it helped to redefine theatrical storytelling. And then to quickly pivot to Lucas Hnath's contemporary sequel-of-sorts, which allows audiences to even more fully absorb what Ibsen was exploring through the lenses of contemporary, witty sensibilities. It turns both plays into a regional event."
Unicorn Theatre and KCAT have informally worked together for a number of years. "We share ideas, resources and people," says Cynthia Levin, Producing Artistic Director of Unicorn Theatre. "Now we come together to enrich everyone's experience with two great plays, both traditional and contemporary." Both productions will share the same director, scenic designer, costume designer, sound designer, and dramaturg. There will be similar elements used for both productions, but each will be their own, fully realized productions. Levin continued, "We are thrilled to work alongside our friends and colleagues at KCAT for what will be a transcendent production!"
Kansas City Actors Theatre was founded 15 years ago as a group of local theatre professionals were looking for a way to create more opportunities for local theatre artists. They founded a company to stage classic and contemporary classic theatre with the unique leadership structure of being led by an Artistic Committee.
Unicorn Theatre is celebrating its 46th season in Kansas City. Known for its bold new plays, Unicorn Theatre focuses its efforts on developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. They strive to illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion and gender identity.
"A Doll's House, Part 2" will feature Manon Halliburton as Nora, Logan Black as Torvald, Kathleen Warfel as Anne Marie, and Marisa B. Tejeda as Emmy.
"A Doll's House" will be presented at the City Stage in the historic Union Station in downtown Kansas City from August 7 - 25. Tickets to this show are available at www.kcactors.org or by calling 816-235-6222. "A Doll's House, Part 2" will be presented at Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City from October 16 - November 10. Subscriptions to Unicorn Theatre's season can be ordered at unicorntheatre.org or by calling the box office at 816-531-7529, x10.