Photo – Dylan Evans
The slamming of the door heard around the world is reverberating in Brisbane this month and it is a pulsing that should not to be ignored.
The most produced play in the world (outside of Shakespeare), Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House has been given new life for the 2014 Brisbane Festival in a new version by Lally Katz, directed by Steven Mitchell Wright.
You can hear Lally Katz’ fast-paced, bold and story-book voice in the work, which brings new life to the play without betraying the original.
During moments of revelation and reflection – of which of course, there’s a few – the play breaks into song – seemingly simple lullabies and childlike chants – theatrically unlocking the key moments of work, heightening the fable that the story is.
Tree roots are breaking into the stunning set of this work, with its wooden floor, deliberately mapped out staging, and built up clutter behind a plastic sheet serving as a backdrop. Dan Potra, a designer who has worked on over 120 productions (including opera, film, stage, a Commonwealth game or two and the Olympics) has created design that draws you into this world of secrets, surprises and a revolutionary transition out of tradition.
Steven Mitchell Wright (known for his work with The Danger Ensemble and last year’s Brisbane Festival / La Boite collaboration The Wizard of Oz) has stylised the crumbling of the doll’s house as the characters (almost) never look at each other, never quite connect – as though the mechanics of this doll’s house are out of sync, falling further and further apart as the façade of all the characters fade.
Each performer was brilliant on stage – I felt greedy in the audience, wanting to see more of them, waiting to discover what would happen then next time they appeared. I couldn’t single one performer out because all five – Chris Beckey, Damien Cassidy, Helen Christinson, Cienda McNamara and Hugh Parker – were just outstanding.
I was fortunate enough to see the play surrounding by a group of high school students and their teacher. Discussion through the two intervals, and their audible reactions during the show (which yes, can be distracting, but I couldn’t help but get caught up in their joyful experience) all suggested that they were having as a good time as I.
I think one of the students summed it up simply and sweetly, much better than I could: “Oh my god. That was soooo goood. So good! I want to see it again.”
I do encourage every-one to go out, see this production, make up your own mind and tell others what you thought.
La Boite and Brisbane Festival Present
A DOLL’S HOUSE
by Henrik Ibsen in a new version by Lally Katz
Director Steven Mitchell Wright
Venue: La Boite Theatre Company
Dates: 6 – 27 September, 2014
Tickets: $25 - $68