Arts & Ent.

“A Doll’s House, Part 2” opens Friday

Willamette Valley Bank presents Keizer Homegrown Theatre production of Nicholas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2, opening Friday, May 5. 

The original A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen, premiered in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1879. It was an oppressive time for women throughout Western culture, who were seen almost exclusively as subservient housekeepers and had few options beyond motherhood and wifehood. 

A Doll’s House, Part 2 opened on Broadway in 2017, nearly one hundred and forty years since Ibsen first penned the original. Suffrage had taken incredible strides since then, but Lucas Hnath’s follow up also exposes the fact that while many things may have changed since the 19th century, many also remain the same. 

A Doll’s House, Part 2, requires little familiarity with the original work outside of the knowledge that Nora has left her husband Torvald 15 years prior to the start of Part 2. It explores the fallout of Nora’s decision, particularly in regards to Nora herself (who becomes a successful author. Torvald, Emmy (one of their now adult children), and Anne, the former caretaker of the Helmer children and the closest thing Nora has to a mother. The language used in A Doll’s House, Part 2 includes anachronistic, modern-day colloquialisms and phrasing which was a conscious choice on behalf of Hnath to jolt the audience and remind them that the arguments they are hearing can still be relevant to our current day and age. 

The Keizer Homegrown Theatre (KHT) production is co-directed by Tom Hewitt and Patricia Wylie, two theater veterans. Wylie was in Scotland and England earlier this year so she had to do some of her work via Zoom. 

Cathy Willoughby of McMinnville returns to the KHT stage to play Nora Helmer. She last appeared in KHT’s Enchanted April and several virtual productions. 

Torvald Helmer is brought to life by local actor Joe Martin, making his Keizer Homegrown debut. 

The Helmer’s daughter, Emmy is portrayed by KHT mainstay Elizabeth Ming, who has appeared in a number of previous Keizer Homegrown shows. 

Rounding out the cast of four is Robynn Hayek as Anne Marie, the former nanny, who is like a mother to Nora. 

A Doll’s House, Part 2 is produced with a minimal stage, though the costumes set the time and place. Costumes are by Linda Baker and Loriann Schmidt. The technical crew includes Brandon Mitchell, Brigitte Miller, Kirsten Davis, Nate Price, Rob McMorris and Robert Condron. 

Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20. Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. on May 7, 14 and 21. 

Tickets are $15; admission is free to holders of an Oregon Trail card. 

Local financial institution Willamette Valley Bank is the presenting sponsor. KBZY Radio is a media partner for this show. 

Keizer Homegrown Theatre is located on the second floor of the Keizer Cultural Center at 980 Chemawa Rd. NE in Keizer.