Brooklyn | 2h 10m | Already closed

A Doll's House

From 18 critic and 40 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Masterful

About the show

Theatre for a New Audience presents Henrik Ibsen's classic drama about marriage, illusion, and deceit. More…

TFANA Associate Artistic Director Arin Arbus stages Thornton Wilder's English adaptation of Ibsen’s proto-feminist play, which examines a marriage held together by illusion and lies. For the first time ever, 'A Doll's House' is playing in repertory with a new adaptation of August Strindberg's 'The Father,' which was written in response to Ibsen's controversial 1879 drama. Both productions star Drama Desk Award winners John Douglas Thompson and Maggie Lacey.


"These inspired revivals using the Thornton Wilder adaptation of 'A Doll’s House' and Scottish playwright David Greig’s new English language version of 'The Father' feature a company of actors led by the magnificent John Douglas Thompson and Maggie Lacey, all of whom appear in both plays. With the audience sitting on opposite sides of a narrow playing area with two walls removed that puts the viewers ring side, these productions are dazzling theater whether seen in tandem or seen separately." Full Review


"If the plot is riveting, the acting is the lynchpin to a good production. And, fortunately, the acting ensemble here is a strong one…Thompson really displays his virtuosity at the eleventh hour. Maggie Lacey, in the pivotal part of Nora, has the necessary range too, gradually evolving from the doll-like wife to the determined woman who insists on her independence…Arbus does a double slam-dunk by staging these two 19th-century works in rotation...This theatrical event is a must-see." Full Review

NY Theatre Guide

"The thrill, the shock, the surprise, the horror, the recognition, and the sorrow are ignited by the masterful and astounding performances by Maggie Lacey and John Douglas Thompson. They each craft characters of intense complexity, which had me holding my breath, wiping away tears, and screaming loudly at them in my head...I am in awe of Lacey's monumental achievements with these two characters. Thompson’s performance broke my thesaurus." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"A taut, tension-filled psychological battle…Maggie Lacey does not disappoint, speeding around the living room of her apartment like a wind-up toy…In Lacey's hands, Nora is a far more complex woman than one remembers…Thompson's Torvald is a finely calibrated characterization, the evident age difference between him and Lacey working to good effect…The rest of Arbus' production--which makes use of Wilder's highly speakable 1937 translation--is equally acute." Full Review


"Insightfully directed…A terrific repertory ensemble…It's fascinating to see Lacey's Nora turn from fluttery 'doll wife' to determinedly independent woman…Thompson's Torvald is equally unmissable…Jesse J. Perez is magnificently angry and distraught as Krogstad…While I've seen some wonderful versions of the Ibsen, I can't remember a more touching finale than this one." Full Review

Epoch Times

"TFANA presents the two works in repertory to great effect…Seeing both together makes it easy to understand why 'A Doll’s House' is the more frequently performed work...Thompson gives a standout performance here, playing Thorwald as self-absorbed and unsympathetic, but never truly evil...Lacey plays Nora to perfection…Arin Arbus’s direction works well here, especially in terms of building the tension of who will be found ultimately in the wrong…Very well done indeed." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"An outstanding production...A strong cast carries the play...In 'A Doll’s House,' the effervescent Maggie Lacey plays the youthful, charming Nora, adopting a coquettish air whenever she wants something from her husband, Torvald (the marvelous John Douglas Thompson)." Full Review

Off Off Online

"'A Doll’s House' is a manifesto that speaks boldly even today...With humiliating clarity, Nora comes to understand how living in homes run by men has stunted her...Lacey does especially well with the lighter shades of Nora’s passionate character...Arbus and her marvelous casts invite us to place these plays beside each other and come away with a new understanding, not only of these works, not only of these playwrights, but of ourselves. Can great theater do more?" Full Review

Entertainment Hour Blog

“A great piece of theater will leave its audience having a full-out discussion. TFANA’s productions leaves its audiences having full-out debates...Staging for ‘A Doll’s House’ is mostly bright and refreshing...Maggie Lacey’s portrayal of Nora begins effervescent and carefree...Thompson’s Torvald is sincere; it is very clear he loves his wife and only wants to take care of her...The final moments of the play are a jarring and emotional experience.” Full Review

