A DOLL’S HOUSE

By Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Frank McGuinness
Directed by Kate Cherry

Nora is a vibrant young housewife who suffers from a dependency on her husband Torvald. When Nora arranges a life-saving loan without his knowledge, the revelation of the crime results in the exposure of the illusions behind their marriage, and Nora wakes to feelings of self awareness for the first time in her life.

February 14-17, 2024
semel theater 

All performances open to the public

A DOLL’S HOUSE – MCGUINNESS is presented by special arrangement with Broadway Licensing, LLC, servicing the Dramatists Play Service collection. (www.dramatists.com)

A DOLL’S HOUSE was previously produced at the Playhouse Theatre in London by Thelma Holt.
Produced on Broadway by Bill Kenwright in association with Thelma Holt.

Run Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission

Content Advisory: This play includes discussions of terminal illness and suicidal ideation.

Sensory Advisory: This production includes a moment of flashing lights and strobe effects

A DOLL’S HOUSE
Creative Team

Scenic Design

Lulu Batzorig

Costume Design

Amaya Gonzalez-Møllmann

Lighting Design

Lauren Hodgkins

Sound Design

Henry Kacik

Props Lead

Ava Scanlon

STAGE MANAGER

Blake Berggren

PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR

Mina-Claire Paz-Le Draoulec

Dramaturg

Sam Evans

A note from the
Dramaturg, Sam Evans

A Doll’s House, originally written in 1879 by prolific Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, was inspired by the true story of his friend, Laura Kieler. Laura forged a signature to receive a loan and save the life of her husband, Victor, but tried to hide her actions from him. When Laura faced the repercussions of her crime and Victor discovered her secret, he demanded they separate and committed her to an asylum. Laura was soon discharged, and she persuaded Victor to take her back. Upon hearing this story, Ibsen noted that “A woman cannot be herself in modern society. It is an exclusively male society, with laws made by men and with prosecutors and judges who assess feminine conduct from a masculine standpoint.” Such is a pattern in Ibsen’s artistic oeuvre, where complex women are forced to make impossible choices, often leading to tragedy. Ibsen is renowned for his portrayal of feminism, family dynamics, lies and betrayals, and darkly emotional character arcs. These contributions to theatre have titled him “the father of realism and modern drama.”

In A Doll’s House, Nora’s inner turmoil is displayed as she dances the “Tarantella.” This dance originated in Italy and was thought to occur when a woman was bitten by a venomous spider. She would become afflicted by “tarantism” and move her body frantically to rid herself of the venom. However, the bite was only as painful as a bee sting, and some people believe the Tarantella was truly a way for women to abstractly express their frustration and anger in a socially acceptable manner. By effectively “shaking it out,” the women were able to calmly go about their normal lives. In Nora’s case, she attempts to expel the feeling that she is poisonous to her children as well as relieve her anxiety. Her dancing is a wordless call for help that fails to reach her husband or friends, leaving her feeling broken and hopeless as a wife, mother, and person.Nora’s performance of the Tarantella highlights the essence of this season at EmersonStage: the need for self-expression and recognition, and the intersections between passion, pain, and art. As she dances for her life and the well-being of her family, she finally creatively conveys her love and hurt. This leads Nora to question what is best for herself, her children, and Torvald. As a result, Emerson’s production of A Doll’s House asks audience members, what are you doing to escape the constrictions of society? Are you doing what is best for your own needs? What about the needs of your loved ones? What if those two things conflict? And how does one truly decide what is “best”?

Meet the
Cast

Nora — AISHA AKOREDE
Torvald Helmer — MATEO BAILEY
Kristine Linde — ELLA HAGG
Nils Krogstad — ZACK DEMERS
Dr. Rank — JAVIER GARCIA
Anne-Marie — LOUISA “LULU” ROYCE
Helene –– AURORA SHEN
The Messenger –– JASON SERRANO-KORN
Ivar –– OLIVER JOHNSON
Bobby –– FIRO OLIVA RIDGE 

Understudies

Nora & Helene — LOUISA “LULU” ROYCE
Torvald — JASON SERRANO-KORN
Kristine & Anne-Marie — AURORA SHEN
Dr. Rank –– SAGE BEASLEY
Nils Krogstad –– CONNOR ROSSI
Kristine, Helene, Anne-Marie –– JJ MOORE

