A Doll’s House – a conversation with Nora

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What are the main things you have to keep in your head when playing Nora?

The role is obviously a very challenging one as Nora only actually leaves the stage for one scene, so the main thing it requires from me as an actress is a huge amount of focus.  I have to really be ‘in the moment’ at all times, to react to the other characters around me and to let the story play out as Ibsen wanted to tell it.

The play caused controversy at the time for being critical of the role of women. Do you think plays and literature can have a genuine impact on social injustices (e.g. feminism), or do you think any commentary within them is a product of the beginnings of a social change?

I think this play in particular had a huge impact on society at the time.  Ibsen was a huge advocate for personal and individual freedom and I believe his plays did actually bring about some change in society.  I read somewhere that the divorce rate escalated after the publication of A Doll’s House so I think it did have a genuine impact on how people considered the role of women in a marriage.

The ending was changed when it originally premièred in Germany so that Nora returned to her family, which Ibsen called a ‘barbaric outrage’. In your time as an actor, have you ever seen original scripts changed much? How do you feel about it?

As UK Touring Theatre we are very committed to developing scripts which convey the author’s orginal intentions.  Our version of A Doll’s House is a brand new translation, and we have also had to cut it slightly to make the play a convenient length to tour.  However we have still focused very heavily on the playwright’s original ideas and intentions, otherwise you are obscuring the writing and presenting a different story.

What do you look for when choosing a new role?

I’m interested in any roles which present a challenge for the actor, roles that you can really get you teeth into.

Have you performed in Lancaster before? Can you remember anything about it or does a performance feel the same to you wherever it is?

No this is my first time in Lancaster – and also the first visit for UK Touring Theatre.  We are really looking forward to it.  Every new venue presents new challenges and experiences, that’s what’s so great about touring.

Where did you train to be an actor? Did you do a degree?

East 15 Acting School in London.  It was a 3 year acting BA – but a vocational training rather than a university course.

Favourite play of all time?

The Seagull by Anton Chekhov – I love the classics.

Actor?

I don’t have one favourite actor, but I think that Jeff Bridges, Naomi Watts, Emma Linley and William Reay are all great.

Playwright? 

Chekhov.

Finally, why should people come and see a Doll’s House at the Grand on October 30th?

Because it’s a great story well told.  Ibsen is often regarded as the father of realistic drama and A Doll’s House is his masterpiece.  It’s a gripping period drama that will have you on the edge of your seats!

A Doll’s House is coming to Lancaster Grand on Thursday, week 4. Tickets can be bought on their website

Simon James

Any excuse to write about Oasis really.

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