Dead Men Walking

Dead white men (DWM). This phrase is often heard in my department as we discuss the traditional theatre practitioners and playwrights that have had such a profound influence on what we teach and learn – Stanislavski, Brecht, Ibsen, Strindburg, Meyerhold – even Pinter – the list is long and very white, very male. Of course, I work in an international context, teach international students and teach truly international courses, but we find many of our reference points in the work of these people. Of course we teach theatre traditions and practices from right around the globe and the gender or race of the writer, director or practitioner is irrelevant.

Where am I going with this? Well I would like to share with you a re-imaging of one of my favorite DWM plays, A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. If you don’t know the play, you should read it. Hattie Morahan, who recently played Nora in a  production of the play, stars in this short film imagining what a modern-day Nora might look like, 130 years on from the original tale about a woman taking control of her own destiny. Click on the image below to take a look:

I watched it and started to wonder at the longevity of meaning and resonance that the play has and questioned whether there would ever be a time where this classic became irrelevant to a global audience.

On a side note, the film is hosted on The Space which I have used often as source for this blog. It was meant to be a time-limited site, which was part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations in the UK this summer.  However, thankfully, it has proved so successful that it has secured funding for at least another 3 year. In these times of economic austerity, where the arts are usually the first to face cuts, this is great news.

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