A Doll's House


A Doll's House
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Nora’s life is on the upswing. Her husband got a promotion, and their financial struggles are over at last. But when a man from her past reappears, bent on bringing a dangerous secret to light, everything changes: her marriage, her family, even her relationship to the world around her. This new adaptation of the play brings audiences closer than ever to Ibsen’s spellbinding masterwork.


Scene 1
The action takes place in the Helmer’s living room in a small town on the west coast of Norway, 1879. On Christmas Eve, Torvald and Nora Helmer are a happy couple: Torvald has just been made Director of the Bank, and in three months he will see his first big pay check. Nora has been out splurging on a Christmas tree and presents for their three children, plus something for the housemaid Helene and Anne-Marie, once Nora’s wetnurse, now the children’s nanny.

Nora is pleased with her purchases, but Torvald is not happy about her spending. He does not approve of buying anything on credit, but when he asks her what she would like for Christmas, she sweet-talks him into giving her some extra spending money. He thinks she will spend it thoughtlessly; he doesn't know she saves every penny she can to pay off a long-standing debt.

Helene announces two visitors: the Helmers’ downstairs neighbor Dr. Rank and a Mrs. Linde. Torvald tells Helene to show Rank directly to his study and leaves to meet him there. Mrs. Linde turns out to be Nora’s old school friend Kristine, now widowed, who has come to town to look for employment. While Nora brags about her three beautiful children and their bright future, childless Kristine tells Nora her husband died leaving her nothing. Nora confides that she has had her share of difficulties as well. Seven years ago, pregnant Nora’s loving father died and Torvald got deathly ill. The doctor said he had to go south, to Italy, to regain his health. Kristine assumes that Nora is too naïve to understand poverty and unemployment, but Nora reveals that it was she who, unbeknownst to Torvald, borrowed the money so that he, Nora, and baby Ivar could spend a year in Italy, where he recovered fully. Kristine asks how Nora got the money since women could not borrow money. Nora says she told Torvald that her father had given her, when in fact she had actually found a lender. For the last seven years, Nora has been working hard, scrimping and hand-copying manuscripts in secret to gradually pay off her loan.

While Kristine and Nora are talking, Nils Krogstad, a former lawyer, now an employee of the Bank, comes to see Torvald on business. Kristine reveals to Nora that she and Krogstad knew each other once. Nora promises to ask Torvald about a position for Kristine at the Bank. Dr. Rank joins the women, leaving Torvald in his study with Krogstad. Kristine notices the affection that Rank has for Nora. Torvald joins them, having asked Krogstad to leave. Nora makes good on her promise to Kristine and asks Torvald to employ her at the Bank. Torvald says he'll be happy to give her a position that has just opened up. Dr. Rank, Torvald, and Mrs. Linde leave.

Nora is alone when Krogstad unexpectedly comes to see her. Nora tells the nanny, Anne-Marie, to keep the children occupied while she talks with Krogstad, the man who had loaned her the money for Italy. Krogstad tells Nora that Torvald will fire him, and that if Nora doesn’t want Torvald to know about the loan, she must help keep him at the Bank. Nora refuses. Krogstad then reveals that he can prove that Nora forged her father’s signature on the loan and threatens to expose her. Nora is terrified. Trying to calm herself, she asks Helene to bring in the Christmas tree and begins to decorate it. Torvald returns; Nora begs him not to fire Krogstad. Torvald, annoyed that Nora is interfering in his business, explains that Krogstad is morally corrupt and was once convicted of forgery. He states that criminals were often corrupted in childhood by immoral mothers. Nora panics.

Scene 2
Christmas Day. The Christmas tree candles have burnt down and the tree has been moved aside. Kristine arrives to help Nora repair her costume for the fancy dress party the Helmers will be attending upstairs at the Consul Stenborg’s on the day after Christmas. Kristine begins to ask questions about Dr. Rank and wonders if Rank was the person who lent Nora the money. Nora is shocked, as the thought had never occurred to her. Kristine implies that it is obvious that Rank has feelings for her, but Nora insists that Rank is simply a family friend.

Kristine leaves as Torvald enters. Nora continues to implore Torvald not to fire Krogstad, suggesting that Krogstad could spread gossip about him and make his life difficult. Torvald is immovable. Although he and Krogstad were in law school together, he is now horrified by the way Krogstad acts familiar with him and fears that an association with Krogstad would sully his own reputation. Plus, in firing Krogstad, he can hire Mrs. Linde. He calls the housemaid and hands her a letter to dispatch. It is Krogstad’s termination notice. Nora is distressed.


Scene 1

Dr. Rank comes to visit and he and Nora discuss the Neapolitan costume Nora will wear for the party. She wants to ask him a favor, and he jumps at the chance to help her. He reveals he is dying and declares his love for her: She can ask him for anything. She tells him she cares for him as a friend.

