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A Doll's House  Curtain Calls

Andrea SyglowskiName: Andrea Syglowski

Role: Nora

Last Seen In: Venus in Fur (2014)

What can we learn from A Doll’s House in 2017? If I was asked this question prior to November 8th of 2016, I may have had a different answer. In thinking about A Doll’s House, my fervor for telling the story shifted as our current political climate shifted. As we watched how Hillary Clinton was addressed in the media and by her opponents, I think what we saw was misogyny and degradation exposed, sometimes discreetly and sometimes unabashedly. Our expectations of women are still, unfortunately, askew. We are STILL striving for equality in 2017. Have we made progress? Absolutely. That is undeniable. However, what I learn from A Doll’s House in 2017 and what I have learned from our world in recent years is that women can sometimes be held to a different standard. That’s actually an understatement. I could write an essay on this topic. Maybe I will, but not here. I think what we can learn from A Doll’s House, which made its premiere in 1879, is that we are still striving to understand female identity. I will just leave it at that. 

Why do you think Ibsen’s play has remained a classic throughout the years? Aside from being masterfully written, I think there are some deeply human matters at hand in this play. At its core, it is about a marriage. Relationships are challenging, aren’t they? Even the most perfect union can be challenged from time to time. Ibsen’s play gets to the heart of that. He puts voice to what can sometimes feel unutterable. Trust, communication, secrets, identity, appearances verses internal truth. All of these things are brought to light in this play. As long as we are human, these themes will resonate for an audience I believe.

What advice would you give your character? Ah, Nora Nora Nora… I don’t need to give her advice. I think she is going to discover some of what I would tell her over the course of the play. At least I hope so.

What makes a successful relationship? I am no expert. Or perhaps I have learned a thing or two from my mistakes, and others. So I defer to RuPaul on this: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else.”

 

Sekou LaidlowName: Sekou Laidlow

Role: Torvald

Your top 2 tips for a healthy relationship1. When you are really angry about something don't speak what's on your mind. 75% of the time "time” will inform a better response. And sometimes you just need counseling. 2. Anticipate as much as possible what your partner needs and do it before they ask. 

What advice would you give your character? The advice I would give my character is to investigate life beyond the scope of your upbringing and comfort because the happiness you are seeking is somewhere at the edge of the cliff. 

 

Jeremy WebbName: Jeremy Webb

Role: Dr. Rank

Last Seen In: Private Lives (2012)

What can we learn from A Doll’s House in 2017? We can learn that in the ambiguities of life we find life’s meaning. A lot of the characters in Ibsen's play are both right and wrong. We learn that there doesn't need to be a big bad villain in the piece to make potent drama. This play is the anti-twitter play, it's a play that requires absorption and reflection on the part of its audience. Stella Adler says: “Realism needs an intelligent audience to listen to what is has to say.” 

Why do you think Ibsen’s play has remained a classic throughout the years? A Doll’s House is a play that forever changed the way playwrights write plays and the way audiences witness them. Before this play, and before Ibsen, we didn't have the specificity and layering that we have all come to know as modern. What we are dealing with in A Doll’s House is Realism, which is built on self - discovery and self-truth. These were revolutionary ideas in the 1880s and remain potent and watchable and important for us now because through these characters, we learn about ourselves. That includes the possibility of learning about our own shortcomings and vulnerabilities. This play is a classic because its truths are unavoidable.

Which theme in A Doll’s House resonates with you the most? We want that which we cannot have. My character, Dr. Rank, wants more life, he wants more from Torvald and much much more than Nora can ever give him. So, he is wrestling with contentment, with settling for second best, for "take what you get and be happy with it." These are potent themes and thankfully, I hope, quite playable...

What advice would you give your character? Fight for your life! Never give up! Do not go gentle into that good night! Rage, rage against the dying of the light! (Apologies to Dylan Thomas.)

 

Lizzie MilanovichName: Lizzie Milanovich

Role: Helene

Why do you think Ibsen’s play has remained a classic throughout the years? I think it’s a play that could take place almost anywhere. You could pick up the story and the characters and drop them at any point in history, in any part of the world, and it’s still going to ring true. 

Which theme in A Doll’s House resonates with you the most? I’m struck by the idea that society’s expectations of a woman can still so heavily dictate the way a woman behaves both publically and privately—even a woman who is aware of these societal structures and is actively working against them. That feels particularly relevant to me right now.  

What makes this adaptation different? I love how straightforward this adaptation is. It maintains Ibsen’s thrilling storytelling while still moving it elegantly into a vernacular for a modern audience. It’s a little rough and raw and I like that.

Your top 2 tips for a healthy relationship: 1. Don’t be in a relationship. 2. THRIVE! I’m just kidding (sort of?) For real — I’m all about transparency. If you can’t wear your emotions on your sleeve AND trust a person with your Netflix password, what’s the point?


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