The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
EUTCO’s rendition of Nora: A Doll’s House was a dynamic, creative and wonderfully uncomfortable exploration of womanhood over the past century. In this adaptation we follow the lives of three women with a shared secret as they navigate the suffocating confines of marriage and motherhood. This hyperfeminist, queer-inclusive production delved deep into the psychology and experiences of women who have been restricted and silenced and I would urge any woman in Exeter to go and see it while you have the chance. It’s a relatable depiction of condescending, patronising male figures that somehow manages to leave you feeling hopeful!
This piece was the epitome of strong ensemble work, with director Sorcha Harris refusing to waste the talents of any of the actors. Each character had an emotionally charged moment to showcase their abilities but the most effective part of this choice was the collaborative atmosphere of suffocation created by the still, constant presence of actors at the back of the stage, giving a visual demonstration of the title ‘Doll’s House’. Some notable stand out performances came from Ellie Cheevers as Nora One and Millie Jewry as Nora Three. Their subtle intonation and communicative styles transported us between time periods with fluidity, striking a careful balance between conveying the rigid, ever-present oppression of the patriarchy and the changing, varying coping mechanisms of the individuals who suffer under it. The affection between all three Nora’s was clear, creating warm moments of unity amongst the bleak subject matter. Additionally, Ben Cooper as Daniel gave a touching, realistic performance through his conversations with each Nora that resonated strongly with the audience. Whilst the production uses some interesting, abstract movements and dialogue, it is in the moments of realism and conversations that it really shines.
Other stars of the production were costume team: Laura Conroy and Talia Neat. Despite student budgets, the outfits created were almost indistinguishable from professional productions. The costumes from 1918 were beautiful and contextually accurate and Christine two’s 1960s matching set was enviable! The biggest challenge here lies in constructing the male costumes to fit across all three time periods- a task that was executed excellently through timeless smart jackets and accessories. The simultaneous alternating time periods could have created issues elsewhere in the production, however Sorcha Harris’ carefully considered movement choices made the process fluid and easy to understand.
Nora: a Doll’s House is absolutely worth a watch. The hard work of the cast and crew is evident in every single feature of this production and it was an entirely unique audience experience. I can’t wait to see what this talented team does next.