Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) was a Norwegian playwright, most notable for his play, A Doll’s House, which premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 21, 1879. The play was critically acclaimed due to its devisive theme (for its time) women’s rights, though Ibsen claimed that he did not consciously strive for the promotion of the women’s rights movement.
Ingmar Bergman (1918- 2007) was a Swedish writer, producer, and director for stage, film and television. Thinking that Ibsen did not go far enough with the ending of this controversial play, Bergman adapted Ibsen’s A Doll House in Swedish and re-titled it Nora. The English translation, by Frederick J. Marker and Lise-Lone Marker, is running now at The Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice. It is an intriguing production directed by company member Dana Jackson.
The play tells of the marriage of Torvald Helmer (Brad Greenquist) and Nora Helmer (Jeanette Driver). Torvald has a commanding personality and treats his beautiful wife as if she were a child, and at the same time, suppressing her and doting on her. She, however, believes that she has the perfect marriage, especially now that Torvald has been promoted at the bank and they won’t have any more financial problems. But Nora has a great many problems unknown to her husband, and when he is finally made aware of them, their marriage is totally transformed. It is than that Nora realizes that their marriage was not what she thought it was and that Torvald is not the man she thought he was. The play ends with a stunning climax, that in its day, was exceptionally contentious.
The adaptation by Bergman, though like the original by Ibsen, is spellbinding to the very end. Driver is absolutely the perfect model for Nora in her performance. Greenquist plays a domineering man, while at the same time, he can be playful and sexy with his wife as he fulfills his role. Other pertinent characters to the play, and extremely well presented, are Martha Hackett (Mrs. Linde), Scott Conte), and Bruce French (Doctor Rank).
Nora plays Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 PM through January 27, 2013, at Pacific Resident Theatre, located at 705 1/2 Venice Blvd. in Venice, CA. Tickets are available online at www.PacificResidentTheatre.com, or by calling (310) 822-8392.