(Nelson Pressley’s article appeared in the Washington Post, 10/21; video clips are from other venues of the production.)
So exactly how “out there” is the fever dream of Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” by the avant-garde troupe Mabou Mines? The one with small actors (roughly four feet tall) as the play’s domineering men lording it over their comparatively large women?
“Mabou Mines DollHouse,” on the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Stage, is not altogether as bizarre as it sounds, but it is a bit of a circus. Some of the elements are pretty arresting, like the stripping and groping between 19th-century Norwegian characters who typically only arch eyebrows at one another. Or the giant governess, 10 feet tall, who appears in a nightmare to Nora, the wife who famously walks out on her stifling household in Ibsen’s revolutionary 1879 play. Or the leading lady lip-syncing opera. In the nude. With a chorus of puppets.