Four days to go until the show, and yesterday NORA had a nice write up in the local paper, the Waco Tribune-Herald! The show is looking and sounding wonderful – we had our first run with all the technical elements last night (sans hair and makeup). We have this evening off, but after that, we are in the final stretch before next Tuesday’s opening night! It’s gonna be a doozy – and I’m loving every minute of it.
Finding door into meaning of Ibsen/Bergman play ‘Nora’ at Baylor
Thursday, November 12, 2015
A door plays a major role in the conclusion of Henrik Ibsen’s classic “A Doll’s House,” but it’s an invented child’s room — and a 1950s setting — that helps shape the meaning of Baylor Theatre’s “Nora,” created by Swedish director and writer Ingmar Bergman.
Baylor director and grad student Cason Murphy found himself drawn to Bergman’s concise adaptation of Ibsen’s 1879 play about Nora Helmer, a woman who feels trapped in her role as wife and mother by her husband, Torvald. Bergman trimmed about a third of Ibsen’s text, reduced its 11 characters to five and omitted the central couple’s three children.
But Murphy noted that Bergman later added the Helmers’ daughter, Emmy, to the beginning and end of a revised “Nora,” and that got him thinking.
“My concept came out of that sense that without the children, the play is a fight between a man and a women and not a fight between a mother and a father,” he said.
To bring out the suggestion that the Helmers’ conflict doesn’t occur in a vacuum and has repercussions past a slamming door, Murphy put Emmy (Meagan Reese) in her room onstage, within earshot of her parents, Nora (Kat Wilson) and Torvald (Garrett McPherson), and their visitors.
The close presence of Emmy, plus staging that has characters onstage waiting their entrance, adds tension to a secret that Nora has kept from her bank manager husband, one that threatens to come out with blackmailing bank employee Niles Krogstad (Cooper Hale).
The play’s setting at Christmastime remains, but Murphy moves the action to 1950s America, the male-dominated time period of television’s “Mad Men.” Bergman’s editing shrinks transitions between scenes, much as jump cuts tighten action on film, resulting in a play that’s “quick and fleet,” the director said.
“Nora” fits in with past work that Murphy has done at The@trics and Prescott Center for the Arts in Prescott, Arizona, including an 80-minute, 15-teenager production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” tooled for a family audience.
“I like to take old chestnuts and make them speak to modern audiences,” he said.