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A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 Kavinoky Theatre
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Nov 27, 2018, 12:20
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Through November 25
A DOLLíS HOUSE PART 2 Kavinoky Theatre

Itís one of those questions often heard while leaving the theater: What happens next?
After ďA Dollís House,Ē how many theatergoers have left wondering what happened to Nora after she walked out of the house?
Lucas Hnath decided to solve that question.
Who?
You might not spot the name, although at least two of his plays have been staged around here recently, ďThe Christians,Ē about a mega-church minister who develops doubts, and ďA Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney.Ē
Here, he probes the past and present of Nora Helmer (Kristen Tripp Kelley).
15 years after leaving, in "A Doll's House Part 2," she walks back through the giant door in the middle of David Kingís interesting set, unwelcome to Anne Marie (Anne Gayley), the maid who has raised Noraís two children, to the claimed neglect of her own children.
Nora has built another life for herself under another name in another city and perhaps in another country.
She has created a career for herself as a writer about women, very, very successfully.
Now, sheís being blackmailed and a secret from her past has popped up, a secret so secret even Nora doesnít know about it, in a world of snail mail, books and magazines.
When Ibsenís ďA Dollís HouseĒ first appeared, it was a sensation and not in a good way.
It raised issues the people of the day didnít want raised.
The difference with ďPart 2Ē is it revolves around 21st Century issues in 21st Century language.
Certainly, women face some of the same issues of Ibsenís time, although even improvements may not prove a lot.
Nora must face husband Torvald (David Oliver) and eventually daughter Emmy (Leah Berst).
Neither is quite ready to deal with suddenly resurfacing wife and mother, who abandoned both.
If you think about what happened to Nora after she left, you also must think about what happens when she comes back.
Thatís the twist, as the secret gradually seeps out, to meet another secret which is sitting there.
Thatís probably the most interesting part of the play, the collision of secrets and what to do.
Eventually, the three decide to clean house and work out the secret problems and move on, separately.
Director Bob Waterhouse has a strong cast to work with, particularly Tripp Kelley and Gayley.
Heís also dealing with a classic play, which is always just off on stage left, with the ghost of Ibsen, sitting in the flies.
This is a look at invention and re-invention, guilt and decision and the changes of history and the way indecision has consequences.
There is also the value of doing the right thing.
Itís all on stage with the four performers, history, a classic playwright, a classic play and nearly a century-and-a-half of social change.
Thatís why ďA Dollís House Part 2Ē is so worth seeing, even with its structural and dramatic weaknesses.

A.W.

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