A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2
MAY 1 – 26, 2019
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE MAY 9 AT 8 PM
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Will Davis
Run Time: TBA
Part of the Student Theatre Series*
The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre
Partial support for open captioning provided by TDF
OPENING NIGHT SPONSOR
ABOUT THE SHOW
Nora made the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life of her own. Many years have passed since she decided to slam the door on everything. Now, Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind? Hnath’s ingenious take on Nora’s story delivers explosive laughs and a thoughtful meditation on marriage.
“…lucid and absorbing…Modern in its language, mordant in its humor and suspenseful in its plotting…the play judiciously balances conflicting ideas about freedom, love and responsibility.” – Time Out NY
*Long Wharf’s Student Theatre Series hosts 10:30 AM matinees dedicated to student audiences. Student Matinees for A Doll’s House, Part 2 are on Thursdays, May 16th and 23rd, 2019.
MEET THE CAST & THE DIRECTOR
MAGGIE BOFILL (Nora) is an Actor/Playwright, proud Cuban-American, brought up in Indiana, now a die-hard New Yorker. She is a founding member of LAByrinth Theater Company, member of Ensemble Studio Theater, and WAW, WomanArtistWriters (Dorset Theater Festival). Most recently, she played Marisol in NYLON, by Sofia Alvarez (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) (Dir. Knudd Adams). Right before she played God in God Shows Up, by Peter Felicia at The Playroom NYC (Dir. Christopher Scott). As a writer (Pen name Maggie Diaz Bofill) she has had five New York productions. Her play Devil of Choice, produced last spring by LAByrinth to a sold out run (with David Zayas), will be going to The Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, where she will be playing the role of Delia. TV: “The Path,” “Smash,” “Law & Order: SVU.” She thanks Long Wharf Theatre, Will, Lucas, and cast! May it be the first of many!
JORGE CORDOVA (Torvald) NY Theater credits include: [PORTO] (off-Broadway, WP Theater with Bushwick Starr and New Georges), Universal Robots (Gideon Productions/Sheen Center), Lady Day (The Little Shubert), Family Play: 1979 – Present (Collaboration Town), Bonedive Scrounger (The Brick). Television: “Billions” (Showtime), “Tales of The City” (Netflix), “New Amsterdam” (NBC), “Seven Seconds” (Netflix), “Blacklist” (NBC), “Blue Bloods” (CBS), “Madame Secretary” (CBS). Film: The Visit (dir. M. Night Shyamalan).
WILL DAVIS (Director) is a director and choreographer. Recent and upcoming projects include: Road Show by Sondheim and Weidman for Encores!; Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins for Shakespeare Theatre Company; India Pale Ale by Jaclyn Backhaus for MTC; The Carpenter by Rob Askins for The Alley Theatre; Bobbie Clearly by Alex Lubischer for Roundabout Underground; Charm by Philip Dawkins for MCC; Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus for Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons, for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award. Duat by Daniel Alexander Jones for Soho Rep; Sorry Robot by Mike Iveson for PS122’s COIL Festival; Evita for the Olney Theatre Center, for which he was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for outstanding direction, and Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker also for the Olney Theatre Center, for which he won a Helen Hayes award for outstanding direction. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship and BAX (Brooklyn Art Exchange) artist in residence program.
SASHA DIAMOND (Emmy) Broadway: Significant Other. Off-Broadway: Teenage Dick (The Public Theater); Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Theatre); Kentucky, Double Suicide at Ueno Park! (Ensemble Studio Theatre); The Wong Kids (Ma-Yi Theater Company). Regional: Safe Space (upcoming at Bay Street Theatre); The Birds, Peerless (Barrington Stage Company); The Winners (HotCity Theatre). TV: “Murphy Brown” (CBS), “Blindspot” (NBC), “The Romanoffs” (Amazon), “High Maintenance” (HBO), “Half Life” (Outta Brooklyn). Film: Trick (dir. Patrick Lussier). Proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.
MIA KATIGBAK (Anne Marie) Selected NYC: Henry VI (NAATCO), The Trial of the Catonsville Nine (Transport Group), Recent Alien Abductions (PlayCo), Scenes From a Marriage (NYTW), Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band (Ma-Yi), Dear Elizabeth (Women’s Project), Awake and Sing! (NAATCO, Obie Award), I’ll Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr). Other NYC: New Group, Foundry, New Georges, Soho Rep, Clubbed Thumb, Target Margin, Intar. Regional: Sharon Playhouse, Humana Festival, Two River Theater, Berkeley Rep., Guthrie, Swine Palace. 2017 Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship for Distinguished Achievement, Actors Equity Foundation’s St. Clair Bayfield Award, Otto René Castillo Award for Political Theater, IT Artistic Achievement Award. Artistic Producing Director/ Co-Founder of NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company), Founding director of CAATA (Consortium of Asian American Theaters & Artists). BA, Barnard College; MA, Columbia University.
AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR WILL DAVIS
By Christine Scarfuto
Henrik Ibsen’s iconic play A Doll’s House was originally produced in 1879 at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. The play tells the story of Nora, a wife and mother who commits fraud to save her husband Torvald’s life. When Torvald finds out the truth about what she has done, he’s outraged out of concern for his reputation instead of grateful for the tremendous sacrifices she has made for him. In what dramatist George Bernard Shaw called “the door slam heard round the world,” a disillusioned Nora leaves her husband and children in order to find her own way in the world.
The play caused a great scandal when it was first produced, as Ibsen questioned the fate of married women and their lack of opportunities for self-fulfillment. Marriage was considered sacred in 19th century Europe, and so the ending of Ibsen’s play was highly controversial. For the German premiere, Ibsen was asked to change the ending of the play so that Nora would stay with her family, which Ibsen later called a “barbaric outrage.” He wrote that “a woman cannot be herself in a modern society” since it is an “exclusively male society with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint.”
Lucas Hnath’s 2017 play A Doll’s House, Part 2 begins 15 years after Nora walked out the door, and examines the issues Ibsen raised in the original text: how things have changed, and how they haven’t. Literary Manager Christine Scarfuto recently sat down with Director Will Davis to discuss the production.
Q: What was your experience reading the play for the first time?
A: I loved how complex the irony was. We have this sense that so much must have changed in the world when Nora walks back in the door. Instead we realize that things may have changed for Nora but here in Torvald’s house everything is exactly as she left it—if not worse. As a result Nora and Torvald can barely understand each other because they come from such fundamentally different realities. Lucas Hnath uses the circumstances of Nora’s story to show us that both inside the fiction of the play and in our day to day lives nothing has really changed regarding our assumptions and definitions of gender roles and gender identity.
Q: A Doll’s House is part of the theatrical canon, and is one of the most celebrated plays in history. What was your first experience with Ibsen’s play?
A: I went on a bit of an Ibsen bender in undergrad. I was so captivated by how subversive his work was to his peers when he wrote it. I think of the western canon as the history of the avant-garde. The works that have endured are examples of scandalous, revolutionary and subversive thinking that has been normalized over time. The canon has almost zero visibility for folks who are not white straight men, so it isn’t a very accurate representation of our history, but still there is some value to thinking how these plays that seemed so frightening were in conversation with other artists and thinkers of the same time.
Q: Can you talk about the relationship of Hnath’s play to the original text? Why do you think it’s important for us to revisit this story right now?
A: Nora is a revolutionary, and one of the things about revolution is that any idea of radical change must often be applied with blunt force; such is the unstoppable power of inertia. I love the way Hnath’s Nora comes back in the door and does not flinch at the task in front of her. She decides to fight her battle on her terms, from her own perspective, and with her own words, which is the harder path to take. Hnath could have written a woman returning to apologetically ask for a favor but instead he draws on the power Ibsen installed in Nora’s core and gives us a 21st Century experience of what it must have been like to sit in the audience in 1880 when Nora walked out the door the first time.
Q: Nora is this character that was hugely controversial in her time: Ibsen was famously asked to rewrite the ending of the play so that Nora stayed with her children. Nora has now become a feminist icon of sorts, even though if a woman in 2019 were to do what Nora did, she would likely face similar criticism. How has the way we perceive the Noras of the world changed?
A: In my opinion the way we perceive Nora has not changed. Our culture expects women to do magic tricks and exist as multiple people at the same time. We reserve the right to blame a woman for being too selfish and in the same moment too timid. Inside this awful paradigm women have pushed back on ideas that conveniently trap them in the judgement of others. They are submitted to criticism and ridicule as a result, but watching women insist on their right to power anyway is so inspiring to me. I think of the president barely tolerating the female lawmakers of the House and Senate during the State of the Union and I am awash in feelings of gratitude for the Noras in the world.
Q: What inspirations did you draw on in approaching this production?
A: Oddly enough I’ve been very inspired by Hedda Gabler for this production. The thread of a Dionysian bacchanal that runs through that play has had a big influence on the scenic design. We’ve tried to juxtapose the natural organic world and the regimented “manmade” world to illustrate the showdown between natural and artificial powers at work in Torvald and Nora’s argument. In Hedda Gabler, Hedda describes how Eilert is going to return with vines in his hair. She has this obsession with the wild courage and free spirited chaos she attributes to Eilert and so imagines him crowned with vines like the Roman god of wine.
The design is also heavily inspired by the shape of traditional Noh theater design. The long plank-like corridor off stage is an homage to the bridgeway in a Noh theater that ferries both the dead and the living into our world from outside.
Lastly the color, texture and line of the costumes are loosely inspired by the Suffragette movement. There are small nods here and there to an ideological battle between oppressive structure and the flow of new ideas.