At the time of its release, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen was both radical and influential with respect to both society and storytelling. Ibsen’s controversial work was often associated with gender politics, with it opening a dialogue on whether feminist ideals had a place in theatre. Because of this, my production of A Doll’s House aims to further highlight the effects of inequality within society through establishing connections between its effects on characters like Nora to similar occurrences in modern society. In this paper, I will discuss my vision of the lighting to be used in Act II and its significance to the play, specifically regarding the suffocating feeling Nora has along with the internal conflict developing. The purpose of these elements is to emphasize the inequalities between Krogstad and Nora, which is meant to connect the play to their views on society.
The first aspect of Act II that will be accentuated with lighting is the intense feeling of suffocation that comes with inequality. To communicate this, the entire set will quickly darken as Krogstad enters the scene, with a piercing white light shining over his head. Ideally, it should not leave a shadow. This is meant to give the audience a foreboding feel for the character. Conversely, Nora will have a softer appearance, with two lights on her, creating a Venn diagram effect on the ground. One light will be red and the other white. These are meant to represent worry and innocence respectively. As the situation deescalates, warm-colored lights will turn on, illuminating the doors and piano. This is meant to highlight Nora’s places of escape and comfort.
The use of lighting will also be important in the climax of the unfolding situation in Act II. Throughout the scene, a window will be visible in the background with a rainstorm increasing slowly in intensity, escalating as the scene does, with the climax of the storm being a lightning strike followed by heavy rain. This is meant to parallel the internal conflict, or storm, that is present. Towards the tail-end of the scene, bright and harsh lighting of the area will be apparent. This will be used to convey the significance of the scene while also revealing Nora’s realization that it will likely never be resolved.
In conclusion, this production of A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is largely about the effects of inequality within society. The first aspect of Act II that will be enhanced with lighting is the feeling of suffocation that comes with inequality, with the second use of lighting meant as an accentuation of the significance and drama of the scene as well as Nora’s realization of the truth. By using lighting in creative ways to convey certain emotions or enhance the drama of a scene, I hope to bring a unique rendition of the play; a breath of fresh air.