By Morgan Miles, Staff Writer
The Xavier Theatre program introduced The Rep Series on Friday. The series includes A Doll’s House, Part 2, Eurydice and Proof.
One play from the series, A Doll’s House, Part 2, revisits the ending of the original play written by Henrik Ibsen. Nora finds herself back at the door she walked through 15 years prior, quickly becoming entangled in a mess of secrets and lies.
Xavier’s rendition of A Doll’s House, Part 2, written by Lucas Hnath, features a single room — the entrance to Nora’s old home. The set’s focus is on the door, which served as a powerful gateway for Nora in the original play and continues to do so.
Before the play, I had no personal experience with one-set plays. However, I was far from disappointed as the set itself held a lot of character, which kept the play from getting repetitive.
The paint on the set’s walls looked worn, and the furniture was the kind of quirky I expected, considering the time period. The door surprised me the most because it had to be slammed multiple times while the set remained sturdy.
All seating was placed close to the set so any spot became a front-row experience. I enjoyed the closeness because small details became more apparent. Specifically, the emotion the actors and actresses conveyed with their facial expressions or body language were emphasized by the theater’s intimacy.
When there’s an audience a few feet away from you at all times, it has to be nerve-wracking to act. Yet, I never noticed a break in character — probably because I became so immersed in believing these actors were the characters. From the ever-passionate tone of Nora’s voice to the admirable yet scary passive aggression of Emmy, I felt that the casting for this play was perfect.
I remember thinking that every time I hear about A Doll’s House from now on, I’ll picture Xavier’s cast. Anne-Marie, the maid, wobbled around and struggled to stand up or sit down in the way an older person with bad knees would.
The actress for Anne-Marie showcased the character’s descent from superficial and sweet into an angry, exhausted old lady. This change in expression felt completely natural and compelling.
Torvald’s simultaneous presentation of iconic stoicism and emotional exchanges with each character seems like an impossible feat. The actor playing Torvald made conveying its complexity look effortless. In between scenes, each less than a minute, the tone never faltered.
The tech crew’s use of light on the main subject of each new scene maintained the flow, as well as the overall tension, of the story.
The only aspect of the play that I questioned was the costumes. Nora’s glittery-gold vest and blazer were odd and didn’t match the rest of her ensemble, nor the time nor what I expected of her. You can have a flashy, wealthier character show off her success without the almost-distracting sparkle.
Emmy’s outfit, I felt, wasn’t suited to her character; the skirt was quite underwhelming compared to her feisty personality. However, the costumes for Torvald and Anne-Marie fit their characters very well. Both wore simple costumes that were effective and realistic and I feel that’s how the costumes of Nora and Emmy should’ve made me feel, too.
Overall, Xavier Theatre’s production of A Doll’s House, Part 2 was an enjoyable experience. Time flew as I became more and more intrigued by the aspects outside of the story that Xavier brings to the table: impressive casting choices, talented actresses and actors and a band and tech crew that delivers a solid performance throughout the play.