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Classic, feminist play opens at University Theatre

Monday, November 09, 2015

LAWRENCE—Departing from the melodramatic stage conventions of the time and providing a searing look at Victorian domestic life, “A Doll’s House” helped marshal in a new social era after debuting in 1879. This feminist drama has stood the test of time and will open at the University of Kansas University Theatre on Saturday, Nov. 14.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14, 19, 20 and 21 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 15 and 22 on Stage Too! at the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall.

“This play truly took the world by storm when it debuted. Its impeccable form gave rise to a proto-feminist work whose themes continue to resonate today,” said Peter Zazzali, director and assistant professor of theatre.  

“A Doll’s House” focuses on Nora Helmer, a housewife who seems to have everything she could want: beautiful children, a successful husband and a bright future. When her sheltered existence is threatened by a revelation from her past, she is forced to make life-changing decisions – shocking not only herself and her family, but the audience as well.

“Ibsen is truly a humanist at heart; he asks the audience to not only think of the cage that Nora is in, but her husband as well,” Zazzali said. “He’s really questioning societal constraints as a whole, and I think the community will see life today reflected in the themes of the play.”

The company includes Joshua Greene, Albany, Missouri, senior, assistant director; Bronwen Capshaw, Burbank, California, junior, stage manager; Kevin Siess, Lawrence senior, as Nils Krogstad; Eric Palmquist, Lawrence senior, as Torvald Helmer; Blair Lawrence Yates, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom graduate student, as Dr. Rank; Jaclyn Nischbach, St. Louis, Missouri senior, as Nora Helmer; Elissa Bowen, Kansas City junior, as Helene; Ashley Kennedy, Lawrence senior, as Kristine Linde; Adrian Brothers, Lawrence senior, as Porter; Leah Mazur, Cache, Oklahoma, graduate student, costume designer; Sean Ruddy, Lawrence, Raintree Montessori School, third grade, as Bob Helmer; Jules Clasen, Lawrence, Century School student, as Emmy Helmer; and Isaac Hartz-Jenson, Lawrence, St. John School, fifth grade, as Ivar Helmer.  

Additional company members include Michelle Heffner Hayes, Department of Dance chair and professor, choreographer; Dennis Christilles, Department of Theatre associate professor, scenic designer; Mark Reaney, Department of Theatre professor, lighting designer; and Janice Lee Craft, Department of Theatre lecturer, as Anne Marie.

Tickets for “A Doll’s House” are on sale now at KU ticket offices and online at www.kutheatre.com. Tickets are also available by calling the University Theatre, (785) 864-3982, and the Lied Center, (785) 864-ARTS. Tickets are $18 for adults, $17 for senior citizens and KU faculty and staff, and $10 for children. KU student tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

The Department of Theatre is one of four departments in the School of the Arts. As part of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of the Arts offers fresh possibilities for collaboration between the arts and the humanities, sciences, social sciences, international and interdisciplinary studies.

For more information on the Department of Theatre visit www.theatre.ku.edu. For more information on the University Theatre, visit www.KUTheatre.com. Follow KU Theatre on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram.