on Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”

140310_r24710_p233Hilton Als at The New Yorker:

Ibsen starts off by telling us something about who Nora is—or, rather, the conditions she lives under. It’s Christmastime in Norway, and the Helmer household is filled with excitement. A sweet-tempered maid, Helene (Mabel Clements), scurries about the Helmers’ tidy house; she opens the front door, and our fair-haired heroine enters Ian MacNeil’s ingenious set, which sometimes revolves, like a dancer in a music box, as the actors move from room to room, trailed by Stuart Earl’s lovely score. Nora is carrying a number of packages; they’re gifts for her three children. As she sets her packages down and takes off her coat, Helene tells her that her husband, Torvald (Dominic Rowan), is in his study. After years of struggle, he’s about to be made the manager of a local bank. Things are on the upswing in the Helmer household, but something’s wrong.

Before Nora can alert Torvald or the children to her presence, she devours a chocolate that she’s secreted away. But why is her pleasure a secret?

more here.