I always find that the most rewarding and exciting part of putting on a play is seeing how the audience receives your work and their reactions. The performance of the show really tied my work on the piece together and it was fascinating to watch the other audience member’s responses. Earlier, I looked at reviews of “A Doll’s House” and examined how the original critiques of the work consisted of issues with Nora’s behavior and decision to leave Torvald. Throughout the rehearsal process, we discussed how the expectations of women in society have changed. However, when I saw the show, it was so interesting to see that the audience not only sided with Nora, but hated Torvald. The men and women around me were cringing and looked so uncomfortable after Torvald read Krogstad’s letter. They were appalled by Torvald’s abusive reaction, rather than Nora’s decision to leave. I think the thing that would have been the most shocking to this audience would have been if Nora came back, like in the revised version that Ibsen wrote. Nevertheless, the production was successful in turning the tables and making Torvald out to be the bad guy.
The gestures were also extremely powerful. Nora’s squirrel-like hand trembles really conveyed a sense of urgency and worry. I felt uncomfortable just watching her. Her fast jerky motions as compared to the rest of the cast’s much slower and calmer gestures also intensified her nerves. Ms. Linde especially contradicted her with her steady and smooth actions, tranquil diction and sensible manner when she was next to Nora.
One of the most common threads that I saw in my research of past and current productions of “A Doll’s House” was that productions all over the world aimed to somehow speak to the culture and people of their time period. They tried to push audiences to think about women’s rights and gender inequality in a modern setting, not just the 1800’s. Even productions that were not staged in the modern day, such as this one, tried to put a mirror up and ask how far women have come in society. This performance really succeeded in questioning the audience with the exchanges between Torvald and Nora in Act III, Nora and Linde’s initial discussion in Act I and Nora and Rank’s weird relationship. I talked to the people next to me in the performance and it was clear that the message of the piece really resonated with them.