In January 2024, the Deutsches Theater will celebrate the premiere of “Nora oder Wie man das Herrenhaus kompostiert” – a contemporary adaptation of the Ibsen classic directed by Sivan Ben Yishai and Anica Tomić.
Fig. above: © Jasmin Schuller/Deutsches Theater
Henrik Ibsen wrote Nora or A Doll’s House in 1879 as a story of emancipation for the eponymous protagonist, who decides to leave her husband and children in order to free herself from her unhappy life situation. The work has been staged, rewritten and rewritten countless times.
Nora oder Wie man das Herrenhaus kompostiert is not just another rewrite of the modern classic. For the first time, the focus is not on Nora, but on the stories of the house and its inhabitants: of Helene, the housemaid, of the parcel carrier waiting for his one and only appearance, and of Anne-Marie, the nanny who gave up her own life to work for Nora and raise her children. Nora’s widowed and outcast friend Christine observes the actions of the house from the outside and discovers how the domestic workers realise that Nora’s emancipation does not change their own working and living conditions. As a consequence, they join forces to fight back against these conditions.
Sivan Ben Yishai, award-winning author and one of the most exciting voices in contemporary theatre, focuses on the invisible figures of the Ibsen classic. She takes apart Nora Helmer’s mansion, examines the disintegrating construct and scrutinises the fundamentals: Is it possible to lay the repetitive narratives to rest? Can you escape your life story? And plant new narratives?
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