A Doll's House last night - show stopped for technical reasons (major spoilers)
Posted by: mikem 07:02 pm EDT 05/21/23

I was thinking about seeing Some Like It Hot last night, but I'm glad I saw A Doll's House instead based on canbelto's post about Some Like It Hot.

A Doll's House had a technical break for about 20 minutes. At the point in the show when Krogstad appears to meet up with Torvald in his office while Kristine and Nora are talking, the turntable was turning counterclockwise when a voice came over the sound system that there was a technical issue and the show was going to pause. The actors quickly left the stage and someone on the crew came out with a flashlight and looked at the edge of the turntable for a while. I was not close enough to overhear any conversations that might have been happening. The actors eventually came out and got back into place, with Jessica Chastain and Jesmille Darbouze, who plays Kristine, re-positioning their chairs in the front. I think they might have sat down but then quickly got up and walked off the stage, leaving three of the other actors in their chairs at the back of the stage. The actors left on stage clearly didn't know any more about what was happening than the audience did. Eventually, Chastain and Darbouze returned, re-positioned their chairs, went back about a minute in dialogue, and then the turntable started turning clockwise (the opposite direction than before the break). All was smooth after that.

The audience was extremely patient. I think it was smart of the production to leave the curtain raised so that the audience could see that people were trying. There was also a little bit of bonding that the actors didn't know what was going on, either. I think if we had been staring at a closed curtain for 20 minutes, the audience would have been a lot more restless.

As for the show itself, this was my first time seeing a production directed by Jamie Lloyd, and I'm still not sure what I think about the production. I don't think I've ever seen a Broadway show that is so minimalist in that not only are there no props, there's no miming of using the props. I assume that the relatively flat and underpowered delivery by all of the men until towards the end with Torvald is part of the concept. The microphones seemed really turned up to compensate for the quiet speaking, but haring voices through these microphones lent an artificial quality to the speaking that seemed to go against the directorial concept. The static lighting was fairly dim so I found it hard to see facial expressions - I'm glad I brought binoculars and used them more than at any show in recent memory. The staging was intellectually interesting but kind of got in the way a bit (and got a little old by the end).

I noticed that the microphones were taped to the actors' faces. I'm not sure why that was necessary given how little action there is in the show, and they're lucky that no one has developed a reaction from having something taped to their face for at least two hours six days a week, and for four and a half hours for Chastain every Wednesday and Saturday.

I think Chastain did a great job. I'm still thinking that Jodie Comer is going to win the Tony but I think the race will be a lot closer than I had thought it would be after seeing Prima Facie. Chastain has the advantage that Nora is a very complicated character, and she does a great job playing all of her facets. Comer is going all out but Suzie Miller (Prima Facie's playwright) is not Ibsen. When Prima Facie ended, I was thinking, "Comer must be exhausted." I wasn't thinking, "That is a really complex role." Not Comer's fault, but she doesn't get to show the shading that Chastain does.

(big spoiler for the end of this production coming)

As for the final moments, I was sitting in C9 in the mezzanine on house left, and I could not see the door where Nora leaves AT ALL, although I could see the entire turntable. There were four seats further to the left than mine in my row. I'm pretty sure the person in C7 wouldn't be able to see the door at all, either. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that C1 could only see part of the door. I had been spoiled and it didn't bother me, but I don't know that Lloyd should be directing an important moment so that such a large part of the audience can't see. I wonder if they could have put up giant mirrors as part of the set, used video, or something, but I guess they're just pretending that it doesn't matter.

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Next: re: A Doll's House last night - show stopped for technical reasons (major spoilers) - Delvino 11:08 pm EDT 05/21/23

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