Pin It
Favorite

THEATER | Nora 

click to enlarge arts_culture6-1.jpg

In 1981, one year before the release of his epic-length Fanny and Alexander (more than five hours in its televised entirety), Ingmar Bergman picked up A Doll's House with a view to trimming its fat. The famed director slimmed Henrik Ibsen's play to its principal quintet and cut dialogue, condensing three acts into two and achieving that severe brevity of form for which the Swedes are renowned. His adaptation focused — to the exclusion of nearly all else — on Nora Helmer and her self-emancipation in the face of her husband Torvald's complacency and condescension. Nothing speaks to his essentialist approach better than its one-word title.

Directed here by Wes Deitrick, Bergman's pared-down reworking is well suited to Stage Left's unusual venue, which has no dedicated backstage, curtain or elevated rostrum. Nora (Nicole Petrilli) is in all but one scene; the others wait upstage in statuesque stillness, half-obscured by panels or screens and bathed in light of solid colors. When they do enter, it's silently and suddenly, like ghosts manifesting in a room.

The cast doesn't seem entirely comfortable with this nontraditional staging. More than once, the terseness of Bergman's script leads to awkward interplay, and the characters' existentialism is generally interpreted as impassivity (any talk of "unspeakable emptiness" really ought to have some heft to it). On opening night that took a serious toll on pacing, exacerbated by some actors' dubious command of their lines. The resentment and despair that culminate in Nora's leaving are theoretically there on paper, but the lasting image is of an all-too-pathetic Torvald (Jason Young) left to weep in self-pity as the lights dim. Unlike the original, it ends not with the bang of a slammed door, but a whimper.

A Doll's House and its still-provocative ending — if not pro-feminist, then at least anti-patriarchal — resulted in scandal and sellout shows when it debuted, and the play clearly resonated enough with audiences to have played a part in theatrical repertoires for more than a century by the time Bergman revised it. Ironically, Bergman had played his own part in four failed marriages when his adaptation first appeared. Maybe Torvald would have been a more fitting title.

Nora • Through Nov. 24: Fri and Sat at 7:30 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $10 • Spokane Stage Left • 108 W. Third • spokanestageleft.org • 838-9727

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Mind Games
  • Mind Games

    The Inland Northwest is home to a sizable and highly competitive community of Magic: The Gathering players
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • Kennel Club Cribs
  • Kennel Club Cribs

    What it's like to spend a night in the cold just to get a good seat for the Zags game
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • Mosey On In, You're Part of History
  • Mosey On In, You're Part of History

    Distilled: A shot of life
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
Hemingway Festival: Max Eberts & NoViolet Bulawayo

Hemingway Festival: Max Eberts & NoViolet Bulawayo @ The Kenworthy

Thu., March 5, 7:30-9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by E.J. Iannelli

  • Get Thee to a Nunnery
  • Get Thee to a Nunnery

    After more than a decade, the all-male version of the popular musical Nunsense returns to the Civic stage
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • Garland University of the Arts
  • Garland University of the Arts

    One small strip of businesses can teach you to sew, quilt, act, paint, weave and play the bass
    • Feb 18, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Trapped by Debt

    Reflecting on the financial — and emotional — toll of student loans
    • Feb 11, 2015
  • The Food Guru

    The timing couldn't be better for food expert Alton Brown to check out Spokane's dining scene
    • Feb 25, 2015
  • More »

© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation