Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in Broadway's 'A Doll's House Part 2.' Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

Deeper Dive: ‘A Doll’s House’ and ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’


All eyes are sure to be on the first-ever repertory stagings of A Doll’s House and A Doll’s House, Part 2


A Doll's House and A Doll's House, Part 2A DOLL’S HOUSE:
  • Written by: Henrik Ibsen; translated by Frank McGuinness
  • Year written: 1879
  • Broadway debut: 1889 (with 12 revivals since)
  • Genre: Norwegian family drama
  • Director: Artistic Director Chris Coleman
  • Dates: September 6-November 24, 2019 (Opens September 21)
  • Where: Ricketson Theatre
  • The play at a glance: Nora’s life is a picture-perfect portrait, complete with a doting husband, gleeful children and the small pleasures of her 1870s Norwegian home. But underneath her wide-eyed demeanor lies a deceit that she fears will tear her family apart. As the consequences stack up to reveal deeper flaws in her relationship, she slams the door on her marriage to assert her independence in this heart-wrenching and gripping production.
  • Quote from the script: “You’re my prize possession. Why can’t I watch you? Watch the lovely girl who is mine, mine entirely. You’re mine.” Torvald.
  • About the author: Henrik Ibsen, born in 1828 in Norway, introduced to the European stage a new order of moral analysis that was placed against a severely realistic middle-class background and developed with economy of action, penetrating dialogue and rigorous thought. (From
  • Says Coleman: “Many of you know the original. Nora is in what seems like a perfect marriage, and her husband has just gotten a great promotion. But you learn through the course of the action that she took some pretty big risks to rescue her husband early on in their marriage. And some of those risks, she realizes, were really dangerous for her to have taken. As the story progresses, she realizes she has to completely reevaluate that the marriage. It’s a seminal play because it was one of the first strong stories of a woman grabbing hold of her own destiny, and in many ways, it marked the beginning of modern drama. It’s really suspenseful, brilliant writing.”
  • From the author: “There are two kinds of moral laws; two kinds of conscience – one for men and one quite different for women. They don’t understand each other. But in practical life, woman is judged by masculine law, as though she weren’t a woman but a man.”
  • What the critics have said about A Doll’s House: Ibsen’s premiere staging caused a “storm of outraged controversy that went beyond the theatre to society and the world’s newspapers,” according to the Oxford University Press. Ibsen contemporary Halvdan Koht wrote that A Doll’s House “exploded like a bomb into contemporary life.”
  • Fun fact: When Ibsen first organized his thoughts on the play, he titled his outline: “Notes for a Modern Tragedy.”

Read more: How rock star playwright brought A Doll’s House, Part 2 to Broadway

  • Written by: Lucas Hnath
  • Year written: 2017
  • Broadway debut: 2017
  • Director: Rose Riordan
  • Dates: September 6-November 24, 2019 (Opens September 21)
  • Where: Ricketson Theatre
  • The play at a glance: Fifteen years later, the proto-feminist heroine’s unexpected return cuts through the subtext to confront her decisions head-on in this Tony-nominated, contemporary sequel. Asking for favors instead of forgiveness, the proudly independent woman demands help from the family she left behind. But as she hilariously roasts the society she has shunned, her husband and children get their long-awaited chance to stand their ground. A Doll’s House, Part 2 snappily filters the still-prevalent pressures of motherhood and self-fulfillment through a modern perspective.
  • Quote from the script: “I’m not the same person who left through that door. I’m a very different person.” Nora.
  • About the author: Hnath grew up in Orlando, where he developed what he calls his “penchant for theatricality” from visits to Disney World. During his freshman year at NYU, where he was on a pre-med track, he fell in love with the plays of Sam Shepard, Edward Albee and Caryl Churchill, and switched into the dramatic writing program. He had his first professional success in 2012 at the Humana Festival in Louisville, with Death Tax. (From Vogue).
  • Says Coleman: “The Nora we meet in Part 2 is older, wiser, a little more haggard and much sassier. It is a hilarious play and also a really interesting discussion of gender roles and women’s roles and how men and women interact.”
  • Says Hnath: “This play came out of such a love and appreciation of Ibsen’s work and finding this is a great excuse to spend more time with Ibsen and try to get inside his skin.”
  • What the critics have said about A Doll’s House, Part 2: “A Doll House, Part 2, is a completely original work that can entertain and stimulate on its own,” Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up. … “Smart, funny and utterly engrossing.” Ben Brantley, The New York Times.
  • Why do these plays in rep? “This is a unique opportunity for our audiences to see these two plays in combination,” said Coleman. “It will be scheduled so that you can see them on different days, or both on one day. As we’re discussing how women’s roles and relationships between genders are shifting, I think this is a really interesting, meaty conversation for us to have with the community. The thing that I find most exciting is the opportunity for the audience to compare and contrast, and to see how the characters have evolved. That’s unique. I also think Part 2 is going to be even funnier when you have just seen Part 1. I’m excited about all of it. “This is going to be really, really fun.”
  • Fun facts: Director Rose Riordan is currently at the Denver Center rehearsing for the upcoming production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat. …  The Theatre Company presented Hnath’s play The Christians, about what happens when the foundation of a large community church are shaken, back in 2017.  … The very first iteration of A Doll’s House, Part 2 was directed by Denver Center favorite Shelley Butler (Human Error, The Constant Wife). … When Part 2 played on Broadway, Nora and Torvald were played by film stars Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper.
Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in Broadway's 'A Doll's House Part 2.' Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

Chris Cooper and Laurie Metcalf in Broadway’s ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2.’ Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

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