A Doll’s House


I can strongly recommend the new production of “A Doll’s House,” in a limited run at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn. Produced by Theatre for a New Audience and directed by Arin Arbus (daughter of Diana Arbus), Ibsen’s classic play is given new energy and relevance. Maggie Lacey is an excellent Nora, beautiful, giddy, flightly, but completely steely underneath. John Douglas Thompson is electric as Thorvald, having much more gravitas than others I’ve seen in the role (who often reduce it to a caricature). He is truly incandescent in Act Three when he learns of his wife’s trangressions.

The box shaped theatre in the Polansky Shakespeare Center is used to perfect advantage: rows of audience members in the front and back of the acting space make the set seem as closed-in as Nora’s life. The immediacy of the small space makes the actors’ nuanced performances even more compelling.

I can only imagine how truly shocking this play much have been when it was first performed in 1879. August Strindberg, apparently incensed by the subject matter, wrote “The Father” as a comeback. We are fortunate that TFANA is also showing this play, with the same cast, on alternating evenings.

Barbara Vogelstein

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