The Grove City College Theatre Program will stage Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” this month in the Little Theatre of the Pew Fine Arts Center on campus.
Shows are set for 7 p.m. March 10,11,12, 18, and 19. The play is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. To reserve tickets, visit tinyurl.com/ADHtickets.
“A Doll’s House” is considered a classic. The three-act play is even depicted in stained glass in the College’s Crawford Hall Auditorium as one of the West’s greatest artistic achievements, along with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Sophocles’ “Antigone,” and Rossini’s “William Tell Overture.”
Written in 1879, the story of disillusioned Norwegian housewife Nora Helmer, which questions traditional roles of men and women in 19th-century marriage, was once considered scandalous. By the time Crawford Hall was built in 1937, it was part of the canon and remains a staple of AP English classes.
The production is the first play presented in the Little Theatre since the pandemic. It is also the first being staged in the round in more than a decade.
That setup, with seating surrounding the stage and close to the actors, will “make the audience feel as if they are a fly on the wall of the Helmer home,” according to freshman Katie Kenlein, who plays the Maid and handles public relations for the show.
Despite being written a century ago, the play continues to impact audiences, Kenlein said. “It fosters good conversation about our brokenness apart from God. The ending isn’t ‘happy.’ I hope the feelings evoked in our audience by Nora’s choice and by the complicated atmosphere in the Helmer’s home will encourage conversation.”
Junior Emily Klusendorf, who plays Nora, said Ibsen’s fiction rings true. “It is often the case that when the textbooks fails us, art is there to tell us truths about the human experience, truths we’d rather like to hide under veils of prestige and social respectability. Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ uncovers some of the most painful secrets the lie behind the prettiest of doors. He brings in the lamp and he leaves it on, just for a little while. It’s painful, but unmistakably true,” she said.
(Editor's note: This release has been corrected after retired faculty member Dr. Gary S. Smith alerted us that "A Doll's House" was staged on campus n 1986. Dr. James Dixon, retired theater director, noted that it was a student-directed production.)