July 29, 2014
A Doll’s House gets refreshing update
For the Herald
Playwright Henrik Ibsen stars in a contemplative, novel take on his masterpiece
Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is back on stage in an updated contemporary version. Griselda Gambaro rewrites the Norwegian play with a specific focus on the author’s reality, back in the 1880s. Directed by Silvio Lang, this new version includes unanswered questions about the period’s customary behaviour, as well as women’s role in family and society. Nora — the main character — is performed by Belén Blanco, who stands out with a very physical performance, incorporating a new perspective on Ibsen’s popular character.
A Doll’s House is known as an emblematic middle-class-portrayal play, where tradition and social pressure take centre stage. When first released, Nora’s story stood out by confronting the period’s conservative image of women. Even though Ibsen’s play questions the established conventions of his time, Gambaro’s update shows not only the aspirations that society had, but the ones Ibsen could not realize at the time. Querido Ibsen, soy Nora incorporates the Norwegian author — performed by Edgardo Castro — as a character in his own play. The dialogue between Ibsen and Nora — who is constantly questioning him and herself about why she acts the way she does — brings a new perspective on the playwright’s drama. Other characters also question the author, but mostly about issues related to Nora’s situation.
The acting is marked by the predominance of extremely physical performances, contrasting with the prevailing naturalism that defined the original Norwegian drama. A piano, a couch and a clothes rack are the only elements on stage. Every item — including the costumes — is black and grey, adding a sense of seriousness and elegance to the story. While the previous season — staged at the San Martín Theatre — made the most of the contrast between the oppressive black and the white performance space which helped the set design stand out, this revival — set on a black stage — focuses more on the direction of actors, leading to a more dynamic and entertaining result.
The play features great performances. Patricio Aramburu embodies the harmful Krogstad, Ezequiel Diaz incarnates Torvald — Nora’s lovely and complaisant husband — and Esteban Masturini plays Dr Rank. The three of them render impeccable performances, accompanying Nora’s character as well as generating their own individuality. Victoria Roland makes for a daunting Kristine, Nora’s old friend. Pochi Ducasse incarnates the family’s maid presenting a delightful performance.
This contemporary version of Ibsen’s classic is a summarized adaptation, made of multiples fragments. The live score contributes to the theatrical decisions Lang makes, by giving the musician a full presence on stage throughout the play. Lang also creates a visible break-up with 19th century imagery, as well as the period’s theatrical conventions.
Even though Querido Ibsen, soy Nora works as an intervention on Ibsen’s drama, both plays spin around the same topics: women’s role, society, pressure and personal decisions. Two different ways of tackling problems that — disregarding distances — still seems relevant today.
Where and when
Teatro Hasta Trilce, Maza 177. On Mondays at 9pm. Tickets from 60 pesos.