CSULB Theatre Arts Confronts Gender Roles in Modern Adaptation of A Doll’s House

Ingmar Bergman’s Nora, adapted and translated by Frederick J. Marker, will open on Friday, April 14 at Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) Theatre Arts in the Studio Theatre. The adaption of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House shows a world where independence and feminism are outrageous ideas.

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The significance of A Doll’s House, which premiered in 1879, was its questioning of marriage norms in the 19th century. The three-act play concludes with Nora, the protagonist, walking out on her husband and children to find herself.

Her exit, known as “the door slam heard around the world,” sparked debates and discussions on the plights of women during a time when early waves of feminism were just beginning to emerge worldwide.

Ibsen’s play was critical of modern life at the time, taking a controversial stance that women could not be themselves in a society with laws made by men, assessing the treatment of women through a masculine lens.

Nora presents an opportunity to discuss “our middle class values,” which “are by definition a trap within themselves: ‘Get married, have a family, build a successful and lucrative career, reflect on one's success and appeal by having an attractive spouse and buying material things,’” Director Christopher Shaw said in a statement.

Bergman’s Nora tells the story of A Doll’s House, but in a fast-paced, modernized manner, according to the release, and includes the infamous door slam.

Over a century has passed since Ibsen’s original production of A Doll’s House, and Nora confronts whether those issues are still relevant today.

“What really has changed?” Shaw said in a statement. “One can see how both sexes are trapped within this ultimately limiting and illusory, false container of gender roles. We have advanced beyond this to some extent, but are women still considered ‘less than a man’? Are women still trapped in a ‘gender role’ and societies expectations of a proper way to live?”

Ibsen’s plays still challenge social conventions. In addition to A Doll’s House, his works include Hedda Gabler, An Enemy of the People and Peer Gynt. Bergman was an acclaimed Swedish director, writer and producer, whose films include The Seventh Seal and Cries and Whispers.

Bergman adapted A Doll’s House in 1981 as part of a trio of plays examining gender roles, according to the release.

Nora opens on Friday, April 14 at 8:00PM and runs through Sunday, April 23. To purchase tickets, visit the website here.

University Theatre at CSULB is located at 7th Street and East Campus Drive. CSULB is located at 1250 Bellflower Boulevard.



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