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A Doll's House
A Doll's House

Famous Henrik Ibsen Play Comes to Reading

With A Doll’s House coming to the Progress Theatre as soon as the 11th of March, I sat down with the Director and Producer, Adrian Tang, to ask him more about what we can expect from this play.

In the play, Nora Helmer has it all: two beautiful children; a lovely home decked out for Christmas; and a loving husband, Torvald, who has been newly promoted at the bank in which he works. However, her idyllic life begins to unravel when Nora’s old associate, Krogstad, reminds her of a fraudulent contract she made with him years ago.

Director Adrian Tang told of how he was originally drawn to the play as a story of transformation from a position for the protagonist, Nora, where “her whole world is rigid” to understanding the world better. Inherently, it’s a feminist play, which he seems keen to undertake, it easily passes the Bechdel test, yet more importantly sheds light on gender relations.

Tang said: “We can see how far we have come in the treatment of women [from this play], and how far we still have left to go”

Being one of the fathers of realistic theatre, Henrik Ibsen’s play, A Doll’s House, has not much been overlooked in it’s track record of performances, in fact, Ibsen is the second most performed playwright of all time, second only to Shakespeare. So, what can we expect from this performance that we wouldn’t get from another of the same play?

Well, Tang explains that he has integrated the conceit of a window into his production, enabling the audience to see through to the front door, set back a little from the main set of the living room in which all the action takes place. This allows more stage time for the actors and the audience a greater understanding of them from this small window into how they behave in doing the most mundane of tasks.

Tang also seems to hold a secret weapon in the form of lead actress, Tara O’Connor, about whom he says: “I can’t praise her enough.”

According to Tang, her background in Irish dancing allows her to add energy and talent to the choreography that’s involved in the play and she has contributed greatly to her role with her original ideas.

Quite surprisingly, other members of the cast that Tang sings the praises of are the Youth Theatre members involved in the show. We all know the warnings in the industry to never work with children, but their lack of self-consciousness in their acting and the way that they ‘throw themselves into it’ proved a highlight for Tang.

An amateur production, the play relies on those involved giving up their free time when they aren’t doing their full-time jobs. The cast and crew all seem to make time for their passion, and Tang is proud of what they have achieved and hopes it’ll get people thinking. Tang himself also seems to be expanding his horizons, and you might catch him in various Fringe festivals with his new play Tulips shortly.

A Doll’s House isn’t a new play, but it’s one I’m excited to see. It runs from the 11th to the 16th of March at the Progress Theatre.

Stay tuned to read a review of this play in the next few days!

About Kahina Bouhassane

Kahina Bouhassane is a third year English Literature student at the University of Reading and Entertainment Editor of the Spark Online. She has published articles in local newspapers and publications and was one of the 2017/18 Editors of the Reading University Creative Arts Anthology. She has completed an NCTJ accredited Foundation course in Journalism and has worked internships in Publishing and Marketing.

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