BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 at Actors Theatre Of Louisville
Zuleyma Guevara and Kim Sullivan in A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2, 2018. Photo by Jonathan Roberts.
A Doll's House, Part 2
by Lucas Hnath
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh
Review by Taylor Clemons
Entire contents copyright © 2018 Taylor Clemons. All rights reserved.
Going into the show, I was very aware of the hype surrounding it. I wanted to love it. I wanted it to be gripping, witty, and satirical. I did love it. While it is all three of the things I listed, it's much more as well. What Hnath has created is a nuanced and thought provoking look at how society treats women. This is explored through the characters of Nora, Emmy, and Anne Marie (making up 75% of the cast). With Nora it explores what it means to be a single and successful woman, with Emmy it comments on the pressures from so society to conform to traditional values of marriage and the woman's "place" of being a mother and a home maker, while in Anne Marie's case the play gives us a look into how society treats a woman who is past her "prime." Alternately, the character of Torvald is used to represent the the older values of society. Since it was announced Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2 has been one of the most anticipated shows in Actors Theatre of Louisville's current 2018-19 season. The play opened on Broadway in the spring of 2017 to positive reviews and palpable buzz. The show would go on to be nominated for many Tony awards, ultimately losing Best Play, but awarding stage veteran Laurie Metcalf her first Tony as Nora. The show has spread somewhat like a wildfire with so many community and regional theaters performing it that it made the top 10 list of the most produced plays this year.
For those who may not know, this is a sequel of sorts to the classic Ibsen play A Doll's House, which ends with Nora walking out on her husband and family. This sequel picks up 15 years later, and Nora comes back to home she once knew, and no one knows why. With so much unfinished business left behind, conflict between Nora and her family comes to the surface.
This is honestly one of the best casts of actors I've ever seen. Each and everyone's character feels fully realized and relatable, a testament to Hnath's writing, and the all around winning performances. Zuleyma Guevara as Nora is riveting from the first time she steps onstage. She's strong and opinionated, but shows bits of vulnerability when confronting Nora's past. Socorro Santiago as the housekeeper Anne Marie is endearing and bewildered. She's obviously caught in the middle of all of the drama, and serves as somewhat of a moderate opinion, never really choosing a side of the argument. Santiago does a magical job bringing her to life. Kim Sullivan as Torvald is a treat. Throughout the show you can see his anger gradually building until the climax between himself and Nora. Lastly we have Nikhaar Kishani as Emmy. While she doesn't get quite as much stage time as the others, she doesn't fail to leave a lasting impression as a daughter meeting her absent mother for the very first time.
The set feels lavish and full, while in reality it's quite simple. Using mainly my chairs to tell the story, with a grand backdrop of a mansion. The costumes look fantastic, using a color scheme of whites, yellows, purple, and green. With the purple truly popping and appealing to the eye. Everything is fantastically period, and very interesting to look see.
Staged wonderfully by Pirronne Yousefzadeh, the show feels intimate and grand at the same time. Filling the small Victor Jory theater. The show is timely as ever, and it's easy to see why so many are eager to produce it as part of their season. It's smart. It's thought provoking. However, most importantly it's full of conversations we need to be having. This show is one you absolutely don't want to miss. I recommend everyone run to the box office and secure a seat to the show that everyone will be talking about for a very long time.
A DOLL'S HOUSE, PART 2 Now - November 4, 2018
Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 W. Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Tickets: (502) 584-1205