Kentucky Wesleyan Theatre Department presents “A Doll’s House Part II”

The Kentucky Wesleyan College Theatre Department presents “A Doll’s House Part II” on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m., Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. and on Sept. 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. The play will be presented at Activity Hall at 3300 Frederica St.

Director Jordan Blake Key ’18, returning to his alma mater to direct his former professor, Nate Gross, says, “We are offering an engaging experience as we will perform in the round with the stage surrounded by a giant birdcage and the audience surrounding that. Audiences will have an intimate look at the most heated, most tender, and most awkward moments provided by the play. Additionally, there will be a talk back with the actors following the play about the character viewers sided with and why.”

Award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath continues the story of the groundbreaking classic 1879 play by Henrik Ibsen in which Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children and begin a life on her own. This climactic event—when Nora slams the door on everything in her life—instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In “A Doll’s House Part II,” many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind?

Nate Gross, Kentucky Wesleyan theatre faculty and director of theatre, plays the husband, and says, “This has been a unique opportunity to act with students and with Grae Greer, the new director of theatre at OCTC. She brings a wealth of fresh knowledge and energy to a theatre department that has already accomplished so much. She is a joy to work with, and I am excited about future possibilities for our colleges to collaborate.”

“The rehearsal process has been a dream,” says Greer. “The collaboration and communication between the creative team and performers is something I’ve never experienced with other productions. Since seeing the original Broadway production, this show has been on my dream acting list. Nora is such a fierce, vulnerable woman and getting to bring her to life is an experience I’ll never find anywhere else in this community.”

Gross adds, “This may be the most beautifully constructed play I’ve ever read. Hnath makes you feel and understand every character’s perspective. The play makes you think about marriage, family, tradition and the impact of your decisions on others. The play gives anyone who is in a relationship or will ever be in a relationship a lot to consider.”

Costumes are designed by Owensboro resident Haley Roby.

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More from Grae Greer:
“From the color mapping of costumes, the choice to stage it in the round, as well as performing in a literal giant bird cage, to the post-show talk back; audience members are getting more than just a show. It’s a full evening of art and collaboration.” 

“I want audience members to leave with questions. I hope folks get in their cars as they leave and take a moment to ponder who was right and what choices were wrong. Who was the hero, and who was the villain? Theatre is meant to challenge what you feel.”

More from Jordan Blake Key
“This is a living, breathing work so desperately relevant to our understanding of standing up for ourselves and the consequences of those actions. It explores what we owe to each other in the various relationships in our lives, what it means to love and live for oneself, and how we are all interconnected even if we share different values. 

“In this modernized sequel to the original, we play with the symbolism of birds and confinement and balance. This is a version that stands on its own, and audience members need not be familiar with the original play to immerse themselves in Part II. It speaks for itself. 

“It has been amazing to see Kentucky Wesleyan’s Theatre Department grow so rapidly over these past few years, and it is a true honor to be a part of this production. I don’t believe anyone will watch this play and leave as the same person who walked in.”