Meet the
Artistic and Production Staff

Assistant Director –– SAWYER GRABOW
Assistant Director –– SAGE BEASLEY
Child Guardian –– KATE RILEY
Assistant Scenic Designer — ECHO LU
Scenic Artist –– AVERY PIAZZA
Assistant Costume Designer — HEIDI KEITHAHN
Wardrobe Supervisor — GEORGIANNE TEN EYCK
Hairstylist to Aisha Akorede –– EM SALZMAN
Assistant Lighting Designer — CHIRON SPEIDEL
Production Electrician — ELI GOLDBERG
Lead Electrician — ERI LACKEY
Assistant Lead Electrician — JACOB HERZOG
Assistant Lead Electrician –– EMMA KLICK
Production Sound Engineer — JULIE BEAULIEU
Assistant Production Sound Engineer –– KELLY FURMAN
Assistant Props Lead — MADDISON NIDEFFER
Technical Director — HARLEY NOVY
Assistant Stage Manager — ELISE TUCKWOOD
2nd Assistant Stage Manager — OZZY MOLLOY
Production Assistant — SHAE MUCHLER
Production Assistant –– RYAN O’CONNOR
Associate Production Supervisor — FIBY DICHTER
Assistant Production Supervisor — JOANNA SU
Assistant Production Supervisor –– FARREN BOWERS
Company Manager — MATTHEW GUERBER
Assistant Company Manager — DAVID ESTABROOKS
Assistant Company Manager — AMALIA SANDINE
Run Crew
GRACE ABDAYEM, REED ATHERTON, ALEXANDRA AZAN, DAVID BELLIN, ANNA BIGELOW, AVERY BYRON, RITA CAVACO, CHLOE HALLIGAN, KATRINA MATONTI, CAMERON PARKER, NATALIE RABINOWITZ, KAI SMITH, COLEMAN TOOMEY

Cast Bios

AISHA AKOREDE (she/her) — Nora

BFA ’26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage Debut! Emerson College credits: Em Shakes’ Lord of The Flies (Percival); Jelly’s Last Jam (Ensemble); RareWorks’ HOOKMAN (Jess); Mercutio Troupe’s In The Waiting Room (The Woman). Emerson Student Film credits: Conversation in a Coffee Shop (Mary). Thank you to my family here at Emerson – I love you guys more than words can say. To my Akorede family: I would not be here without you. And to Najat, this is for you my love.

MATEO BAILEY (he/him) — Torvald Helmer

BFA ‘25 Acting. Emerson Stage credits: Are You Someone To Somebody: A New Devised Piece (Ensemble), Paris (Dev), and NewFest Short Works: ’Til Death Do Us Part (Father Robert). Emerson College credits: Mercutio Troupe’s True West (Saul Kimmer), Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Pablo Escobar), In The Waiting Room (The Receptionist). Thank you to my friends and family for everything you do. Wouldn’t be here without you.

SAGE BEASLEY (he/him) — U/S Dr. Rank

BFA ‘24 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (Mr. Laurence, Doctor), Eternity 5 (Eternity 5). Sage would like to thank his family for their unending support, and his partner Desiree for keeping him sane.

ZACK DEMERS (he/him) — Nils Krogstad

BFA ’25 Acting. Emerson Stage credits: Paris (Carlisle), Little Women (U/S Mr. Dashwood, Mr. Laurence & Doctor). EmShakes credits: Metamorphosis (Mr. Samsa), Lord of the Flies (Naval Officer). MTS credits: The Secret Garden (Ben Weatherstaff). Thank you Kate for the greatest acting opportunity I could dream of, and for your great work. Instagram: @thezackdemers

JAVIER GARCIA (he/they) — Dr. Rank

BFA ‘25 Acting. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (u/s Laurie); Are You Someone To Somebody?: A New Devised Piece (Ensemble); NFSW: Where The Fireworks Come From (Tony). Emerson College credits: Mercutio Troupe’s In The Waiting Room (The Stranger), All Night: a party in the suburbs (Theo) and Compensation (Sound Design); RareWorks’ To the End of the World (Assistant Director). Immensely grateful for every body, soul, and mind that made this opportunity possible! Thank you for the light! @jvirgrca

ELLA HAGG (she/her) — Kristine Linde

BFA ’25 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (U/S Amy). Emerson College credits: EmShakes’ Metamorphosis (Mrs. Samsa) and Humble Boy (Mercy Lott); Alex Serino’s Gruesome Playground Injuries (Kayleen). Thank you as always to Annabelle, David, Phineas, and my mom.

