Do you want a quick recap of the controversial classic A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen before seeing A Doll's House, Part 2? Although you won’t need it to understand and enjoy this new production, you can read this excerpt from our IRT Study Guide or visit the additional resource links below to brush up on the plot!
A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath is a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s groundbreaking 1879 play A Doll’s House. As in much of his work, Ibsen’s play challenged the status quo by highlighting the hypocrisy of 19th century society.
In Ibsen’s original play, Nora and Torvald have three young children. Their marriage of eight years seems picture perfect: Torvald has a prestigious job at a bank, and Nora is the life of every party. But Nora has a secret: in a time where women were not allowed to make business decisions without their husbands, she forged her father’s signature to secure a loan. Her intentions were noble; she used the money to save her husband when he was deathly ill. Since then, Nora has scrimped and saved to pay back the money out of her household allowance. As the play begins, the loan is almost repaid, and Torvald remains unaware of his wife’s actions. Although Torvald often patronizes his wife, calling her his “little squirrel” and chastising her behavior, Nora is very much in love.
Problems surface when a bank employee threatens to reveal Nora’s forgery to the world. When Torvald learns of the situation, he condemns Nora for her immoral behavior, saying that she is unfit to raise her children, and that from now on their marriage will be only for show. But a friend of Nora’s inspires a change of heart in the potential blackmailer, and he gives Torvald the evidence he has against Nora. Relieved that his reputation is saved, Torvald forgives Nora for her misdeeds.
Nora, however, is shocked that Torvald believes she acted out of stupidity rather than courage or selfless love, and that the law would make her a criminal for protecting her husband’s life. She notes that she has always been controlled by a man, first her father, and then her husband, both of whom have treated her “like a little doll.” She realizes that she has no understanding of how the real world works outside the confines of her doll’s house. Declaring herself unfit to be a wife or mother until she has learned to understand the world and herself, she makes the difficult decision to leave her husband and children and strike out on her own. Torvald begs Nora to stay, but Nora leaves the house, slamming the door behind her.
Fast forward fifteen years to A Doll’s House, Part 2 and a knock at the same door that slammed all those years ago. Who is at the door? What do they want? Straight from Broadway, the fierce and funny stand-alone sequel A Doll’s House, Part 2 will have you laughing while seriously contemplating modern relationships and marriage.
More Resources about A Doll’s House and Henrik Ibsen:
Tickets for A Doll's House, Part 2 are available now! Visit irtlive.com or call the Ticket Office at 317.635.5252 for tickets and a full list of performance dates and times.
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