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  A Doll's House, Part 2 at Steppenwolf Theatre

A Doll's House, Part 2

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

As a door slams in 1879 Norway, a young wife and mother leaves behind her family, freeing herself from the shackles of traditional societal constraints. Now, 15 years later, that same door opens to reveal Nora, a changed woman with an incredibly awkward favor to ask the people who she abandoned. Lucas Hnath's bitingly funny sequel to Ibsen's revolutionary masterpiece unfolds in a series of bristling stand-offs that reveal in Nora's world, much like our own, behind every opinion there is a person, and a slamming door isn't just an end, but also the chance for a new beginning.

Thru - Mar 17, 2019



Price: $20-$99

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

www.steppenwolf.org


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  A Doll's House, Part 2 Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Despite the period setting, "A Doll's House, Part 2" is penned in a contemporary vernacular. Witt's production has the audience on the stage, putting you in mind of some sporting event, as if the characters were verbal competitors. Audiences on display in proscenium theaters is very much a thing at the moment. If you'd rather not be watched, stick to the regular seats."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...There is nothing subtle about Hnath's 90-minute play. The first thing the audience sees is an oversized door. The first thing it hears is an insistent knock. It's 1894 - 15 years after Nora's iconic exit. In the interim, she's become a wealthy novelist. Still, Nora (Sandra Marquez) is in crisis. It seems her husband Torvald (Yasen Peyankov) never filed the divorce papers. Nora had been living as a single woman - signing contracts and such - so she could be imprisoned for fraud if Torvald doesn't get the paperwork sorted. Torvald, meanwhile, has let the world conclude that Nora is dead. Since he's been collecting some sort of pension for widowers, he can't file without risking his own fraud charges."
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Catey Sullivan


Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...But perhaps the most prominent symbolic design feature of Steppenwolf's "A Doll's House, Part 2" is the monolithic yellow door center stage. It towers like an enormous road caution sign warning audiences about the conflicted characters who continue to cause a global commotion."
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Scott C. Morgan


Chicago Reader - Highly Recommended

"...It often feels like a rigorous theatrical exercise, despite the astonishing efforts of Witt's cast to fill the brainy dialogue with human dimension. That effort eventually pays off, and by the time Nora's done, she-and we-have been through the wringer."
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Justin Hayford


Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Elsewhere, however, the playís witty, intelligent dialogue is left to float weightlessly into the rafters, without enough plot to move the story forward. Maybe thatís why, for all of the playís insights into marriage, commitment, aging and double standards, it never quite rises beyond the realm of a writerly exercise. In writing a play on top of a play, Hnath has sealed himself in. The result, while pleasurable, doesnít seem to breathe real air."
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Alex Huntsberger


Chicago On the Aisle - Somewhat Recommended

"...Fifteen years after Nora Helmer famously - or perhaps infamously - walks out on husband and children at the end of Ibsen's play "A Doll's House," what do you know but she's back, knocking on that same door, and not exactly bonnet in hand. Indeed, Nora has found great success as a writer. What an intriguing conceit for the sequel Lucas Hnath has ventured in "A Doll's House, Part 2," which I saw for the first time in Steppenwolf's current staging. Except that I came away with the distinct sense that Nora, the woman of the hour, was missing."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Not Recommended

"...The ardent performances Witt inspires from four sterling actors are wastes of talent in a pointless prolongation. Cooper, Marquez, Robertson and Peyankov work overtime to distract us from the repetitious irrelevance of a botched attempt to fix what was never broken. This paltry play is destined to be forgotten long after A Dollís House ó part one ó continues to trod the boards."
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Lawrence Bommer


Splash Magazine - Highly Recommended

"...In revealing Noraís efforts to impress, indoctrinate and manipulate her husband, his housekeeper (who incidentally, was Noraís former nanny and got stuck raising her kids when she walked out), and her about-to-be married daughter, Hnath takes the original exploration further. We can see the emotional impact of an abrupt walk-out on those left behind, the personal toll struggles to conform can take on a personality, and how difficult it can be to share with honesty."
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Debra Davy


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Hnath's sequel of Ibsen's proto-feminist ĎA Doll's House' is a daring, dramatic piece of work in which he imagines how Nora Helmer's life after leaving her family might have evolved from 1879 to 1894. Although the play is set in the nineteenth century and the wardrobe says that it is, the audacious language is written in the 21st-century idiom, making this funny play a realistic drama and farce. We also noticed the Voss bottle water which seems out of period, but hey, we give them points for using bottled water from Norway."
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Rick and Brenda McCain


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Hnathís play is still an oddity, presenting arguments against nineteenth-century gender politics within the anachronistic realm of twenty-first-century language and presentation (an end table holding a quartet of Voss water bottles and a box of Puffs tissues carries a remarkably strange sense of cognitive dissonance). Nora dreams of escaping a world that oppresses and disadvantages women. She dreams of a fair and just world for women to not only be brought to fruition but that she can live in as well. One can only wonder what Nora would say of our world today. The door remains shut on that discussion, for now."
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Ben Kaye


WTTW - Recommended

"...Hnath is a fascinating playwright who has demonstrated his remarkable gift for arguing the many sides of complex issues in such works as "Isaac's Eye," "Death Tax," "Hillary and Clinton" and "The Christians" (all of which have been produced on Chicago stages). And in imagining this sequel to Ibsen's play he not only suggests the long-term outcome of Nora's action, but lets her choices reverberate in the current moment in subtly non-dogmatic ways. True, his dialogue tends to be more stylized than organic, and the sporadic use of a common four-letter word is more jarring than useful. But this is an argument play and everyone gets a chance."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...This is a thrilling production of a wonderfully thought-provoking and entertaining one-act. Lucas Hnath's comic drama is no stuffy, scholarly analysis of Ibsen's original classic. It's a play based upon a classic that broke new ground when it was first presented. The play is a game of "What-if," and it allows the audience to guess down which road each of these characters will head. So, when a knock is heard, don't be afraid to open the door once again."
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Colin Douglas


The Fourth Walsh - Recommended

"...Hnath's play has more a singular dimension than Ibsen's classic. Hnath has Nora finding her voice which threatens toppling over the recovery efforts following her departure. The intellectual sparring is sharply witty and thought-provoking. The action is minimal. The discourse is lengthy. To add a visual element to the conversation, Director Robin Witt has audience members sitting onstage facing the regular audience. They are like spectators at a fight or presidential rally. Their personal reactions become part of the theatrical aesthetic. Although I enjoyed listening to the multiple soliloquies, others around me weren't having the same experience. I was uncomfortably aware of the loud whispering, yawning and nose blowing in surround sound."
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Katy Walsh


Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...In the final analysis, "A Doll's House, Part 2" is an interesting conceit by one of the most imaginative American playwrights working today. Hnath preserves Nora as the star of the drama, but he impresses with his skill at writing three-dimensional supporting characters, each with his or her side of the story to tell. The Laurie Metcalf performance must have made "Part 2" really special."
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Dan Zeff


Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...It is clear that Nora sees herself as a visionary, comically noting that in 25 years it will be standard for all humans to enjoy several partners in life. But it is impossible to see her simply as a feminist icon in the light of her family's pain, and that doubt is compounded by the fact that she only seems to express concern for them when it will lead to her benefit. Perhaps this narcissistic strain complicates her feminism, but it is difficult not to misconstrue it as an aspect of feminism itself when it is presented alongside her ideas-so that it leaves a tinge of guilt and mistrust in us for her motives. Perhaps it is a shortcoming of living in a patriarchy that left the men who wrote the play unable to envision a female character capable of being free and dignified without being callous or self-centered, but it certainly adds to the drama and the plot of this witty and cerebral play, leaving the bittersweet taste of progress on our palates."
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Kim Campbell


Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...When Henrik Ibsen, a Norwegian playwright known for digging below society's conventions to expose them for what they really are, published "A Doll's House" in1879 he defied accepted familial and economic norms of the day."
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Jodie Jacobs


TotalTheater - Recommended

"...Listen closely, however, and you will discover Hnath-when not, himself, engaging in gratuitous flippancies-constructing an astonishingly mature and thorough debate on long-ignored side issues within this prototypal tale of a runaway wife. Among these are the proposition that Nora's flight was initiated, not as an exile, but as a separation, with reunion always within the realm of possibility. Abandoned husband Torvald, too, is capable of remorse at his ignorance leading to acknowledgment of his error. There is also the response of the other family members in this "broken home" (before the term became commonplace) and the introduction of a solution so obvious and reasonable that we are amazed that squabbling spouses a century ago didn't think of it."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...With Hnath's script we smile a LOT, and especially when Barbara E. Robertson-who is hiding her real-world glamour with a studied limp and stooped posture-pops out an expletive. She gets to say, to paraphrase, "Hey Nora, don't look to me for great sympathy 'cuz I did the hard work of raising your babies and frankly I never had the kind of life options you did just 'cuz your Daddy was rich." In this writer's view it's a great role and even greater performance, which is also true of Yasen Peyankov's Torvald, who shows the world what a Jackie Gleason styled slow-burn looks like when soaked in Scandinavian restraint born on long thinks on the fjord."
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Amy Munice


Rescripted - Recommended

"...A Doll's House Part 2 entertains, but don't expect any greater feminist revelations other than the aforementioned. The material has a bawdy slapstick that has a musty and recycled 1980's "Battle of the Sexes" comedy that delivers a nonstop tirade of "he said, she said" zingers. Director Robin Witt has a keen eye for comic direction; the Scenic Design by Courtney O'Neill and the Lighting Design by Christine Binder create a boxing-ring effect that heightens the tension. Barbara E. Robertson's wry and dry delivery is outrageously hilarious as the put-upon maid Anne Marie who serves as a referee between man and wife while nursing a well-earned grudge."
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Sheri L. Flanders


  A Doll's House, Part 2 Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.


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