A Knock on the Door Receives a Thunderous Response

Tania Thompson
 | Apr 17, 2017
The Playwright's Circle

Playwright’s Circle members at the First Night of A Doll’s House, Part 2. Back row: Literary Director Kimberly Colburn, Joy and Peter Sloan; Front Row: Harmon and Lea Kong, Director Shelley Butler and Robert and Julie Davey

On, Friday, April 14, 2017, the First Night audience for Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, found out the answer to what had puzzled theatregoers for more than a century: What happened after Nora slammed the door and walked out on her family (in Ibsen’s classic, A Doll’s House)?

She returned in a bold red dress and, through conversations (and some confrontation) in five scenes (almost like a boxing match), talked about her life beyond the home. And why she came back.

The quartet of actors—Shannon Cochran, Bill Geisslinger, Lynn Milgrim and Virginia Vale, skillfully directed by Shelley Butler— led the audience through the riveting story. It’s no wonder that First Nighters were on their feet immediately as the door closed once again, softly this time.

Lively conversations prompted by the play continued as audience members moved to Antonello Ristorante, co-sponsor for the Cast Party. As they entered, guests were surrounded by red roses, inspired by the color of Nora’s dress.

Guests sampled smoked salmon with caviar, cherry tomatoes with mozzarella, Sicilian rice balls with veal and sweet peas and homemade Italian pizzas. The popular pasta station featured mushroom ravioli with an Alfredo sauce and fusili Bolognese.

From the bar, the play-inspired (well, red dress-inspired) signature cocktail for the evening—“Nora’s Return”—blended Tito’s Handmade Vodka with cranberry juice and club soda.

First Nighters and their guests will continue talking about A Doll’s House, Part 2​, in the days to come. This exciting opening night preceded the opening of another production on Broadway at the end of the month.

This is the 15th year that the Playwrights Circle has underwritten a world-premiere production. Circle members are thoughtful, enthusiastic and forward-thinking theatre lovers attracted to new plays. This year, a dozen Circle members are generously supporting A Doll’s House, Part 2. ​Four couples attended opening night and the cast party: Mary Ann Brown and Rick Reiff; Robert and Julie Davey; Harmon and Lea Kong; and Peter and Joy Sloan.

“A 'sequel' that really works!” says Mary Ann Brown, an Honorary Producer along with Rick Reiff. “Brilliant dialogue, terrific acting and minimalist staging do justice to a Victorian classic. Don't be surprised if you find yourself siding with one character, then another; no easy calls here.”

Playwrights Circle members Bob and Julie Davey also fell in love with how Hnath envisioned the aftermath of Ibsen’s play.

Says Bob: “A Doll's House, Part 2, is a creative and imaginative answer to the 137-year-old question, ‘Whatever happened to Nora?’ The confrontation between Torvald and Nora is at the same time intriguing, frustrating and inspiring. A must see!”

Julie adds:  “Each character in the play, like each of us, has a unique perspective on the life-changing decision Nora made years before. We all must attempt to comprehend and ultimately reconcile why others may never see what we see.”