Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mabou Mines DollHouse

Photo: Richard Termine

Mabou Mines DollHouse, adapted by Lee Breuer (who directed) and Maude Mitchell (who plays Nora) from Ibsen’s A Doll House, is a brilliant, thrilling, superb, eye-opening, thought-provoking, heart-breaking, entertaining night in the theatre. The concept of matching unusually short men with unusually tall women is only the starting point of a re-creation of Ibsen’s classic that supports and illuminates the original work by physicalizing the entrapment of late-19th-century women as they distort themselves, inside and out, in desperate attempts to fit into the emotional doll houses in which they must live. It also recognizes the price the men pay in keeping up what Breuer refers to in the program as “a meta-narrative playing out an illusion of male power," a price that he identifies as "the death of love." As this production unfolds, with more coups de theatre per half hour than most directors could be expected to produce in a lifetime, the funniest scenes can be the most chilling, and vice versa. The superb cast includes Maude Mitchell, Mark Povinelli, Janet Giradeau, Ricardo Luis Gil, and Hannah Kritzeck. The brilliant designers include Narelle Sissons (set), Mary Louise Geiger (lighting), Meganne George (costumes), and Jane Catherine Shaw (puppets). The piano accompaniment is beautifully performed by the marvelously deadpan Ning Yu.

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