I watched the riveting production of Dollhouse, and I felt that the two hours in the theater were well spent. The selection of professional actors who understood their roles made the directing easy. James Taulli directed the play skillfully, and he was able to deliver a flawless production. He was able to ensure that the actors delivered in their performance. I have read the original play by Isben. This was the first time for me to watch Theresa Rebeck’s adaptation of the play. Both plays differ considerably, especially in their changed subject matter and themes. However, Taulli’s direction made the play enjoyable. He did not choose to concentrate on delivering an Isben performance. Instead, he took Rebeck’s play as a different entity and this enabled him to incorporate any modern changes in the play. This decision worked well because he was able to capture the attention of the audience, who waited in eagerness in order to see how the play would end.
All the actors delivered as they acted their roles well. Amanda Arbues acted as Christine, who is Nora’s friend and Evan’s secretary. Adam El-Sharkawi as Dr. Damien was able to convince the audience of his love for Nora. I felt that Dr. Damien and Christine could have had more representation. They have crucial parts in the play and the way they executed it left the audience desiring more. However, the characters I found outstanding are Nora and Evan. Their delivery was so authentic, and I felt as though I was watching a Hollywood film. Craig Tyrl delivered a convincing and credible performance in his character as Evan. His transformation from a man who seems to understand nothing about his wife to a harsh and jealous partner was authentic. It was captivating watching him as he played the role of the overbearing husband. Just when I thought that he was stuck in this role, his quick temper changed him so drastically that it was almost hard to connect him to his previous role.
Melissa Booey delivered an excellent performance as Nora. She was professional in her delivery, and this made her acting terrifically believable. I was able to follow and identify with Nora. She had a riveting performance as she changed from a woman who seems content in life, to one who becomes confused as she realizes that she can no longer keep up with her pretences. She acts the role of the domestic wife perfectly. Her preoccupation at the present seems to be her family’s happiness. Booey acted well as the suburban wife of the sixties. She does not have many concerns, seeing that his husband has a decent job, and he has just been promoted. This contentment is contrasted with the turmoil she faces in her life. She works hard at keeping her secret, but she learns that the past can sometimes be unforgiving.
The design was thoroughly thought out in terms of the costumes and the architecture used. The play was set in 1962 in New England. I could tell that it was the sixties because of the costume selection. The female characters were especially convincing. Yui Suzuki and Taylor Donham did a fantastic job in transforming the young cast to play older characters living in the sixties. They did the make up and costume design. The characters had costumes and hairstyles that were common during that period. Donham did an exceptional job in ensuring that the costumes he chose for Nora and Evan differentiated them from the rest of the characters. Nora and Evan can afford expensive dresses, and this shows their position in the society.
Daniel DeAnda handled the scenic design while Jayne Dutra and Chelsea Bolt did the lighting and sounds. The architecture selected for the play was suitable. The set was aesthetically pleasing and tasteful. The furnishings used in the set not only reflected the period, but they were also able to capture the wealth and prestige of Nora and Evan. By looking at the furnishings, the audience understands that the couple is well off, and they belong to the upper class society. This is also reflected in the type of dresses that Nora wears. The sound and lighting used were okay. I did not struggle to see what the characters were doing, and I was able to hear every word they said.
I felt that the show was able to deliver its message well. Everything about it fit in place. The director was able to bring out the characters performances. The actors delivered their best, and the costume design, make-up and set were done well. I got different messages from the play. People need to understand the meaning of commitment and love before deciding to get married. They need to learn and understand each other more as this will help them to solve the problems they face in an amicable manner. People should not take each other for granted as each person has a pivotal role to play in the family. Most importantly, people should not deceive each other, as doing so will only cause conflicts later. Lies and secrets destroy most marriages and friendships. Creating an environment where people are able to discuss their issues will enhance relationships. The themes present in the play include love, lies and deception, marriage and family. Love is represented differently by the characters. There is love between Nora and her husband and family. There is also the love that Dr. Damien feels for Nora. Lies and deceptions are present in the play. Nora lies to her husband and keeps her secret from him. Nora and Evan advance the themes of marriage and family.