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Friday, October 13, 2017

A Doll's House (Walterdale Theatre) - still so incredibly relevant...

I took in the Opening Night performance of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen at Walterdale Theatre  this past Wednesday evening. I knew what was coming, having read much of Ibsen in my 20s and 30s, and revisiting some of it in my 40s. What struck me was how sadly relevant it still is today. It spoke sharply to the defined roles that people impose on themselves and others with regards to marriage and parenthood and life in general and that need to find and understand oneself outside those expectations. It speaks also to societal judgement and the implications of stepping out of line morally and the personal and professional ramifications of moral missteps. I see it all around me - particularly in our social media world - the implications of social shaming for errors combined with the need to present a near-perfect persona to the world. I'm torn on some of this in today's world because I find social media shaming morally abhorrent in many situations... but I digress...

It is this fear of judgement from the outside world that guides Torvald, along with his expectations of his roles and Nora's within a marriage. Nora has bought into those roles because she has been told they are correct and while she is living a pleasant life there is no reason to question them. It's when things are not going so well that the social order is challenged and Nora wakes up, or decides she needs to wake up.

We can dismiss this world as being of it's time, but I don't think it is. I know people today who buy into that philosophy of having to appear perfect and without flaws - just look at the nearest Instagram feed, each selfie composed thoughtfully and artfully demonstrating a life to envy. Look at the kids dressed as tiny adults in designer clothes - little dolls dressed up to highlight the perfection of their family. All vacation and no real life. There are many doll's houses in our world today, created by a code of superficiality and lack of real depth. So many people today, like Nora then, do not truly know themselves. They can quote the deep and complicated articles they read in their Facebook and Twitter feeds but upon questioning their rote responses indicate they do not fully understand what they are saying. They, like Nora, are having fun but they are not truly happy...

Anyhow, as you can see it gave me a lot to think about and I truly believe that it is an extremely relevant piece today. Kudos to the cast for excellent commitment to a challenging script and to the entire team for creating the world.

A Doll's House runs until October 21st at the Walterdale Theatre.
Tickets can be purchased at Tix On The Square (780.420.1757 or or through the Box Office 1 hour prior to show start. There is a Pay-What-You-Can night on Tuesday, October 17th and a Talk Back on Wednesday, October 18th.

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