“A Doll’s House” is currently running at the El Paso Playhouse. The production, written by one of the world’s most influential playwrights, Henrik Ibsen, premiered in 1879 in Denmark. The play is an allegorical look at societal norms regarding the convention of marriage, particularly how a wife is expected to act. Although written more than a century ago, many of the conventions portrayed in “A Doll’s House” still hold true today.
Nora Helmer, graciously portrayed by the very energetic Eurydice Saucedo, is a lithe spirit, vivacious and eager to please her husband, Torvald Helmer (played by Matthew Minnich). Nora is bound by a set of social mores and norms in her role as a wife and mother, transforming her into the ultimate trophy wife. Nora is always elegantly dressed and groomed with nary a hair out of place nor a crease on her skirt.
Torvald speaks to Nora as if she were a child, continuously referring to her as “skylark” and “squirrel.” On the surface, these euphemisms seem innocent, endearing even; however, throughout the play, it’s revealed the names are a guise for a deeper, more condescending treatment of Nora. At one point, Torvald’s patronizing attitude hits an all-time low after he learns she borrowed money from the less-than-savory lawyer Nils Krogstad – brilliantly played by Alex Bull. Nonetheless, he forgives Nora and says, “Your womanly helplessness makes you doubly attractive.”
Almost every aspect of Nora’s existence is controlled, from her monetary allowance to her outfit for a holiday costume party. Nora takes Torvald’s demands and expectations in stride, happily obliging him with a servile and obsequious “yes, dear” attitude. It becomes increasingly evident the play’s title refers to Nora: she is the doll living within her tiny four-wall house, the living room.
It is not until the end of the last act that Nora determines she and Torvald have been living as complete strangers for the duration of their union. She boldly decides to pack up and leave him, literally letting her hair down, donning a pair of jeans and walking off stage to begin a new life.
“A Doll’s House”
Directed by Veronica Frescas
El Paso Playhouse, 2501 Montana Ave.
Fridays and Saturdays: March 4, 5, 11, 12 – 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 6 – 2 p.m.
$11 general admission, $9 seniors (62+),
$8 students and military
For reservations, call 915-532-1317
Visit El Paso Playhouse’s website for more info.
See KVIA’s interview with the lead actors here.