LONG WHARF – A DOLL’S HOUSE WHERE EVERYTHING IS WRONG
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Gordon Edelstein and Long Wharf Theater are presenting what I have to say is an unfortunate adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.
KAREN: I hate to talk about a show where there is almost nothing to say that it is positive.
BOB: It’s not easy to mount a play.
KAREN: And Long Wharf has a fine reputation – they usually do good work. But this was not a wise choice. Gordon Edelstein, who last year had a somewhat controversial but somewhat well received adaptation of The Glass Menagerie, has decided that HE needed to readapt this classic play – I guess he thought there was no good adaptation out there – AND that he needed to move it to the 21st century.
BOB: And move it from an apartment in the city to a house in the suburbs.
KAREN: I don’t think the play works – I don’t think the plot makes sense in the 21st century. Our son made a good point – maybe it would have worked set in the 1950s when women in the US did not have full economic and financial rights or maybe if it were set in a country where women were just gaining their rights.
BOB: More than that, I had a feeling that the performers were not that good. It is hard to know when you get something like this, is it the play or the performers? Or the director?
KAREN: Well Gordon Edelstein also directed this so he had control over all aspects of this production – the casting
BOB: The cast was not good. They just did not sparkle in any way.
KAREN: Especially the two leads – the actors playing Nora and Torvald Helmar. I can only assume that their line readings and interpretations were what Gordon Edelstein wanted. In which case not only was the concept and script misguided but so was the directing.
BOB: And to take it even further, some of the costuming as terrible.
KAREN: There’s no way Nora would have danced the tarantella in spike heels.
BOB: ... and in that silly costume. Unfortunately Ann Reiter, who played Nora, has very heavy legs
KAREN: and they put her in a dress that was just slightly longer than a tutu. I did feel that Linda Powell, Mark Nelson and Tim Hopper, who played the three main supporting roles, were much better than the leads.
BOB: This is at Long Wharf Theater in New Haven. It runs through May 23.
Ran on WHNU 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net from May 10 to 21.