WARWICK, RI — Director Fred Sullivan is reuniting with Jeanine Kane and Steve Kidd, the stars of “A Doll’s House” for “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” – the follow-up to Henrik Ibsen’s 19th-century drama. The production opens Gamm’s 35th season on September 12 and the second at their home on Jefferson Boulevard.
Sullivan directed the original production at the Gamm in 2011. Kane and Kidd are once again playing estranged couple Nora and Torvald.
In “A Doll’s House,” Norwegian house wife Nora walked out on her husband, three children and the rest of married life.
Playwright Lucas Hnath (“The Christians”) picks up the story 15 years later when Nora, a writer, is being blackmailed by a judge and needs Torvald’s help. The play opened on Broadway in 2017 and received 8 Tony award nominations.
Sullivan, who helmed last year’s Tennessee Williams classic “The Night of the Iguana,” felt compelled to revisit Ibsen’s troubled characters and to explore them further.
“When a play ends, we only have our own imagination to fill in the rest of the character’s lives,” said Sullivan, a former member of Trinity Repertory Company. “We are left with questions, and that’s a very good thing, because without asking “what if?” there is no art. What happens to fictional characters once the play they appear in is over? If the playwrights wanted to tell us, they would have included the information in detail in the play. So, the curtain call has now occurred and nothing but discarded programs litter the auditorium, but some characters still haunt us. Nora Helmer has proven herself an unforgettable character for all time”.
Kane also was intrigued by the possibilities of recreating a legendary character.
“The question we all have after Nora closed that door at the end of “A Doll’s House” is…what happened to her?,” Kane said. “Was she able to make it? How has she evolved emotionally? What was it like for a woman living on her own at that time? It is exciting to explore all of that as a more mature woman.”
The sequel has a lighter tone than the original, courtesy of Sullivan.
“Doll’s House 2 is different from A Doll’s House in that there is a lot more comedy, and Fred has a special feel for comic moments,” Kane noted. “It will be fun and exciting to work on the timing as well as the emotional turns of the play with him. Working with Steve as Torvald in both productions is a rare and exciting opportunity. He is such a generous scene partner, and we are lucky to have the past experience of the first show to draw on while working on the sequel.”
Sullivan also enjoyed working again with Kane, who he calls “radiant, complicated, deep and sublime.”
“I love watching her and I dare anyone not to fall under her spell,” Sullivan continued. “And I have directed Steve Kidd from Tony Estrella’s first season as artistic director through last season (in “The Night of the Iguana”).
Sullivan believes “A Doll’s House, Part 2” will have a tremendous emotional impact on audiences.
“Art holds the mirror up and prompts us to sit forward and make up our own minds,” Sullivan added. “In the times we live in now, where divisiveness and outrage and entitlement seem to block so many ears, great theatre reminds us to listen to each other.”
A Doll’s House, Part 2 runs September 12-October 6 at The Gamm Theatre, 1245 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI. Tickets are $45, $55 and $65; preview performances (September 12-15) are $33. Tickets: 401-723-4266 or gammtheatre.org.