Krogstad arrives to confront Nora. He has received his termination notice. Now, he demands that Nora see to it that Torvald not only rescinds the termination, but gives him a promotion. He has written a letter to Torvald, essentially blackmailing him and threatening to expose Nora’s forgery. Nora says there is nothing she can do. Krogstad, seeing Nora’s distress and afraid that she may do something drastic, explains that suicide is not the way out. He drops his letter in the Helmers’ mailbox as he leaves. Torvald is the only one with the key to the mailbox. Kristine returns. Nora tells her everything and asks for her help. Kristine offers to talk to Krogstad.

Torvald and Rank come in. Torvald wants to get the mail, but Nora distracts him by asking for his help in rehearsing the tarantella she will dance at the Consul’s party. Torvald plays the piano, Rank watches, and Nora dances for her life. She secures a promise from Torvald not to get the mail from the mailbox until after the party the following day.

Scene 2

It is the evening of the day after Christmas. The Helmers are upstairs at the party. Kristine has asked Krogstad to meet her at the Helmers—she has no privacy at her lodgings—where she confesses that she could not wait for him to finish his exam, she had to marry Linde to help support her mother and two small brothers. Krogstad talks of his past and they realize they still love each other. Joyfully, Krogstad offers to retrieve Torvald’s letter, but Kristine says no, Torvald needs to know the truth.

Torvald and Nora come back from the Consul's costume party, where Nora has danced the tarantella to great acclaim. They say good night to Dr. Rank. Torvald finally reads Krogstad's letter and is absolutely furious. Nora has done something illegal and is unfit to bring up their children. He refuses to see that she borrowed the money out of love, to save his life. Nora, who believed Torvald would heroically offer to take the blame for the forged check, is shocked. All he cares about is his own reputation. She starts to realize she has never been anything but a plaything, a sex object, and a convenience for him. She changes out of her seductive tarantella costume.

Then, a second letter from Krogstad arrives. He has had a change of heart: He has cancelled the debt and the letter contains Nora's IOU. Torvald, overjoyed that he is saved, burns the IOU and acts as if everything is back to normal. But Nora, who has seen the truth about their relationship, insists on a real talk—the first serious one husband and wife have ever had. She says she must no longer be just a doll, she must find herself, educate herself. Torvald begs her to stay. She is torn when thinking of her children, but realizes that the only way to become a whole person is to leave the “doll house.” The outer door at street level slams shut after her. This is the sound that has been called "the slam that was heard around the world."


At the heart of The Old Globe’s new adaptation is an eloquent reminder of why this century-old classic endures.

—Culture Vulture


Nora Helmer, 29, married to Torvald and mother of three. On the surface, she appears to be playful and naïve but underneath is intelligent and resourceful. She is a major force waiting to be born.

Torvald Helmer, early 40s, a lawyer, Nora’s husband, just appointed Bank Director, obsessed with his new status and his place in society.

Doctor Rank, M.D., 40-50, bachelor and close friend of the Helmers, harbors affection for Nora. He is ill and knows he is dying.

Kristine Linde, early 30s, childhood friend of Nora’s, down to earth and practical, widowed 3 years ago and is in need of employment.

Nils Krogstad, early 40s, a widower and a trial lawyer with a soiled reputation, he knows Nora’s secret and will use it to his advantage if he has no other choice.

Anne-Marie, 50s but feels much older, originally Nora’s wet-nurse, now the nanny to the Helmer’s children, devoted and opinionated.

Helene, early 20s, the Helmers’ maid, helpful and quick on her feet, but really would rather be someplace else.

Porter, a delivery boy, can be doubled with Krogstad.

Setting: A living room with four doors leading to four different spheres: the children’s nursery, Torvald Helmer’s private office, the couple’s bedroom and dining room, and the hallway/entry leading to the apartment’s front door.

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Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“Raven Theatre’s sharp revival (adapted by Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey and Kristen Brandt) demonstrates that the play can still singe in early 2020.” –Beyond Broadway

A Doll’s House has lost none of its gripping power. Much credit is due to an accessible and fluid new adaptation of Ibsen’s script by Brandt and Ibsen scholar Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey that uses contemporary language and American vernacular to uncover the subtle irony and humor in Ibsen’s words.” –San Diego Union-Tribune

“Credit, too, Anne-Charlotte Hanes Harvey, with whom Brandt created this adaptation for the Sheryl and Harvey White Stage. In their hands, A Doll’s House is far from a period piece.” —San Diego City Beat

“The dialogue and characterizations are crisp, clear and contemporary.” –SDS Jazz 88

“This thrilling world premiere interpretation at the Old Globe concentrates on themes which will resonate with all audience members: The one mistake we seem to pay for endlessly; the roles we are unknowingly forced to play in society; the masks we wear to fit in; the complexity involved with preserving our simplistic images; and bending the law to do a good deed.” –Stage and Cinema

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for A Doll's House are all fulfilled digitally and consist of:

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script

Director’s Script