The New York Times

"What really awakens the senses here is the feeling of suffocation that pervades domestic battlefields, an impression of doom woven into the fabric of a social order…It is to the credit of this interpretation that you feel not only for the painfully enlightened wife but also for the bewildered husband in torment...These twinned productions of Strindberg and Ibsen maintain a similarly low hysteria quotient, without sacrificing the plays’ anxious and compelling momentum." Full Review


“Like a 1950s sitcom wife, Lacey endows Nora with innately comedic qualities. She's flighty and cartoonish...It's not only funny, but provides for a thrilling transformation as Lacey's Nora awakens to the unjust realities governing her marriage. By contrast, Thompson's Torvald seems blissfully unaware of the negative effects of his paternalism. His epic meltdown in the final scene is one for the ages: We would leave him too.” Full Review

New York Daily News

"The battle of the sexes comes served two ways in Theatre for a New Audience’s sturdy and ever-accessible double bill of classics...Maggie Lacey plays against her girl-next-door looks...In 'A Doll’s House,' she bolts from and slams the door on her marriage. John Douglas Thompson brings depth as her spouse in each show." Full Review

Time Out New York

“Lacey’s Nora has the makings of a modern woman. She employs every resource at her disposal to sustain a family life that happens to be a fantasy. Jesse J. Perez tends to mustache-twirl as Krogstad, but Linda Powell is nicely grounded as his former inamorata, fallen on hard times. Nigel Gore makes for a congenial Dr. Rank, one whose charm outstrips his morbidity. Thompson admirers will avidly await Torvald’s inevitable eruption, which does not disappoint—except, pivotally, Nora.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"The plays feel more accessible and tailored to a wider audience than ever, thanks to dual outstanding lead performances in both pieces by John Douglas Thompson and Maggie Lacey. Under the capable direction of Arin Arbus, Thompson and Lacey storm through both masterworks with an intensity and passion that elevate them far above all other elements of the productions." Full Review

Berkshire Fine Arts

"Lacey plays Nora as housewifely but she misses some of the inherent spine Nora has already displayed…The final scene is powerful here because this man loves Nora. He does not have time to respond to her offer of a real marriage before she exits their home…Often productions wilt at the end as Nora gains in strength and Torvald simply slides away. Not in this production...Thompson is one of our great actors and it is a treat to see him." Full Review

Carey Purcell

"Gripping and resonant...A feeling of suffocation permeates 'A Doll’s House'...Lacey seems more comfortable with the flutteringly nervous Nora than she does as the calmly composed Laura, but Douglas is perhaps a bit too subdued in Torvald’s moral righteousness and superiority...Especially affecting are how the conclusions of plays are staged, with scenes that are both haunting and damning of the characters and offer new perspectives that blur the lines of good and evil." Full Review

Plays to See

"Thompson’s Thorwald is all stuffy respectability, with a springy-legged half crouch that simultaneously suggests readiness for action and due deference to the system at large...Thompson’s intrinsic dignity as an actor though seems to keep him from ever being quite fully stripped bare emotionally, which blunts the power of the ending a bit...This is modern domestic drama of the highest caliber, played exceptionally well, and presented in a program that will leave you discussing it for days." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"‘The Father’ and ‘A Doll’s House’ are always worth revisiting, and the idea of pairing these two modern classics about marriage is commendable. For all their flaws, the productions are consistently viewable and smoothly done. They're accessible and thoughtful but—aside from the magnetic Thompson—neither is particularly memorable; perhaps, in fact, that's somewhat to their credit." Full Review

Great acting, Masterful, Great staging, Resonant, Exquisite

See it if you want to see a wonderfully staged, superbly performed production of one of the Ibsen's best plays. The greatest Nora I've ever seen.

Don't see it if you can't look at a classic play with fresh eyes. This production is pure realism, but it's done exquisitely well.

Great acting, Ambitious, Must see, Masterful

See it if The best production I have seen. Thompson is as always magnificent - particularly in the 2nd act, and Lacey is transformative as Nora.

Don't see it if You don't like Ibsen.

Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if The cast was fabulous,the writing wonderful.Its great to be transported to another time and place. A really good NY audience totally engagin

Don't see it if There is something for everyone in this show 1:30 hours is worth your time

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Masterful

See it if A great play performed by great actors in a great production. What could be better? Not much.

