Friday, 25 July 2014

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

It's been a long while since I've read any Ibsen (and Hedda Gabler was the work of choice in the drama classes I took.)

It's hard to review plays - I read quickly, but I purposely try to stretch books over multiple days so that they have time to sink into my long-term memory. I read this at a gulp.

A Doll's House is the story of Nora, treated as a child by her husband, happy in that role, but carrying around the secret that she borrowed money to take her husband on a trip that his doctors say saved his life. When her secret is threatened with revelation, Nora finds that the action she took with pride and hope has become a morass of legal difficulties and blackmail.

But more than that, it reveals to her deep fissures in her relationship, that her husband is not who she thought he was, that she herself is seen in a moment of crisis as disposable, a mere adjunct to his own personal drama.

This play takes place over a short period of time, a time in which Nora discovers she has been treated as a doll in a dollhouse, given no opportunity to find who she is. It is a quiet plea for women and their ability to be full human beings, despite the obstacles put in their way.

I've never seen A Doll's House in performance, but I think I'd like to.

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