Last night my husband and I travled into Brooklyn to see Mabou Mines performance of Ibsen’s “Dollhouse.” Now, if you are reading this and you plan on seeing this production, I warn you that I will most likely spoil it for you…so read or don’t read, it’s up to you.
The venue, St. Ann’s Warehouse, was really amazing. It is an actual warehouse that sits between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The area of Brooklyn, called DUMBO, was amazing! I highly suggest visiting if you have a chance. The area is filled with cute brownstone’s, quirky restaurants, and the view! The view of Manhattan is breathtaking! Just walking down the sidestreets is an adventure that one shouldn’t miss.
The play….well, the play was avant-garde and unapologetic. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this play (as I was before seeing it), it is about a woman who gets herself into trouble over money. Her husband finds out what she has done, rebukes her, and then the woman leaves him and their children. Can you catch the feminist undertones?
The production was beautifully done, from the costumes and the set to the gorgeous red curtains that engulfed the entire audience. The actors were amazing! The male actors were all between 40 to 53 inches tall, and the women were almost 6 feet tall. However, the women stayed on their knees or seated for the majority of the play. Still, the images they created just with their body language and poses were unforgettable. One scene in particular had a young girl (a primordial dwarf who only weighs 25 pounds), gazing up at a skeletal-like woman who was on stilts! This woman must have been 12 to 15 feet in the air, and the young girl stood only 37 inches tall. I can’t even describe how powerful of an image that was! The director was absolutley brilliant at creating all sorts of visual effects with his actors. I loved it!
A few things I could have done without, but I do see the artistic/theatrical necessity in them….Nudity. I could have done without the nudity. I realize that this is avant-garde and is supposed to make you uncomfortable, but I still didn’t like it. I can appreciate it… but not like it. Going to this play, I was not hoping to see a naked man, let alone a naked woman. Full frontal naked lady was not on my agenda, but again, I can appreciate the artistic value. There was also some very awkward lip-synching that I think the play could have done without, but it was still entertaining. All in all….I think this was a great play, but I would not suggest it to everyone. If you dig avant-garde, go for it! If you’re tired of classic Broadway shows, go for it! If, however, you prefer to not look outside of the box, and not to be artistically challanged/made uncomfortable, don’t go for it!
What I took from this experience….Don’t be afraid of your art. As of late I have doubted my art and felt that it was useless and no good. I constantly go up and down with how I feel about what I’ve created…I wonder if anyone else will appreciate the time and creativity I have put in to every piece. After seeing this production, I really admire the (for lack of a better word) balls it takes to trust your art and not care what others think. It definitely encouraged me to continue with my art and not concern myself with petty doubts.