A Doll’s House, Part 2: I got plenty and wanted more

publicity photo for A Doll's House, Part 2

(Photo of Melissa Oei and Tom McBeath by Javier Sotres)

There’s a knock on the door. How else could it start?

In Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 script A Doll’s House, Nora, the heroine, leaves her suffocating marriage, her husband Torvald, her three young children, and her bourgeois life. And she slams the door on the way out. Famously, that slam echoed around the world. Ibsen’s protofeminism was considered so scandalous that A Doll’s House was banned in several countries. But the play was a sensation.

In A Doll’s House, Part 2, American playwright Lucas Hnath dares to create a sequel to this classic.

In it, Nora returns after 15 years and knocks on the very door she slammed. She’s back because she needs something. [Read more…]

Seventeen to seventy in seventy minutes

publicity photo for Seventeen

(Photo of Stephen Aberle and Suzanne Ristic by Javier Sotres)

As is so often the case, the acting is better than the writing.

Seventeen is about a group of friends (mostly), who have gathered in a playground to celebrate their last day of high school by getting hammered. As determined by Seventeen’s playwright Matthew Whittet, the teenagers in this show are all played by senior actors.

The potential pitfalls of this set-up are, of course, stereotyping and overacting. On opening night of Western Gold Theatre’s production, which was directed by Michael Fera, the first scene made me fear the worst: there was a lot of boisterous enthusiasm.

But, for the most part, the fault isn’t with the performers. The set-up, with its repeated shouts of “Beer!” begs for this kind of delivery.

I’m going to talk a bit more about problems with the script, then I’ll get into the strengths of the production. [Read more…]

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