New York and Connecticut theater reviews and news


“Nora,” a collaboration between Henrik Ibsen and Ingmar Bergman staged at Westport County Playhouse

How often does a director get to stage a collaboration between a world-class playwright and a world-class movie director?

Almost never. That’s what makes David Kennedy’s production of “Nora,” based on Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” as written by Ingmar Bergman, such a rare and unique experience both for the creators and the audience. It is on stage at The Westport Country Playhouse July 15 through August 2.

Described as a “sexy and suspenseful story of love, lies and blackmail,” this version of Ibsen’s classic delves deeply into the story of the woman at its center, Nora Torvald, a middle-class woman with a seemingly perfect life. But when a menacxing man form her past appears, heridyllid world is suddenly turned upside down.

“Bergman’s interpretation is both reverent and totally daring,” said Kennedy, “ and the results are as fresh as can be. It’s powerful, moving, surprising and feels totally of the moment.”

“Every time I come to rehearsal.” He said in a telephone interview between rehearsals, “I find something I hadn’t discovered before. People who think thy know ‘A Doll’s House,’ will find that this version makes the characters much more complex and contradictory; that a grain of truth doesn’t allow for the full truth.”

Bergman, the Academy Award winning director of such films as “Fanny and Alexander,” has cut Ibsen’s play down to five essential characters and by doing so, according to Kennedy, who is associate artistic director of the Playhouse,, “realizes the poetic heart of the play.. It is not, as many people think the story of a break-up, but it is the story of a marriage. I think Nora is different in this version in her understanding of the relationships between men and women.”

As to its relevance to today when half of all marriages end in divorce, Kennedy said, “It makes you realize that as far as we’ve come, we still labor under a great deal of illusion. I hope audiences come away thinking about their own lives nd relationships, as well as about other people’s. Things are always more complicated than they seem and I hope people come away with a more empathetic understand of life.”

--Gloria Cole Sugarman
June 29, 2014

Sign up for our mailing list