Don't see it if You don't love great theater.

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Must see, Masterful

See it if You enjoy Metcalf's masterful acting. You enjoy tightly-written and clever new plays. Even if you haven't seen the first play (read online!)

Don't see it if You prefer musicals. You don't like comedies. You aren't willing to do your small amount of homework to at least read a synopsis of original

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Must see

See it if You like great acting and thoughtful theater

Don't see it if You like traditional plots and staging

Absorbing, Entertaining, Masterful, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You want a well written dark look at marriage and family.

Don't see it if You need more than great dialogue to be entertained.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if like fine performances, classic drama, intimate version of the Ibsen Classic

Don't see it if don't like dramas, don't want to see family strife played out in front of you

Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you want to see an important play in theater history done with great clarity. And still it manages to be a wonderful evening in the theater.

Don't see it if being intellectually stimulated bothers you.

Great acting, Intense, Masterful

See it if classic theatre done well

Don't see it if if you are looking for something new

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful

See it if You love Ibsen (I do!!!!) You want to see a great cast.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy family strife, and if you don't what are you doing trying to watch theatre.

Riveting, Intense, Great staging, Superb acting

See it if ready to have the acting blow your socks off

Don't see it if your a misogynist with a short attention spand

Resonant, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you liked Next to Normal, you are intrigued by gender issues, you want to see a very good production of a play you read in high school

Don't see it if you need something shorter, you don't like period pieces

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Must see

See it if you have never seen this classic play before and if you want to see some top notch acting with a thought provoking story.

Don't see it if you want big sets or are not into plays that make you think.

Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Absorbing

See it if you like a good cast including supporting players delivering strong performances, Henrik Ibsen, or compelling female characters.

Don't see it if you're in the mood for something light & fluffy, or you don't like Ibsen. This is a good, solid version of A Doll's House

Relevant, Profound, Great staging

See it if unconventional performances, intimate theater setting and intelligent direction of this Ibsen classic appeals.

Don't see it if you've seen the play too many times, are sick of Feminist heroines, would prefer Matilda to this 19th-century drama.

Absorbing, Great writing, Profound

See it if you want to see a very faithful interpretation of one of the most important works of Modern Drama. It's a very good but very safe production

Don't see it if you hope for anything new, edgy or original from Ibsen's controversial (in its time) masterwork about the "New Woman".

Clever, Entertaining, Innovative

See it if u can go last minute, it's everything u heard and more, even without original cast

Don't see it if only if you don't have the time, otherwise a must not miss.

Dated, Thought-provoking, Pedestrian, Intelligent

See it if You've never seen the play, it will give you a good idea of the themes, but not of why Nora makes her profound transformative decision.

Don't see it if You've seen more vital, engaging Doll Houses and don't want to see J D Thompson mostly wasted . See The Father instead.

Great acting, Absorbing, An excellent cast headed by maggie lacey's fine interpretation of nora and the ever excellent john douglas thompson. well directed and still relevant.

See it if An excellent cast, well directed with fine performances by Maggie Lacey and John Douglas Thomson. Still relevant! Well worth seeing.

Don't see it if Ibsen isn't your cup of tea.

Great writing, Slow, Intelligent, Uninspired, Competent

See it if you've seen "The Father" and want to make the comparison.

Don't see it if you've already seen a strong production of this classic.

Not "good"; it get a "so-so" from me

See it if What went wrong here? Was it me or the production? The same cast which was so good in THE FATHER presents a flat reading of this great play.

Don't see it if Nora's speech to her husband in the last act is still thrilling, but the arguments leading up to it are weak. Thompson does not shine here.

Quirky, Intense, Disappointing, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if you want to see really good actors go all in on a classic work; if you've not heard Thornton Wilder's adaptation

Don't see it if you are our for an entertaining night at the theatre; if you do not have a pre-existing investment in the play, the actors or the director

Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious

See it if You are in for a good night.

Don't see it if If you don't like atypical plots.

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Exquisite, Great acting

See it if You like an obsorbing story and a good,thought provoking ending.

Don't see it if You don't like older style plays

Cast & Creatives (19)