Bates College theater will present Ibsen’s ‘Doll House’

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LEWISTON — Henrik Ibsen’s 19th-century play “A Doll’s House,” which still sparks debate about a woman’s role in family and society, will be presented at Bates College in March.

College senior Elizabeth Castellano of New Suffolk, N.Y., is directing the play as part of her honors thesis in theater.

Set in Norway in the 1870s, Ibsen’s play sent jaws dropping throughout Europe with its bold presentation of a wife’s rebellion against her oppressive husband and society as Nora Helmer, the play’s “doll,” is forced to decide between family and self. The play has been produced worldwide and was released as a 1973 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Claire Bloom.

Castellano adapts Ibsen’s story to World War I-era New York City, where the pressures and promises of city life and the women’s suffrage movement amplify for today’s audience the impact of Nora’s rebellion.

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“The ‘city’ offers hope for a different life,” Castellano says. “It represents nontraditional thinking, a place to fit in even if you don’t fit in.”

Castellano has an eye for plays that depict controversial relationships between men and women. Last spring, she directed David Mamet’s “Oleanna,” a provocative drama about a female student’s relationship with her male professor.

“I don’t think it’s as important to have questions answered in theater as it is to ask questions, and with any luck, spark debate,” Castellano says.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, March 8-10, and Monday, March 12; and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11, in Schaeffer Theater, 305 College St.

Tickets, $6/$3 for seniors, are available at www.batestickets.com. For more information, call 786-8294.

Senior Elizabeth Castellano is directing Bates College’s mainstage production of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” on March 8-12.

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