'A DOLL'S HOUSE' SCHOOL PLAY 2012
‘A DOLL’S HOUSE’
By Henrik Ibsen
In A Doll's House, Ibsen returns to the subject so vital to him -- the Social Lie and Duty -- this time as manifesting themselves in the sacred institution of the home and in the position of woman in her gilded cage.
Nora is the beloved, adored wife of Torvald Helmer. He is an admirable man, rigidly honest, of high moral ideals, and passionately devoted to his wife and children. In short, a good man and an enviable husband. Almost every mother would be proud of such a match for her daughter, and the latter would consider herself fortunate to become the wife of such a man. Nora, too, considers herself fortunate. Indeed, she worships her husband, believes in him implicitly, and is sure that if ever her safety should be menaced,. Torvald, her idol, her god, would perform the miracle.
When a woman loves as Nora does, nothing else matters; least of all, social, legal or moral considerations. Therefore, when her husband's life is threatened, it is no effort, it is a joy for Nora to forge her father's name to a note and borrow 800 cronen on it, in order to take her sick husband to Italy.
In her eagerness to serve her husband, and in perfect innocence of the legal aspect of her act, she does not give the matter much thought, except for her anxiety to shield him from any emergency that may call upon him to perform the miracle in her behalf. She works hard, and saves every penny of her pin-money to pay back the amount she borrowed. She does not, however, bargain on Nils Krogstad—one of her husband’s co-workers—blackmailing her. And so begins a desperate struggle to protect her secret that ultimately leads to a confrontation with her husband and Nora’s monumental decision at the end of the play.
Ibsen exposed other stresses of modern life by showing the inner pressures and conflicts that inhibit and even destroy the individual. Some of these pressures stem from conditioning, i.e., from the individual's internalizing society's values. John Northam distinguishes the opposing elements within the individual as the social self and the essential self. The social self is the persona which conforms to the demands of family, friends, community, and society and which an individual generally develops for acceptance or as a protection. The essential self is an individual's true Self and expresses the individual's thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, etc.
Ibsen was constantly experimenting and pushing boundaries in his writing. This habit of exploration often made him and his plays controversial and shocked conservative critics and audiences. Of this habit, he said, "Where I stood then, when I wrote my various books, there is now a fairly compact crowd, but I myself am no longer there; I am somewhere else, I hope in front." His constant changing often confused contemporary theatre-goers and critics, who had to keep adjusting their expectations of an Ibsen play. His repeated changes and experimenting also make it difficult to place Ibsen and his plays in neat categories. Adding to the difficulty of classifying him is the complexity with which he presents his heroes and themes. Over the years, Ibsen has been called a revolutionary, a nationalist, a romantic, a poet, an idealist, a realist, a socialist, a naturalist, a symbolist, a feminist, and a forerunner of psychoanalysis.
Ibsen had a profound effect on the drama both of his own time and in the twentieth century. His plays stimulated the avant-garde theatre in Germany and France, and only the plays of George Bernard Shaw had a greater impact in England. The demands of his plays caused directors to find new ways of staging plays and actors to develop new ways of acting. The declamatory style of acting in vogue during Ibsen's day could not, for example, convincingly present the natural dialogue of Ibsen's later plays, with its sentence fragments, exclamations, and short statements. Ibsen was a forerunner of what has now become modern theatre.
Cast and Crew
Torvald Helmer: Aaron Tej
Nora Helmer: Alison Roe
Nils Krogstad: Chris Lodoiska
Kristine Linde: Chloe Smith
Doctor Rank: Callum Tipple
Anne-Marie: Charlotte Skinner
Helen: Brooke Clarke
The Children: Rosalind Walker & Matthew Davie
The Production Team:
Director: Steve Mount
Production Manager: Craig Tye
Set Designers: John Mount & Robert Holiday
Stage Management: Lewis Outram-Jones
Lighting Design: Craig Tye, Adam Wigmore & Ryan Hollands
Lighting and Sound Operation: Adam Wigmore & Ryan Hollands
Make-up Design: Louise Plummer
Prompt: Steve Mount
Front of House: Mrs Skinner, Ellie Shields, Amy Brunger and Billie Negus