OLIVER JAMES JOHNSON (he/him) — Ivar

Oliver is making his Emerson Stage debut as Ivar. He has completed drama programs at the Wheelock Family Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and sings with the Boston Children’s Chorus. Oliver participates in Taekwondo and is a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs swim team. Oliver loves reading Wings of Fire graphic novels, LEGO building with his mom, and drawing mythical creatures. He brings energy and passion to everything he does. Oliver thanks his parents, family, and friends for their love and support.

JJ MOORE (they/them) — U/S Kristine, Anne-Marie, Helene

BFA ‘26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage Debut! Emerson College credits: Em Shakes’s Metamorphosis (Lodger 1); MTAG’s Hot Dam (Really Reasonable Citizen); and Full Fathom’s Other Girls (Mateo). Thank you to my family, and friends, for their support and the cast and crew for helping create this incredible experience!

FIRO OLIVA RIDGE (he/him) — Bobby

Firo, who plays the role of Bobby, is thrilled to be performing in A Doll’s House. He is 9 years old and enjoys the rehearsal process as much as performing. Recent credits include Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Omar and the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s show Ragtime. Firo also sings with Voices Boston and is enjoying the children’s theater program with Art Barn in Brookline. He is enormously thankful for the training and support from the talented Emerson students and faculty. 

CONNOR ROSSI (he/him) — U/S Nils Krogstad

BFA ‘26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (Mr. Dashwood). Emerson College credits: RareWorks Theatre Company Feeding The Moonfish (Martin); Kidding Around’s A Wrinkle in Time (Calvin) and Snow Angel (Benny); Bluejay Theatre Collective’s Dog Sees God (Matt). Thank you to Mom and Aidan for the support! @thereal.rossi

LOUISA “LULU” ROYCE (she/her) — Anne-Marie, U/S Nora & Helene

BFA ‘26 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage Debut! Emerson College credits: Hot Dam! (Brody the Boy Scout Kaplan), EFA Cabaret, and The Summer I Turned Pretty Workshop (Mrs. Evans), and she directed Dog Sees God through BlueJay Theater Collective for which she is the Co-Artistic Director. Her Emerson Student Film credits include, “Far From Home” (2022), “The Blood On Your Hands” (2023), “Behind the Milk” (2023), “Hindsight” (2023), and “Marilyn” (2023). She is honored to be a part of this process and would like to thank the team, her Mom, Dad, and friends for being so awesome! 🙂

JASON SERRANO-KORN (he/him) — The Messenger, U/S Torvald Helmer

BFA ’25 Musical Theatre. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (Laurie), The Loyals (John André), The Spitfire Grill (The Visitor/Eli). Emerson College credits: MTS’ You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charlie Brown). Thanks to my loving family and friends who are amazing. @jason_korn1204

AURORA SHEN (she/her) — Helene, U/S Kristine & Anne-Marie

BFA ‘25 Theatre & Performance. Emerson Stage Debut! Emerson College credits: CHUANG Lab’s Secret Love In Peach Blossom Land (The Director), The Orphan of Zhao (Chu Ni/Zhao Dun), and Migratory Teeth (Yun). Huge love and thanks to everyone working on this production, and a shout-out to the Asian community doing theatre at Emerson! www.instagram.com/heyaurorashen

Creative Team Bios

KATE CHERRY — Director
As an Australian Creative Leader in Arts and Education, Kate Cherry has led 2 major cultural institutions, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and Black Swan State Theatre Company. She was the Associate Director at Melbourne Theatre Company when it doubled subscriptions to over 20,000 people. She has programmed and produced over 100 productions, directed over 70 professional productions in opera and theatre internationally and nationally, and taught or directed at leading Performing Arts Institutions in the United States and Australia.  Her work has smashed box office records throughout Australia. Cherry was the first Artistic Director in Australia to initiate collaborations with the National Theatre of China and to simulcast a theatre production — both for Black Swan State Theatre Company (BSSTC). At BSSTC, in collaboration with Rio Tinto, Kate created the Rio Tinto Commissioning Fund and the $20.00 ticketing scheme to ensure accessibility for all.  She also established numerous programmes that created pathways between educational institutions and professional theatre companies and created numerous accessibility programmes.

