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A Doll's House - Tara Arts Theatre and Greenwich Theatre

A Doll's House

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING successful tours of Lady Windermere’s Fan, Metamorphosis and Lysistrata, Theatrical Niche is presenting Alice Knapton and Venetia Twigg’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at Tara Arts Theatre – on May 3 and 4, 2018.

Exploring themes of mental wellness, controlling behaviour and loss, Theatrical Niche – supported by Arts Council England – tour this touching and artful adaptation across the UK and Ireland in Spring 2018, using characteristic touches of choreography and verbatim theatre.

The Helmers are an iconic power couple. They excel at work, staying on top, they excel at excelling. But as his autobiography rolls out, it seems there are a few things that Mr. Helmer did not mention.

This modern re-telling of Ibsen’s classic tale explores stigmas around gender and mental health and focuses on the impossible idolisation of one ‘perfect’ woman, by a man who walks with weights around his ankles.

A Doll’s House is widely known as the first feminist play, but this adaptation asks where the male lead is coming from too. Why does Nora need to borrow money in order to cover up his murky past? Why does Torvald feel the need to control her in the way that he does? Approaching the text from a modern standpoint, director Alice Sillet asks how we relate to this behaviour now.

Working alongside charities for Mental Health and Emotional Abuse (including Mind and Mental Health Awareness campaigner, Jonny Benjamin MBE), Theatrical Niche will book-end each Act of Ibsen’s play with the real words of Mental Health sufferers as well as the victims of Controlling Behaviour – told through Verbatim. Amy Lawrence then uses physical theatre to movement direct a feeling of manipulation, choreographing a physical response to the verbatim, which echoes throughout the play.

On this production, Co-Writer Alice Knapton said: “Ibsen’s writing is a gift as his characters, relationships and stories have transcended the centuries. We can recognise them in ourselves and others today. The problems his characters face are the ones we still face. These characters are real, complex, multi-faceted people – many hiding dark secrets.”

Co-Writer Venetia Twigg added: “We’ve worked hard to combine the text and the verbatim, in order to reach a script that tells the particular story of this family, whilst illuminating so many other parallel stories at the same time. Hopefully, we ask the audience some questions about how we both perceive and tackle these issues in 2018. It’s all about re-building Ibsen’s story now – how things have changed, and how sadly, much hasn’t.”

The cast is Alice Knapton, Henry Regan, Sheri Sadd, Joseph McCarthy and Venetia Twigg.

A Doll’s House is suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £14.50, £12.50 concessions. To book, visit www.tara-arts.com/whats-on/a-dolls-house.

Time: 7:30pm.

NB: A Doll’s House will also be performed at Greenwich Theatre on Wednesday, June 13 and Thursday, June 14, 2018 at 7.30pm. Tickets (£15, £12.50 concessions) are available online at www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/dolls-house.