A Doll’s House Part 2 was the first show we did once returning to school after the initial Covid-19 lockdown, and in some ways we wanted this show to be an event. This was the first performance my university's theatre did outside in many years, so I wanted to find music that could both create an exciting energy before the show, but also fit the show and help elevate the story. Something about the show that I thought stood out was the fact that this play is a sequel to the original A Doll’s House which came out almost 140 years ago, and yet the language of the play does not try to emulate Ibsen. Lucas Hnath wrote the dialogue as a contemporary playwright would, which created this idea of the new and the old colliding to create a work of art, which was the idea I wanted to follow in the music used for the show. After hours of listening and trying to find the right sound, I came across a group called “Danish String Quartet”. This group’s music focuses on brand new arrangements of Nordic folk songs from long ago. I felt like this style of music not only created an interesting atmosphere for the play, but also instilled a sense of excitement and wonder to the piece that I wanted the audience to feel. The music also was a way to honor the Nordic roots of Henrik Ibsen and fit the plays setting of Norway nicely.
I wanted pre show music to be exciting and high energy. This was to help the show feel more like an event like the director wanted and as a way to allow the audience to feel the same energy going into the show. Most of the songs used in preshow are up-tempo and fast paced songs with some variety. All songs that I used are by “Danish String Quartet”. Short clips of each song can be heard below.
Pre and Post Show Announcements
Our version of A Doll's House Part 2 was double cast in order to better prepare for if a cast member were to be exposed to Covid. One cast performed on Wednesday and Friday (Nora Cast) and the other on Thursday and Saturday (Torvald Cast). To further differentiate the two casts I had the respective Nora's of each cast record a Pre and Post show announcement. The recording from the Torvald Cast's Nora would play on the Nora Cast's performance dates and vice versa. This was a small way to help each performance feel like its own show.
Nora’s entrance is the first musical moment of the show. In our production, Nora circled the entire stage and made her way to the door. For underscoring this, I wanted a piece that was slow and decisive, creating this feeling of wonder as Nora approaches the door. “Waltz after Lasse in Lyby” evokes a feeling of someone landing on shore after a long journey. The piece starts with a high pitched bell which is almost like the knock before the actual knock. The initial strings come in as Nora is first seen and the melodic line is almost like waves that transport Nora to her destination. I created this feeling of returning home after a long journey, which in reality Nora is doing. The piece also creates a mystery for those unfamiliar with the play, asking questions like “Who is this woman?” and “What is she here for?”.
The director wanted to make Emmys entrance stand out and create a moment out of it. I used “AE Romeser” because I felt like it was able to communicate this sense of guilt and longing that has plagued Nora since leaving her kids. It communicates to the audience without words how Nora feels having to finally confront one of her children. The song is also in minor key which immediately evokes a darker tone, along with the more legato strings. Within the span of 30 seconds the audience is aware of the headspace both Nora and Emmy are in going into the next scene.
The final moment of the play is where we placed the final musical moment. As Nora decided to finally leave for good there is another underscore moment. I wanted this moment to convey this sense of sadness yet hopefulness in Nora. A feeling of having to leave her previous life for good, as well as her children yet hopeful. While also hopeful for what her future will bring. While “Now Found Is The Fairest Of Roses” is slower and more legato like in Emmys entrance, the key is now major to reflect the change Nora has made as a character while still conveying a sense of sadness.
For curtain call I wanted there to be this return to the energy of preshow. Just like preshow, I wanted curtain call to feel like a celebration of not just the show, but the feeling of the return of theatre. It also serves as a representation of the story coming full circle, with Nora leaving as she came in, full of determination to get what she wants. This show was an interesting process and trying to do theatre in the current world was no easy task, but we ended up making it happen.
Director - David Charles Goyette
Asst. Director - Angel Lee
Stage Manager - Sammi Berkelman
Asst. Stage Managers - Emma Lewis & Anna Markiewicz
Nora - Courtney Klein & Meredith Murphree
Torvald - Zac O'Keefe & Kameron Boucher
Ann Marie - Gael Jenks & Courtney Kopp
Emmy - Faith Nagel & Genesis Sanchez
Photographer - Tim Barcus
Graphic Designer - Kayla Decker
Scenic Designer - Brad M. Carlson
Lighting Designer - Brad M. Carlson
Costume Designer - Michelle Elliot Winchester
Hair & Makeup Designer - Theresa Mae Dawson
Props Designer - Maddie Meyer
Production Manager - Justin Sweeny
Asst. Production Manager - Delany Wehde