Kate initiated the commissioning, development, and production of The Sapphires.  She later took the production to South Korea and London and was delighted when it was turned into a Hollywood film, giving witness to an Indigenous story that had hitherto been disbelieved by many. Kate’s collaborators include Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce and Greta Scacchii.  She has directed numerous world premieres including David Hare’s The Bay at Nice for Lincoln Center Theatre Lab and the Australian premiere of The Goat or Who is Sylvia? Under Kate’s innovative leadership, NIDA achieved an acclaimed growth in prestige when Hollywood Reporter moved its ranking from 16 to 10 amongst world-wide Performing Arts schools in 2018 and Black Swan State Theatre Company doubled subscriptions, achieved growth in prestige, finances, and audiences was recognised and rebranded as a state theatre company.

She has an MFA from UCLA in Directing, and a BA from Bard College.  She is a Williamson Leadership Fellow, a Drama League Fellow, a Member of the Advisory Panel for Shakespeare & Company’s Fellowship for Female Directors in honour of Tina Packer, and a Gielgud Award Winner for Best Emerging Director of the Classics.  Her theatre and opera productions have won numerous awards and nominations including Helpmann’s and Green Room Awards.  Kate is very happy to be back in her adopted home surrounded by her found family. She dedicates this production to her father, Wal Cherry. 

LULU BATZORIG (she/her) — Scenic Designer
BFA ’24 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: A Doll’s House (Scenic Designer), Bonnets: How Ladies of Good Breeding Are Induced to Murder (Scenic Designer), Cabaret (Assistant Scenic Designer), The Secret in the Wings (Scenic Artist). Big thanks to this production team, my mentors, family, and friends for their support throughout this journey!

AMAYA GONZALEZ-MOLLMANN (she/they) — Costume Designer
BFA ’25 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: How We Got On (Props Lead), Cabaret (Assistant Costume Designer), The Secret in The Wings (Assistant Props Lead), and The Wolves (Assistant Costume Designer). Emerson College credits: Frames Per Second’s Episode 51: The Dead Road Pt. 2 (Costume Designer); and Musical Theatre Society’s Heathers (Costume Designer). Thanks to my parents, Clark, and my wonderful friends.

LAUREN (SHODGE) HODGKINS (she/her) — Lighting Designer
BFA ’24 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: The Loyals (Co-Lighting Designer), How We Got On (Production Sound Engineer), Three Romances (Production Electrician), Old Jake’s Skirts (Production Sound Engineer), The Wolves (Lead Electrician), As You Like It (Assistant Lighting Designer). Emerson College credits: Evvy’s 42 (Production Electrician), Kidding Around’s Snow Angel (Lighting Designer), Rareworks’ Buck Woods is a Good Man (Co-Lighting Designer). Thank you to my friends, family, and professors who have helped me grow through this program.

HENRY KACIK (any pronouns) — Sound Designer
BFA ’24 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: How We Got On (Co-PE), Are You Someone to Somebody (Lighting Designer). Thanks to my mom, dad, and brother for all their support. henrykacik.com

AVA SCANLON (she/her) — Props Lead
BFA ’24 Theatre Design & Technology. Emerson Stage credits: Next to Normal (Props Assistant), Into the Woods (Wig Dresser), The Spitfire Grill (Scenic Assistant), The Secret in the Wings (Scenic Assistant), Cabaret (Scenic Charge), Bat Boy: The Musical (Scenic Designer). Emerson College credits: MTS’ La Cage Aux Folles (Hair and Makeup Designer), MTAG’s Rock of Ages (Hair and Makeup Designer/Scenic Designer), EVVYs ‘23 (Props Lead). Thank you to my parents Steve and Keith for the constant support and to Ryan Bates for all your help this semester!

