BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE at Seoul Arts Center CJ Towol Theater

BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE at Seoul Arts Center CJ Towol Theater

"Nora! Nora! Empty. She is gone. The most wonderful thing of all?" With the last words of Helmer, the roof set began to descend, rapidly decreasing the space of the stage. After the lights were turned off and I was completely left in the darkness, thousands of thoughts began to come upon me. 'Wow...What have I just watched?' With that question in my mind, I watched as the actors reappeared on stage to take their bow. The incredible mind-blowing show, A DOLL'S HOUSE plays at Seoul Arts Center CJ Towol Theater until November 25th.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Seoul Arts Center, A DOLL'S HOUSE was chosen as one of the plays to be performed in November. Russia's renowned director, Yury Butusov interpreted the work in a totally new perspective, creating a one of a kind play with the Korean actors. This play consists of five actors, some taking several characters. For the role of Nora Helmer, Unseon Jeon, the role of Torvald Helmer, Gidon Lee, the role of Kristine Linde, Jeongwon Woo, the role for Nils Krogstad, Dowan Kim, and last but not least, for the role of Dr. Rank, Seonggyun Hong was cast. Except for the actor who portrays Dr. Rank, most of the actors only stick with their main characters.

While watching A DOLL'S HOUSE, there were several moments that were extremely eye-catching. First of all, the set and its usage were interesting. Rather than an intricate and realistic set, they consisted of four columns and a roof set. At first, these abstract set designs were surprising to see because I had expected something more realistic. However, as the first act started, the sets were fit with the way the director had reinterpreted the play. Rather than giving the audience a detailed image, the sets played an important role in "showing" more than "telling." What I liked most of the usage of the sets was that, during the majority of acts, they flew the roof set up, just showing a bare empty stage. Then, by adding the necessary props for each act, the details were gradually added. This was effective in understanding the play because there was less to absorb during each act.

Secondly, the direction of the play was new and amazing. Rather than having an original play form, the director put much of his uniqueness into making a totally new interpretation of the famous play, A DOLL'S HOUSE. Especially act one was totally an unexpected beginning, that for a moment, I was initially shocked and surprised at what I was witnessing. After about 10 minutes into act one, suddenly some type of traditional music blasted through the speakers and the actors began to vibrantly shake and dance. Not only in this scene, but in several different parts of act two and act three, dancing and music were used. These actions added not only diversity but activeness to the play, giving a task to the audience to understand not each of the components of acting, music, and dance but also the combination of them.

Dismantle and exception, these are my two keywords for A DOLL'S HOUSE. For people who have expected the classic version of A DOLL'S HOUSE, this show would be a shocking experience that would leave a great impression. While as maintaining the key core of the classic play, A DOLL'S HOUSE did an amazing job of showing a reinterpretation and somewhat modernized version. Whatever you imagine, this show would be beyond that.

A DOLL'S HOUSE plays until November 25th at Seoul Arts Center CJ Towol Theater. Tickets start at 30,000 KRW and can be purchased online at or at the box office. Check for discounts prior to purchasing tickets.

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From This Author Jimin Lee