Slam! Nora Helmer ends Henrik Ibsen's famed play A Doll's House by slamming the door behind her as she leaves. Many critics believe that she thus started the modern era. But Nora returns 15 years later in Lucas Hnath's A Doll's House, Part 2, at the Arden Theatre Company, Oct. 24-Dec. 9. It's quite a get for the Arden: a Philly premiere of a play piping-hot fresh from Broadway (where it closed only last September). Grace Gonglewski will play Nora, and Steven Rishard is Torvald.
Gonglewski was helping her daughter get ready for school when I reached her. She has never played Nora before, though she has played the lead in Hedda Gabler. "I love Part 2," she says. "It's exhilarating, maddening, and really provocative. Some of my friends who saw it on Broadway went into it saying, 'What can this male writer tell us about feminism?' but came back saying, 'He's really having an argument with himself, taking both sides.' It's lightning-fast, with a breathless quality. I'm looking forward to building on the Arden Doll's House," so razor sharp earlier this year.