BLAKE BERGGREN (he/him) — Stage Manager
BFA ’24 Stage & Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: How We Got On (Production Supervisor), Cabaret (Assistant Stage Manager), The Secret in the Wings (Production Supervisor), The Spitfire Grill (Company Manager), The Wolves (Company Manager), RAGE (Assistant Stage Manager), This Girl… (Associate Production Supervisor & Assistant Company Manager), The Late Wedding (Assistant Company Manager), Everybody (Assistant Production Supervisor), Men on Boats (Production Assistant). Emerson College credits: EVVY42, EVVY43 (Production Manager), Full Fathom’s Mr. Burns… (Assistant Stage Manager). Regional Credits: Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Stage Management Intern), Contemporary American Theater Festival 2023 (Production Management Intern) and CATF 2022 Sheepdog (Production Assistant).

MINA-CLAIRE PAZ-LE DRAOULEC — Production Supervisor
BFA ’24 Stage & Production Management. Emerson Stage credits: Little Women (Stage Manager), The Loyals (1st Assistant Stage Manager), The Late Wedding (2nd Assistant Stage Manager), Marisol (Production Assistant), Old Jake’s Skirts (Associate Production Supervisor), Bat Boy: The Musical (Company Manager), Bonnets: How Ladies of Good Breeding are Induced to Murder (Company Manager), The Spitfire Grill (Assistant Company Manager), The Wolves (Assistant Company Manager). Emerson College credits: Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (Stage Manager) for Mercutio Troupe; Big Fish (Co-Costume Designer) for Musical Theater Society. A big thank you to her family and friends, especially Grace, Jake, and Nars for their continued support and unconditional love. 

SAM EVANS (she/they) — Dramaturg
MFA ’25 Theatre Education & Applied Theatre. Emerson Stage Debut! Emerson College credits: TEGA’s If You Love Me For Me (Director & Playwright). Other dramaturgy credits: It Shoulda Been You and The Yellow Boat at Chapman University.

Meet the
Emerson Stage Staff

Staff

Artistic Director — Annie G. Levy
General Manager — David Colfer
Assistant General Manager — Joshua M. Feder
Production Manager — Timothey Sullivan
Technical Director — Kristin Knutson
Head Carpenter
— Connor Thompson
Scenic Painter
— Joe Keener
Props Director
— Ryan Bates
Assistant Properties Manager
— Lauren Corcuera
Costume Shop Supervisor
— Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor
— Becky Pieroth
Draper/Cutter
— Laurie Bramhall
Electrics Advisor — Nicole Cerra
Resident Sound Designer
— Elizabeth Cahill
Sound Technician
— Julie Beaulieu

Advisors FOR THIS PRODUCTION

Stage and Production Management — Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design — Baron Pugh
Scenic Painting — Joe Keener
Costume Design — Chloe Moore
Lighting Design — Scott Pinkney
Sound Design — ​Elizabeth Cahill
Fight & Intimacy — Ted Hewlett
Dramaturgy — ​Marissa Friedman
Vocal Coach — ​Tom Giordano

Student Staff

Emerson Stage Office Assistants — Jake Tolentino, Kayla Copping, Alayna Domboski, Samantha Duggan, Karli Fisher, Carly Mentis
Production Management Assistants — Blake Berggren, Esther Chilson, Oliver Worner
Videographers — Vincent Chen, Xiao Chen, Ethan West
Scenic Technicians — Casper Apodaca, Kieran Graeff, Ari Flaherty, Davis Kranchalk, Yuyuan “Echo” Lu, Oscar McQuilkin, Dylan Norris, Harley Novy, Elise Tuckwood
Scenic Artists/Painters — Rayan Afif, Nel Blinman, Lily Hourin, Katherine Kendrick, Elodie Lambert, Elizabeth Nunnery, Leo Servetar, David Staats, Charlize Tabrizi
Paint Shop Assistant
— Maggie Stewart
Prop Shop Assistant 
— Delene Beauchamp, Amaya Gonzalez-Mollmann, Oliver Hawke, Mariel Richardson, Ava Scanlon
Stitchers — Zee Cowan, David Estabrooks, Madeline Henry, Amanda Jacobson, Lorence Jones-Perpich, Heidi Keithahn, Angelina Parillo, Alexa Peterson-Ismail, David Schell, Ava-Sofia Settoon, Anna Ten Eyck, Nina Turovsky
Stock Attendants — Sierra Bivins, Isabella Fortebuono, Ashleigh Jones
Crafts — Wei Zhao
Light Lab Inventory Assistant — Eli Goldberg