Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama, A Doll’s House, is a beautifully haunting and tragic play with huge historical significance. Considered the birth of the modern drama as we know it, audiences were seeing real life situations enacted out on stage, snapshots of life, in a new dramatic form, realism. It also has a landmark leading female role that in the male-dominated society of late 1800s Norway seemed to foretell a future of independent thought for women.
When the curtain went up on opening night in 1879, everything changed. For the first time people were seeing a woman onstage making independent decisions, decisions that would basically pull apart the family unit and that was unheard of. It started a whole new way of thinking that women have the ability to think for themselves.
Set in Norway in the 1870s in her family home in a metropolitan town, Nora (Shannon Thomas) lives with her husband and three children.
“We can relate to what is happening in A Doll’s House with the awakening of Nora because her issues are relevant to women today: family, Christmas, being short of money and starting a new job,” said Patricia Rowling, the play’s Director/Producer.
“The language is quite modern but at the same time rich and dense and is heavily laden with symbolism, it’s full of amazing imagery, every line in the text has an absolute purpose,” she added.
And that is perhaps why A Doll’s House is on the HSC syllabus this year for two unit English and Drama. The matinee shows at the iconic Bondi Pavilion Theatre are aimed at school groups.
Rowling and husband Kyle took over from Shakespeare By The Sea, when founder David MacSwan sadly passed away in 2011, renaming it Bard on the Beach. They have expanded their repertoire of performances to include well-loved classics as well as Shakespeare.
Jun 19-23. Bondi Pavillion Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach. $16.50-$27.50+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.bardonthebeach.net
By Mel Somerville.