If You Go
What: A Doll’s House, Part 2
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, Oct. 2-6; 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6
Where: Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre in the UTC Fine Arts Center.
Tickets: $10 for students with UTC ID; $12 general public; go to https://bit.ly/2DCMVJU, call (423) 425-4269 or buy them at the UTC Fine Arts Center box office.
Information: A Doll’s House, Part 2 contains adult language.
What would you do if the wife and mother that walked out on you 15 years earlier suddenly knocked on your front door?
That’s the premise of “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” the latest production by the UTC Theatre Company. A follow-up to Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” from 1879, it details the return of Nora, now a successful feminist novelist who’s coming back to finalize the divorce from her husband, Torvald.
“A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which debuted in 2017 received eight Tony nominations, including Best Play.
“It’s a very smart play,” says director Gaye Jeffers. “It’s not a rimshot, comedy play. It’s a thinking play trying to imagine how the world should be all these years past 1879 when Ibsen wrote the first play and realizing how much has not really changed.”
When those involved in the production were having meetings on how to stage and interpret it, Jeffers says the “mantra” was: “‘It’s still 1894’ because so much has not progressed.”
Senior Brianna Jones plays Nora and says she feels a “personal connection” to the character. No, she hasn’t walked out on a marriage; it’s Nora’s fiery nature and dedication to her beliefs that feel familiar, Jones says.
“Once you find what you’re passionate about, that fire that ignites inside of you and just wanting to share it with other people,” Jones says.
“You’re so hopeful that everyone will hear you out and be onboard. The fact that the things that we go through in today’s society can directly relate to things that they go through back then and things that people will probably go through in the future, it’s like: Are we really listening to each other?”
In the play, Nora has a close relationship with Anne-Marie, the nanny who raised her and now is taking care of Nora’s children as well as Torvald. She is something of a foil to Nora, being the type of person Nora no longer wants to be.
Junior Bailey Braden has the role of Anne-Marie and describes “A Doll’s House, Part 2” as “this really fun rollercoaster.”
“There’s no contact, no idea where Nora has gone, what she’s doing,” Braden explains. “So when she comes back, it kind of starts this really fun rollercoaster that you get to follow of the reunion,” she says.
“There’s all this pent-up emotions,” she says. “You get to follow the ups and downs of: How do you deal with that? How do you deal with that fact that this woman, one of my best friends, she’s back all of a sudden?”
For those worried that “A Doll’s House, Part 2” will use the same type of language and phrasing that Ibsen wrote in 1879, which would sound very stilted and odd, Jeffers says don’t fret.
“It uses contemporary language and contemporary phrasing, so it’s not stuffy in that way,” she says. “It’s very approachable for a 21st-century audience.”