Three and a half stars
Butler-Morris House. Directed by Nicole Gatzimos and Nina Ryan.
NoExit found the perfect venue for their stylized adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. In the small parlor of the Morris-Butler House, the audience gets intimate with a couple that knows no real intimacy. We have wonderful close-ups of Roger Ortman as Torvald, so expressive in his dotage and severe in his disgust, and Georgeanna Smith as Nora, whose face is china doll perfection as she feeds her husband adulation. With the on/off of a spotlight, directors Nicole Gatzimos (who also adapted the play) and Nina Ryan interrupt the dialogue with dance poses and repeated phrases to emphasize how much of this relationship is mere ritual. Although there were moments when I longed for Ibsen’s excised dialogue, Eleanora succeeds in heightening our sense of the relationship, especially as there are no other major characters. Three servants act as chorus, echoing the couple’s words and quite literally supporting them. The presence of others in their lives is hinted at with the buzzing of the doorbell and offstage slamming of doors. Eleanora is a small package with surprisingly memorable contents. Through April 26; 971-6639