A Doll’s House, Part 2
05 July 2022
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
I love the idea of a sequel of a strong play, and this is exactly what A Doll’s House Part 2 is. An imagining of what kind of life Nora, the main character of Ibsen’s famous play, was able to forge for herself.
The original play was set, and published, in 1879 and follows the character of Nora Helmer, a wife and mother who eventually decides to leave her family behind to find herself and build her own life. In this follow-up, we see Nora return 15 years later with a very important question. It’s ambitious to create a sequel to such a well known and well loved play, but it works really well and brings new perspectives to the original story.
To begin with, the stage is completely covered with a large, dark, bleak looking house, smoke rippling out of the chimney. This entire constructions lifts up to reveal a bare stage with just a few chairs and a small side table on it, but this first moment of the play has such strong symbolism, lifting the dark walls to reveal what’s inside, what’s usually kept private and hidden away.
Nora reveals early in that she needs Torvald to file for a divorce, which she had assumed he had done 15 years prior, but recently found out he had neglected to do, leaving her to unknowingly having engaged in illegal activity by signing contracts and earning her own money without her husband’s permission (this is set in the late 18-hundreds).
Throughout, we hear Nora’s story, which sounds very modern and thus controversial in her time period, but we also find out what happened to Torvald after his wife ran away, how her children grew up without her for the past 15 years, how this shaped them into the people they are.
I was especially impressed with how many different perspectives were shown without judgment, how many different life and love expectations people can have, and how this creates or destroys bonds between them. A beautiful sequel to a great play!