‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ Confronting the Crack in the Foundation
There’s a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen
When Nora Helmer left her home and family at the end of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (often referred to as the closing of a door heard around the world), she was venturing into the unknown to forge a new life. That departure created a crack in the foundation of marriage and the culture in which she lived. The exposure of these cracks and the light wanting to come through is one of the pleasures in Lucas Hnath’s play, A Doll’s House, Part 2, opening July 15 at Elmwood Playhouse and playing thru August 6, with an audience talk back with the cast after the matinee performance on Sunday, July 31.
Initial responses to Ibsen’s play were varied and created quite a stir in society at that time. The play exposed the values and issues of the late 19th century bourgeoisie, namely what looks appropriate, the value of money, and the way women navigate the landscape that leaves them little room to assert themselves as actual human beings.
Cohen’s iconic lyric reveals the necessity of cracks. They are not just visual scars with no purpose. Yes, they display imperfection, how everything is flawed in some way, including human beings and thus human relationships. However, they are also their own unique door in which light can seep through. That light might be acceptance of imperfection, hope despite the flaws, a new perspective, a release of something held onto for too long, forgiveness, or an unseen possibility.
A Doll’s House, Part 2 is a unique juxtaposition of humor and pathos woven together in the encounters Nora has fifteen years later when she revisits her past abode. Encounters that offer more challenges than she initially bargained for. The purpose of her return engages with the ramifications of her departure in ways that are unexpected. Hnath’s sensitivity to the subject provides everyone an opportunity to be heard as well as to grow in who they think they are, and of equal importance, who they think the other is. The cracks are displayed, but so is the light. And with illumination there is always the possibility of healing wounds.
A Doll’s House, Part 2 performs on Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday matinees at 2 PM and Thursday, August 4 at 8 PM. Elmwood Playhouse is located at 10 Park Street Nyack, NY. Tickets are $27 for adults and $24 for seniors / youth / military, and are available by calling 845 353-1313 or online at https://www.elmwoodplayhouse.com
During performances, all audience members are required to wear masks. Visit https://www.elmwoodplayhouse.com/covid19 to read the theater’s current COVID policies and safety measures. Latecomers will be seated at the discretion of house management.
To view a brief interview between director Michael Edan and Kimberley Lowden who plays Nora visit: