Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, now revived with Oscar winner Jessica Chastain, opened on Broadway March 9 at the Hudson Theatre. The revival has already announced an extension through June 10, after previously being scheduled to complete its run June 4.
In celebration of the star-studded opening night, Playbill asked the real questions, with many of the company and creative team members participating in a critically important round of Fuck, Marry, Kill: Ibsen, Chekhov, or Shakespeare.
On a more serious note, the stars shared what it is about A Doll's House, and Amy Herzog's new translation, that speaks to them.
"I love that Nora is so desperate to be loved," shares Chastain. "She becomes a different person with each character she's with in the first 20 minutes of the play. She gives everyone else a different side of her, and it gets to the point where she has no idea who she is. I think that's really relevant: how are we not being our authentic self in order to be palatable to others? And what would happen if we just dropped the bullshit, and spoke with our true voice? Would people still love you?"
Herzog agreed, stating "The more I read A Doll's House, the more I saw it as a story of two people who had agreed on a story together about who they were and what their marriage was. And it actually doesn't reflect reality at all."
Check out photos from the star studded opening night below, and read on for more reflections from the company!
Okieriete Onaodowan, who played Nils Krogstad, was drawn to this particular production of A Doll's House because of director Jamie Lloyd's stripped down interpretation. "So many productions are getting away from the heart and the humanity of why we do what we do," Onaodowan states emphatically. "I think the beauty of theatre is the simplicity of seeing people feel raw emotions in a space."
"The point of stripping everything away was to make it as immediate and intimate as possible," Lloyd says. "We're trying to get out of the way of the connection between the people on the stage and the people in the auditorium. There's no distraction."
Tasha Lawrence, who plays the families nursemaid, Anne-Marie, has treasured the process of collaboration that led to this production. "We're such a solid company... we are completely enmeshed with one another, and there's a lot of trust up there on the stage. It's been a complete and utter joy and thrill." Jesmille Darbouze, back on the boards as Nora's childhood friend Kristine Linde, echoed Lawrence, sharing that she felt "honestly honored" to be a part of the production. "It's an absolute gift to be able to share this beautiful piece of theatre."
Arian Moayed, who plays Nora's husband Torvald, came in to the show completely fresh. While many of the other actors had worked on A Doll's House in school, or had read it previously, he had never expected to star in the Ibsen classic: "When I moved to the city in 2002, an Iranian man being Torvald was never going to happen. I put it aside is one of those plays that I'd never do, but now here we are! In Iran right now, there is a revolution led by women that want the basic human rights that everyone deserves. I can't tell you how many Iranians have seen the show, and thought that Torvald represented the Islamic regime. That is really the spiritual center of why I wanted to do this, because I feel that the resonance of what Nora is going through, and what Iranian women, and women across the globe are going through, is sadly all too relevant."
Michael Patrick Thornton, who plays family friend Dr. Rank, agrees with Moayed that the adaptation as written by Herzog is achingly relevant. "There's millions of women in Iran, who have stood up and said enough, and who have sparked a global, women-led movement, which I think is extraordinary. This play was revolutionary when it was written, and those ripple effects of marriage and love and learning to stand up for yourself are just as clear today, because Amy's adaptation is just so fricking great."
Chastain plays Nora Helmer in the Jamie Lloyd-directed production of the play—about a housewife who makes the then-earth-shattering decision to leave her husband and family behind. This revival features a new script penned by Amy Herzog.
She is joined by Tony and Emmy nominee Arian Moayed (Succession on HBO, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) as Torvald Helmer, Jesmille Darbouze (Betrayal) as Kristine Linde, Tasha Lawrence (Good People) as Anne-Marie, Michael Patrick Thornton (Macbeth) as Dr. Rank, and Grammy winner Okieriete Onaodowan (Hamillton) as Nils Krogstad. Understudies are Franklin Bongjio, Carey Rebecca Brown, Melisa Soledad Pereyra, and Jose Joaquin Perez.
The creative team also includes scenic designer and costume co-designer Soutra Gilmour, costume co-designer Enver Chakartash, lighting designer Jon Clark, sound designers Ben and Max Ringham, composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, dance choreographer Jennifer Rias, casting directors Jim Carnahan Casting and Alexandre Bleau, production stage manager Frank Lombardi, and stage manager Brandon Allmon-Jackson.
A Doll's House was last revived on Broadway in 1997 co-starring Janet McTeer and Owen Teale, who both won Tony Awards for their performances. The production also earned Tonys for Best Revival of a Play and Best Direction of a Play (Anthony Page).