From Oct. 11 to 21, Walterdale Theatre ran a production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.” The play is a period classic, and was far ahead of its time in its themes and message.
The players did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of Ibsen’s work. Their emphasis on certain themes reflected an in-depth and comprehensive reading of the play. As is typical of the first night of any live production, not all was smooth sailing — but the cast and crew showcased their professionalism by remaining in character and moving forward.
The story takes place in the late 1800s, in the home of the Helmers, where Nora Helmer owes a debt. As Nora keeps the debt a secret from her husband, her life spirals out of control and she is forced to re-evaluate her beliefs.
Notable performances included Nicole English’s portrayal of Nora Helmer, Tim Marriott’s Torvald Helmer, and Dale Wilson’s Dr. Rank. English’s demeanor perfectly captured the childlike qualities of Nora and her oppressive marital circumstances. Her portrayal contrasted well with that of Marriott, who did justice to the character of Torvald with his overbearing and sickly sweet tone. Wilson’s Dr. Rank drew pity from the audience in his genuine love for Nora and her rejection of him.
Nora’s internal conflict is well conveyed, and Ibsen’s feminist themes are made very clear. The way Marriott emphasized Torvald’s lilting tone as he addressed Nora as “my little squirrel” or “my songbird” conveyed his character’s condescension.
The Walterdale Theatre is a community theatre company that runs on donations, admissions, and a small membership fee for those who wish to volunteer and receive mentorship in various areas of theatre production. Members also receive discounted access to productions. The theatre is located in a historic fire hall less than a five-minute drive from the University of Alberta. Trina Davies’ “Shatter,” a play about the aftermath of the Halifax explosion, will be coming to Walterdale from Dec. 6 to 16.
Graphic courtesy of Walterdale Theatre.