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Making a Doll Breathe: Invigorating Ibsen's A Doll House


Although I was raised to be fiercely independent, the societal pressure to assimilate into traditional standards of femininity can be overpowering. Reading Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House, I was chilled by how much I related to the struggles of Nora, a woman who bowed so much to societal standards that she lost her individual identity. I thought that I was too well educated, too strong to be susceptible to the pervasive vanity of contemporary American culture. A Doll House made me take a hard look at myself and those close to me. I realized that we can all become dolls--all we need to do is run from the uncomfortable, ugly and embarrassing parts of the world towards careful, controlled and beautifully sentimental fantasies.

While directing A Doll House, I strove to maintain my personal honesty while employing a rigorous preparation of the material and experimenting with a new rehearsal technique. I investigated the preparation process of many different directors who worked in realism--the dramaturgical style of A Doll House--and tested their approaches in my own process. Breaking out of my normal modes of preparation allowed me to discover facets of the play that had alluded me in the past. I also crafted a rehearsal process with the goal of increasing each actor's personal investment so they could create complex characters that lived naturally within the world of the play. Ultimately, I hoped to create the same feeling of recognition for my audience that I felt while reading the play.

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