Lee Theatre to Present “A Dollhouse Project”
By Cana Cooper
On Feb. 14, at 7 p.m., Lee University Theatre will premier “A Dollhouse Project,” inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” and adapted by Dan Buck, director of the play and associate professor of theatre at Lee.
“A Dollhouse Project” will transport its audiences and characters through time and across downtown Cleveland as each act is staged in a different house, performed with a different cast, and set in a different decade.
“We’re excited to present this classic work about the role of a woman in culture, spread across three different eras,” said Buck. “I think it will make people consider the ways in which things have changed, and the ways in which they haven’t.”
This story is about a young housewife, Nora Helmer, who is devoted to her doting husband, Torvald. He is affectionate and kind toward Nora, and in true Victorian fashion, he rules his home and his wife in totalitarian ways. However, to save Torvald from illness, Nora arranges a loan without his knowledge and does so by forging a signature. When Nora’s secret is revealed, the true colors of their union are unveiled, and Nora makes a decision that will change her life. The story rocked the theatre world when the play was performed across Europe in the 1880s.
“A Dollhouse Project” will begin in the Communication Arts Atrium where the audience will be bused to the Craigmiles House (managed by the Cleveland/Bradley County Public Library) for the first act, which takes place in 1880. For Act 2, the buses will transport them north, and 70 years forward in time, to 1950 at the Hardwick House on Ocoee and 17th Street. Finally, one more bus trip will bring them to the present day for the final act performed at the Dethero House on Church Street.
“The project presents all sorts of interesting questions about meaning and truth in changing times, along with questions about faithfulness to the spirit of a work of art when you are deliberately experimenting with it, as we are in ‘A Dollhouse Project,’” said Buck. “The logistics of a multi-site, immersive theatre production have proven to be complicated and have presented problems our creative team hasn’t faced before, but I think anything worth doing is going to be hard.”
Following the premier performance, showtimes will continue Feb. 14-15 and 20-22 at 7, 7:30, and 8 p.m., with additional matinees on both Saturdays at 2, 2:30, and 3 p.m.
The Communication Arts Atrium is located in the Communication Arts Building on Church Street.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children and seniors and are available at the Communication Arts box office Monday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. and at showclix (search for “Dollhouse”).
Lee Theatre recommends these performances for ages 10 and older.
For more information on Lee Theatre, visit LeeU Theatre, call the box office at (423) 614-8360, or follow LeeUTheatre on Facebook.